Tottenham travel to Florence this week in search of progression to the last-16 of the UEFA Europa League. Despite a difficult 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in the first leg, Spurs will hope that their impressive attacking display will finally come-off against Fiorentina on Thursday night.
Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor celebrates his 31st birthday on the day of the Fiorentina decider; however varied sources understand Mauricio Pochettino has left him out of Thursday’s match-day squad.
With the Capital One Cup final on Sunday, Mauricio Pochettino will have to be tactical about the team he fields against the Italians, with the debate over who will feature in goal for Tottenham against Chelsea the hot topic leading up to the final. With Harry Kane hot in-form, does the Argentine risk his hottest prospect, or does he dampen Spurs’ hopes of progression with the risky and lack-lustre Roberto Soldado?
Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi
Television Coverage: BT Sport
Stats (via UEFA.org)
Tottenham and Fiorentina faced-off in the first-leg at White Hart Lane. Roberto Soldado gave Spurs the lead through a superb finish on the 6th minute, only for Basanta to equalise for the Viola just 30 minutes later. Fiorentina have yet to lose (W3 D1) or concede a goal in four home encounters with English sides. Spurs’ record in six away games against Italian sides remains W1 D2 L3.
Spurs 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.
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 have won just one of their last five European home games (W1 D2 L2); Spurs have lost just one of their last five on the road (W2 D2 L1).
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.
Tottenham have a fully fit squad ahead of this important week for the club. Fans will be hoping that manager Mauricio Pochettino has something up his sleeve, with the ability to guess the starting XI for either game a difficult task.
Starting XI – Vorm (I know), Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Stambouli, Dembélé, Townsend, Lamela, Paulinho, Soldado
Score – ACF Fiorentina 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur