Man Utd forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Tottenham striker Harry Kane, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Marseille v Spurs, Klopp watch, Mendy’s chance high on Champions League agenda…

Three-quarters of the last 16 qualifiers are already known, but Tottenham are desperate to go to Marseille to join them. And Man Utd need to score in Spain…

Match to watch – Marseille v Tottenham
With a dozen teams already through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, eight teams are vying to join them on the final matchday of the group stage. Four of them are in Tottenham’s group.

Spurs currently top Group D but Antonio Conte’s men could end the day third and into the Europa League knockout stage if they lose in Marseille. OM are currently bottom, but could finish top if they overturn Tottenham and Sporting draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.

It could be an anxious night for Spurs to end a tough week. They could have enjoyed a quiet trip to the south of France had Harry Kane’s last-gasp goal against Sporting last week not been ruled out, causing Conte to lose his shit. As a consequence, the Italian boss will be confined to the stands at the Stade Velodrome. Thoughts and prayers go out to the poor sods assigned the spot next to him.

With Kane’s strike chalked off, Spurs must avoid defeat to advance. A draw would be enough to go through; a win would guarantee top spot and earn seeding for the last-16 draw.

At least Conte and his men go to France in better spirits than they traveled to Bournemouth, where they scored another stoppage-time winner, this time having to come from 2-0 down. Marseille, in contrast, were 2-0 up against Strasbourg at the weekend, before falling and conceding a 93rd-minute equaliser.

“This win has to give us enthusiasm and passion to go to Marseille and play a final,” Conte said on Saturday, like the rest of us, unaware of which Spurs will turn up on the Mediterranean coast. The significance is not lost on Marseille either – they also see it as “a final” – and then some. “It will be a war,” Chancellor Mbemba said after they lost in Frankfurt.

Team to watch – Manchester United
In the Europa League, Arsenal and Manchester United could each finish first or second in their respective groups, with the Gunners heavy favorites to end the Group A campaign at the summit, despite PSV dropping points last week.

In Group E, however, United are playing catch-up. They travel to Real Sociedad on Thursday needing to win while scoring twice to overturn the Spaniards’ head-to-head advantage after they won 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign. If United win 1-0, Sociedad advance as group winners by a single goal on aggregate goal difference, while United go into the play-offs against Champions League suspensions such as Barcelona, ​​Atletico or Ajax.

Breaching Sociedad’s defense twice will be no easy feat, especially given United’s undeniable goalscoring problems. Erik ten Hag has strengthened the Red Devils at the back, which was his primary objective when he took over. Now he has to tease some creativity and ruthlessness out of his men.

United have not achieved an xG of two or higher in the Premier League this season, the only times they have managed it coming in the Europa League against Sheriff Tiraspol and Omonia twice. Luckily, the Sociedad isn’t waterproof at the back. They are fifth in La Liga but have conceded more goals than anyone else in the top half.

At least United can go to Spain with a clear objective: attack, attack, attack.

Manager to watch – Jurgen Klopp
In a season where we have to reassess everything we thought we knew about Liverpool, at least one certainty for the Reds is a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. They can even qualify as Group A winners if they beat Napoli by four or more tonight. However, Klopp will not be thinking about an unlikely place at the summit. No doubt the Liverpool boss would settle for a quiet night at Anfield without his players soiling the sheets again.

One of the lowest points of a miserable campaign so far was the trip to Naples to face Luciano Spalletti’s Serie A leader, who tore the Reds apart with astonishing ease. Napoli have looked a lot like Liverpool this season, so far unbeaten domestically and in Europe while playing an expansive, exciting style, with Victor Oshimhen scoring for fun and Khvicha Kvaratskheila catching everyone’s eye not just because his eight goals and 10 goals. assists in 16 games.

Klopp could be forgiven for hoping that Spalletti, with success assured and top-flight all but locked up, chooses to keep some of his biggest performers in reserve or to leave them out altogether. But the Liverpool boss has enough to worry about with his own side before worrying about Spalletti.

Klopp contradicted himself somewhat in his pre-match press conference by suggesting that he wants to see “fight” above all from his side, before then suggesting that fight has not been lacking this season. Perhaps the German tied himself up by trying to give a simple answer where there is none. Liverpool’s problems – “massive” in scope, according to Jamie Carragher – are multi-faceted and too big to be solved overnight. But we’re waiting to see how Klopp implements some much-needed quick fixes.

Read more: Can Klopp enjoy dragging Liverpool back up the mountain? They need the next Van Dijk…

Player to watch – Edouard Mendy
Like Liverpool, Chelsea are already assured of their place in the round of 16. The Blues host Dinamo Zagreb under no threat at the top of Group E, meaning Graham Potter could rotate his squad, especially after their mauling of Brighton.

Mendy played a part in the miserable return to the AmEx for Potter, with the keeper heading into the second half, his first appearance under the new Blues boss. The Senegal stopper has been benched for Kepa, who came on for Thomas Tuchel’s last game in charge and had not dropped the gloves before a foot injury at the weekend.

Mendy may feel heavy-handed for the manner in which he has been replaced, but his form prior to Tuchel’s firing warranted scrutiny. Unfortunately for him, Kepa has made a real fist of his opportunitywith Potter describing the world’s most expensive goalkeeper as “in a really good moment” before his injury.

Neither goalkeeper was directly to blame for the goals conceded to Brighton, but Mendy did not cover himself in glory when he parried a long-range drive straight back into play to give the Seagulls the chance to score their fourth. Potter said he doesn’t have a firm first choice yet, but Kepa was certainly closer to achieving that status than last year’s FIFA goalkeeper. This is a chance Mendy might not have had had Kepa not been snapped up and he needs to seize it by showing a surer pair of hands than he showed before his demotion.

EFL Match to Watch – Hull v Middlesbrough
There is another full Championship schedule split in midweek, with fifth-placed Norwich hosting third-placed QPR on Wednesday, as the Canaries look to leapfrog Rangers after returning to winning ways at the weekend.

But we’re equally interested in Tuesday night’s 18th v 21st at the MKM Stadium, where Michael Carrick takes his Middlesbrough side to face Hull who are still managerless.

Carrick’s first game as Boro boss ended in disappointment after the Teessiders blew a one-goal lead to lose 2-1 in extra time at Preston. In the unlikely event that it would have to be written off for Carrick, the defeat served to illustrate the size of the task facing the former Manchester United assistant manager in his first managerial gig.

One of Carrick’s first priorities is to strengthen his side at the sets. That should be easier to fix than another of their major flaws: lack of creativity.

For Hull, this could be their last game under caretaker management, with Liam Rosenior apparently expected to be available before the trip to Millwall this weekend. But the Tigers have come so close to the appointment in the past only to have the Pedro Martins deal fall through. Since sacking Shota Arveladze, Hull have lost three of their four home games.

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