Match Preview – Besiktas (A)

Tottenham are back to Europa League duties this week as they face Besiktas in Istanbul. The Turkish giants came away from White Hart Lane with a point earlier in the group, thanks to a mistake from Vlad Chiriches. Tottenham will be hoping to walk away with a victory in order to claim top spot in the group, although a point will be enough.

Venue: Atatürk Olympic Stadium

Kick-Off: 6pm

Television coverage: ITV4

Last time out

The deciding moment of the game came inside the final ten minutes. Vlad Chiriches concluded his terrible night when he handled inside his own area. This resulted in a booking and penalty, of which Demba Ba calmly finished. The game finished one-a-piece.

Stats

Spurs and Besiktas have met before this year’s group stage. Goals from Hossam Ghaly and Dimitar Berbatov secured a 2-0 win in the group stage of the then-UEFA Cup in Istanbul October, 2006. Berbatov’s goal that night particularly memorable in the minds of Spurs fans. Tottenham will play against some familiar faces on Thursday. Former Newcastle and Chelsea striker Demba Ba is unable to play due to a broke toe, however Besiktas are managed by Slaven Bilic, the Croatian legend who played at Everton and West Ham.

Opposition focus

This is Besiktas’ sixth group stage campaign in this competition – they failed to make it through three UEFA Cup group stages but have progressed on both attempts since the advent of the UEFA Europa League. Besiktas’ UEFA club competition record in England is W2 D0 L5; in London it is W1 D0 L1 – they beat Chelsea 2-0 in 2003 but lost 1-0 at Arsenal in August.

Besiktas’ most successful era came under the management of Gordon Milne, when they won three consecutive league championships in the early 90s. Capped 14 times by England, Milne was best known for playing for Liverpool during the 1960s, where he made more than 250 appearances and won two league titles and the FA Cup.

Team News

Returning – Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Federico Fazio

Rested – Jan Vertonghen, Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Christian Eriksen and Kyle Naughton

Predictions

Starting XI – Lloris, Walker, Chiriches, Fazio, Rose, Stambouli, Capoue, Townsend, Lennon, Paulinho, Soldado

Score – Besiktas 0-1 Tottenham

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