Tottenham return to the Lane in search for the finishing touch to their Europa League play-off draw against AEL Limassol. After a 2-1 victory away, Spurs will be hoping to complete the tie at home.
After the tremendous second half performance from Spurs in Larnaca, I expect this game to be drastically different to the first leg, given that Pochettino now has a good summary of the opposition.
After a long relationship with the Europa League, Tottenham find themselves under a manager that has formerly played in the competition (as well as publicly slate it), with Mauricio Pochettino the next coach to tackle the tournament. Under Sherwood, it seemed the opinionated coach was fond of the competition, with his touchline antics against Benfica highlighting a slight passion for Europe. His predecessor, Andre Villas-Boas; championed the contest. Taking the LilyWhites to the quarter-final stage in 2013, AVB was passionate about doing well in the “Champions League’s little brother,” and should Pochettino replicate this enthusiasm, we could be looking at some glory nights at the Lane once again.
Tottenham have faced Cypriot opposition once before in European competition, beating Anorthosis Famagusta 6-1 at White Hart Lane before drawing 1-1 away. Spurs have lost just one of their last seven away European fixtures (W4 D2), keeping four clean sheets in that time.
This will be the first time AEL Limassol have faced English opposition away in aEuropean competition. In 11 previous home games in European competitions, AEL Limassol have lost only twice (W7 D2; incl. Cup Winners Cup, Europa League and Champions League).
Quotes (via London24)
Mauricio Pochettino: “In the last game against Limassol it was [Hugo] Lloris, and in the two Premier League games it was Younes Kaboul,” said the Argentine. “For tomorrow, maybe it will be Hugo or another.”
Kyle Walker (pelvis) and Roberto Soldado (several issues)
Predicted lineup: Lloris, Naughton, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Bentaleb, Paulinho; Holtby, Chadli, Townsend; Kane.
Predicted score: Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 AEL Limassol