Messi still the man but Barca form is patchy – a look at Tottenham’s opponents

Tottenham take on Barcelona in their second Champions League Group B match at Wembley on Wednesday night.

Here, Football Paradise runs the rule over the Spanish champions.

Manager

Ernesto Valverde is Barcelona's manager
Ernesto Valverde is Barcelona’s manager (John Walton/PA)

Ernesto Valverde played for six teams in a 14-year professional career, including Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao and Barca.

He replaced Luis Enrique at the Nou Camp in May 2017 after four years in charge of Athletic Bilbao.

The 54-year-old guided Barca to the La Liga and Copa del Rey double last season.

Form

Lionel Messi was booked as Barca failed to beat Athletic Bilbao
Lionel Messi was booked as Barca failed to beat Athletic Bilbao (Manu Fernandez/AP)

Barcelona head to Wembley in need of a result after a rare run of three games without a win in La Liga.

They still top the table on goal difference from Real Madrid despite drawing with Girona and Athletic Bilbao and losing to bottom side Leganes.

In Europe Valverde’s side won just once away last season, needing an own-goal to beat Sporting Lisbon 1-0, but they did beat PSV Eindhoven 4-0 on matchday one this term.

Previous meetings

The likes of Glenn Hoddle and Garth Crooks played the last time Tottenham faced Barcelona
The likes of Glenn Hoddle and Garth Crooks played the last time Tottenham faced Barcelona (PA)

Wednesday’s match will be only the third time Spurs have played the Spanish giants.

They previously met in April 1982 in the two-legged semi-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup, which Barcelona won 2-1 on aggregate.

Star Man

Lionel Messi remains as good as there is
Lionel Messi remains as good as there is (Nick Potts/PA)

Lionel Messi remains top dog at the Nou Camp. The Argentinian will arrive in London having scored eight goals in nine appearances so far this season.

Messi was rested against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend in preparation for the Wembley showdown but was called into action in the second half and set up Barcelona’s equaliser.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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