Arsenal’s decision to play their Champions League matches at Wembley between 1998-99 and 1999-2000 proved disastrous, as they failed to make it past the group stage in either season.
So will Spurs suffer a similar fate? Arsene Wenger has outlined the issues that Arsenal faced at the famous old stadium.
“It was a nightmare. In hindsight it was the wrong decision.
“We decided to go to Wembley, but we didn’t feel at home. The pitch was bigger, the ground was different and for the English players it was something completely unusual.
“We were used at Highbury, to a tight pitch and unfortunately we were playing against Dynamo Kiev, who were running everywhere on a very big pitch. It was a disadvantage for sure.”
Wenger’s comments about the tightness of the Highbury pitch (110 yards x 73), is the key to why Arsenal struggled so badly at Wembley at a time when they had a brilliant team.
The back four unit of Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams and Steve Bould/Martin Keown, used the lack of width to their advantage, forming a tight and impenetrable unit.
The wider and longer pitch of Wembley gave the Arsenal defence problems, at a time when every member was in their thirties. Suddenly they had to contend with acres of space both behind and in-between them.
In contrast, this current Tottenham team often struggle with the lack of space at White Hart Lane (where the pitch is the same size as Highbury). Though it aids the side’s ability to close down the opposition, visiting teams are able to sit back, safe in the knowledge that they will leave precious little space behind them.
The longer pitch at Wembley should make it more difficult for the opposition to park the bus and in the shape of pacy summer recruits such as Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Moussa Sissoko, Mauricio Pochettino now has some great options to bring off the bench to exploit tired legs.
With the side set to move to Wembley for a full season in 2017-18, the club have no choice but to make this a true home from home. Work has already begun on the training ground, which features a pitch the same size as Wembley.
Spurs are on their way to Wembley and unlike Arsenal, it could prove to be to their advantage.