Match Preview – Asteras Tripolis (A)

Tottenham travel to Greece to face Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League this week. After a thumping victory over the Greek side at White Hart Lane, Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping for a similar display on their travels.

Last time out

Tottenham winger Erik Lamela stole the show in a thumping 5-1 defeat of Asteras Tripolis in Group C. The Argentine scored arguably the goal of the season, whilst adding another goal later on during a fabulous night at White Hart Lane. The superb hat-trick from England forward Harry Kane only boosted the positive show from Spurs. Kane’s unlucky late appearance in goal to replace Hugo Lloris capped off an eventful night for Mauricio Pochettino’s team.

Opposition focus

The Greek side came into their element during the 2012-13 campaign, dubbed their most successful. Achieving third place in the Greek Super League, the club were able to qualify for the UEFA Europa League for the first time in their history. This special season also saw the club achieve runners-up in the Greek Cup final, losing to heavyweights Olympiakos, 3-1. Their manager, Staikos Vergetis has been in charge since October 2013. The Asteras squad has many new faces, with captain Fernando Usero one of the longest serving players currently in the side. A staggering twelve members of the squad signed in 2014 alone.

Match facts

The Greeks head into the match just one point behind Tottenham and a win on Thursday would likely turn the group on its head. Asteras completed their first ever recorded win against Panathanikos, a team that Tottenham played in the 2012 Europa League, defeating them 3-1 at White Hart Lane, with a 1-1 draw in Greece. Tottenham faced Greek opposition in competitive form in 1972, winning 4-0 at home versus Olympiakos, whilst being defeated 1-0 on the road. Tottenham played Olympiakos once again in August 2009, with the pre-season friendly finishing 3-0 to Spurs.

Team news

Kyle Walker remains sidelined however has returned to light training in recent weeks. Kyle Naughton is a doubt after only just returning from injury against Aston Villa. Nabil Bentaleb will not make an appearance in the game through injury. The Algerian has been left out of the international squad for upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifiers with his return date still undecided. Aaron Lennon should be it to return after picking up a hamstring injury against Brighton. Emmanuel Adebayor hasn’t travelled to Tripolis, along with Naughton, Lennon, Friedel, Kaboul and Bentaleb.

Predictions

Starting XI – Vorm; Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Stambouli, Dembélé, Lamela, Townsend; Kane, Soldado

Score – Asteras Tripolis 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

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