When Tottenham Hotspur takes the field on Wednesday evening, Spurs will be kicking off more than the Champions League against Marseille.
The match against Marseille is the first of four games for Tottenham over two weeks; only it is not two weeks, it is just 11 days. To call Tottenham busy with four games in 11 days is an understatement, but the stretch should provide a real glimpse of who Tottenham Hotspur is and how the season will go.
These are the two ‘easy’ Champions League games
When the draw was first announced, things seemed very favorable for Tottenham, with Spurs avoiding some of the biggest fish from Pot 1. However, the competition from Pot 3, especially Pot 4, changes the dynamics.
In theory, Spurs’ match against Marseille should be the easiest of the group, as a home game against the lowest drawn team. Only Marseille is not Maccabi Haifa or FC Viktoria Plzen, rather, Marseille is the second-placed team in League One, behind PSG only on goal difference. Unbeaten with five wins and a draw, Marseille will be a true test for Tottenham.
Then next Tuesday, Spurs travel to face Sporting in Portugal. Although the Leones have been up and down so far this season, a trip to Portugal after a trip to Manchester is not an easy task.
Regardless, both games are, again, in theory, games Tottenham should win and need to win if they want to have a successful European campaign this year.
A tale of two Cities for Tottenham in the League
Between hosting Marseille and traveling to Portugal, Tottenham has a little engagement some 200 miles north in Manchester against the defending League champions. Given Spurs beat City twice last season, Pep Guardiola and the Cityzens will be looking to take all three points.
Given they are home and have an extra day’s rest, everything favors Manchester City, but anything can happen and has historically in the match-up.
After traveling to Manchester and then Portugal, Spurs will be back in London to host Leicester City before the international break. Leicester has had a difficult start to the season but has historically been a thorn in the side of Tottenham.
Depending on how things go in the previous three games, the pressure to win against Leicester may vary, but going to break with a win will be vital, with a trip across town to face Arsenal immediately following the break.
They are four tough but winnable games under normal circumstances, played together over 11 days; this stretch will test Tottenham and push the squad to their limits. If Tottenham can handle their business in Europe and domestically during this time, it should bode well for the remainder of the season.
Ultimately, these are just four games, but they mean a lot more, given the timing and competition.