Match date & time: Thursday 28th August 2014. 7:45pm GMT KO.
Competition: Europa League play-off second leg.
Venue: White Hart Lane.
TV: Live on ITV4.
1st leg result: Limassol 1-2 Tottenham.
Tottenham’s place in the Europa League group stages is one hurdle away, a 2nd leg fixture against Limassol at the Lane after we were victorious with a 2-1 win away from home last week. We know after the first game that Limassol are no push overs, & do pose a threat – probably more so than we anticipated, but with two away goals to our name, and the form we’ve shown at the start of this season, it seems as though we should breeze through to the Europa League group stages, but you can never know and the players need to be ready to finish the game off, most preferably early on in the game to give us some real comfort. Hopefully, we can score a few goals and put in a good performance for the home faithful, which always insights confidence into the players and the fans ahead of a big game against Liverpool on Sunday.
AEL Limassol have some good players, but their top player for me is Sardinero, who scored their goal and showed that he is a very lively striker, who has ability to finish off chances. Lima da Silva is another player who is a threat for AEL, he’s quick and skilful in midfield and holds the spark for the Cypriot side. Sardinero and da Silva are the players I’m sure we’ll be looking to contain. Limassol don’t have any injury concerns coming into the game, so are looking fresh and I’m sure they’ll be looking to cause an upset! Although they have a couple of decent players, I’m sure we’ll have enough to see them off, even if we put out a weakened side to play the Cypriot champions. At Home is where Limassol are threatening, so if we can get past them there, we should be able to finish them off at White Hart Lane.
The team news for Tottenham is that Kyle Walker (pelvis) remains out, with Roberto Soldado (neck/back) also out. Michel Vorm, who is under a special fitness programme, isn’t registered for the game along with newest signing Federico Fazio. The good news is that after a back injury, Vlad Chiriches is fit to return to the squad and hopefully he can get some minutes after missing the pre-season fixtures, to get back to full fitness; if he can perform as he did at times last season, he could be an important player for us this season. Paulinho and Andros Townsend, who were left out of the squad to face QPR at the weekend are also expected to return to the 18 man squad.
With Roberto Soldado out with an injury, and Emmanuel Adebayor expected to be rested, Harry Kane looks to have an opportunity to play the lone striker role. Hopefully he can continue to perform well and score a few goals; he can be an important player this season, from the bench and in the cup competitions especially. He can be the one to provide the goals in this game, as he did in the first leg getting the winner for us. I think ahead of a big game at White Hart Lane against Liverpool in the Premier League and with a 2-1 win already in the bag from the first leg, a ‘weakened’ team will be put out, even though with the strong squad we have, we don’t really have a ‘weak’ team, which holds us in good stead for the season ahead. Players like Andros Townsend, Lewis Holtby, Paulinho and Vlad Chiriches have good opportunities to show what they can do; to the fans and to Mauricio Pochettino. All squad competition is good competition and I always like to see players given a chance in games like these, & possibly the inclusion of some young players too, such as Milos Veljkovic.
Looking forward to the game! Important to get off to a good start, and finish off the tie early. Let’s make it an easy game, not a tense one, eh Spurs? The game is live on ITV4, and you can also follow updates on my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs, including photos, videos and more. Let’s get to the group stages! COYS!!
My predicted team to face AEL Limassol at the Lane:
Naughton – Chiriches – Veljkovic – Davies
Dembele – Sandro
Lennon – Holtby – Townsend
Mauricio Pochettino press conference pre Limassol: