Match Preview – Fiorentina (H)

The Europa League last-32 knockout round begins for Tottenham with the visit of Fiorentina to White Hart Lane. Despite a recent impressive run of form, Spurs haven’t ventured into the Europa League since December, and with a staggering 6 games in 17 days, Mauricio Pochettino’s top-four credentials will be put to the test in coming weeks.

Venue: White Hart Lane

Kick-Off: 8.05pm

Television Coverage: BT Sport

Stats (Via UEFA.org)

The teams are pitted together for the first time in UEFA competition. They did meet in two pre-season friendlies, Spurs prevailing 3-0 in 2001 and 3-2 in 2010, both games taking place in London. Tottenham are unbeaten in five home matches against Italian sides in UEFA competition (W3 D2), and have not conceded in their last three home games against Serie A opposition. Spurs are undefeated in four European home matches this term (W3 D1). They have won their last two round of 32 ties since bowing out to FC Shakhtar Donetsk at the same stage of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup.

Erik Lamela is the sole Tottenham player with Serie A experience, having played for AS Roma from 2011–13; Fiorentina’s David Pizarro was a team-mate in his first season in Rome. Spurs (1972 and 1984) are among 11 former UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League winners in the round of 32.

Opposition focus

Fiorentina’s only previous two-legged knockout tie against English opponents was decided on penalties – the Viola squeezing past Everton FC on Merseyside in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16 in a shoot-out after the clubs had traded 2-0 home wins. Fiorentina’s Mounir El-Hamdaoui was on the books at White Hart Lane from 2005–06 but never played a competitive game. Fiorentina feature English talent in the shape of Micah Richards, who is on loan from Manchester City FC; Spurs forward Emmanuel Adebayor and Viola defender Stefan Savić are both former City team-mates of Richards. Fiorentina’s Mohamed Salah (Chelsea FC), Alberto Aquilani (Liverpool FC), Borja Valero (West Bromwich Albion FC), Giuseppe Rossi (Manchester United FC, Newcastle United FC) and Marcos Alonso (Bolton Wanderers FC, Sunderland AFC) all have Premier League experience.

Team News

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino has a clean bill of health ahead of the perilous few weeks ahead. Nacer Chadli spoke at the press conference on Wednesday ahead of the game commenting that it was the ‘fittest squad he’s ever been a part of.’

Predictions

Starting XI – Vorm, Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Stambouli, Dembélé, Townsend, Eriksen, Chadli, Kane

Score – Tottenham 1-1 Fiorentina

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