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Europa League

Europa League – How Far Can Spurs Go This Season?

As the season draws ever closer we look ahead to the various competitions we play in and try to gauge how far we, realistically can go, and that leads us to this question, how far can we progress in the Europa League. Like Carroll, Alli, Pritchard

In recent season we’ve made it to the last 8, last 16, last 32, and have always been ousted by teams who we should’ve been able to defeat and progress further in the competition. We feel on Penalties against Basel, we should’ve took Benfica to Extra-Time and we should’ve got past Fiorentina last season has a Spaniard put the ball into the back of the net.

With improved squad depth this season in defence and midfield courtesy of returning loanees like Carroll, Alli, Pritchard should increase our ambition of going further in the competition, plus with the incentive of a guaranteed Champions League place for the winner, Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to win this competition this season.

The only hiccup in our plans is the entry of the relegated Champions League sides as the Europa League enters the knockout phases which have affected us in the past. So in summary, ambition from the manager, combined with an improved squad and clever rotation policy and effective performances on the pitch, means we could go very far in Europe this season.


Player Ratings – Fiorentina 2 – 0 Spurs (3-1 agg.)

jan fioren

Our European adventure came to a disappointing end at the hands of Serie A side Fiorentina tonight as individual errors cost a sloppy Spurs dearly.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side went into the clash at a disadvantage having conceded the away goal in last week’s 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane, but a period of early pressure saw Spurs in the driving seat for most of the first half.

The turning point came towards the end of the half when Roberto Soldado was sent clean through on the Fiorentina goal, before squandering a tap in for Nacer Chadli with a pathetically weak assist.

The Italians broke the deadlock in the second half when Mario Gomez capitalized upon Federico Fazio’s limp pass to slot past Hugo Lloris, before Jan Vertonghen had a similar moment of madness to allow Mohammed Salah in to seal the deal.

The Egyptian’s goal was the sucker punch that ended the tie and came with a hint of irony thanks to the winger’s loan from Chelsea…

Player Ratings

Hugo Lloris 6 – Little to do for the majority of the game but was beaten easily by Mario Gomez’s low finish. Thankfully the captain made it out of the game unscathed in time for Sunday…

Vlad Chiriches 6 – I thought he had an *alright* game at right-back considering it’s only his 2nd or 3rd game there this season, and some of his deliveries were surprisingly decent. Still a bit sketchy.

Jan Vertonghen 6 – Bad timing for Jan who has a big test ahead of him this weekend. Absolutely gifted Salah his goal having dealt with Gomez well in the majority. Subbed early-ish and is a cert for Wembley.

Federico Fazio 5 – A liability due to his (lack of) pace and responsibly solely for the Fiorentina first. Looks fairly likely that Eric Dier will regain his place in the side for the Cup final.

Ben Davies 6 – Disappointing final product and was dominated by the rapid Salah. Overlapped Chadli well in the first half but couldn’t pick out a man. Rose in.

Benjamin Stambouli 6 – Drifted in and out of the game with some moments of eyebrow-raising skill mixed in with the odd suicidal moment. The tricks are all well and good as long as they don’t hand the ball to the opposition…

Nabil Bentaleb 6 – Was involved in a lot of good in the first half, carrying the ball out more than his midfield partner. Subbed early also, meaning the Arch surely awaits for the mature 20-year-old.

Erik Lamela 5 – Back in Italy where he made his name (and pricetag), but again there was no final product from the Argentine. Way too lightweight for the system at the minute, and no shots at goal registered.

Christian Eriksen 6 – Certainly not the best performance I’ve seen from the Dane, who failed to create much in front of goal. Saving himself for Sunday? I hope so. Plus two of his free-kick hit the wall…

Nacer Chadli 6 – Carried the ball to the byline as much as anybody but couldn’t unleash at goal. The goals have dried up but Nacer has to start on Sunday for me.

Roberto Soldado 4 – I’ve said it before, but tonight might just have been the final straw for Bobby. His squandered chance for Chadli in the first half has to be seen to be believed and it didn’t get much better. Cue Capital One Cup Final hat-trick…


Andros Townsend 5 – Ran it into corners. Frustrating.

Harry Kane 5 – You can tell he’s trying hard when he’s got the ball on the halfway line. But had little impact.

Kyle Walker N/a

Some Top Players Rested! Tottenham Team News And Predicted Lineup To Face Fiorentina

Thursday marks the start of a crucial four days in the context of Mauricio Pochettino’s first season at Tottenham, and it starts in Florence, the second leg of our last 32 Europa League clash with Fiorentina. The Argentine boss will have to make many selection decisions ahead of Sunday’s Capital One Cup Final clash with Chelsea. Here is the team news and predicted line-up.

Team News:

Mauricio Pochettino has a fully fit squad to chose his starting eleven from. However, he has left Brad Friedel, Younes Kaboul, Etienne Capoue, Cristian Ceballos, DeAndre Yedlin and Emmanuel Adebayor all back in London.

Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):

Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm:

With goalkeepers, it’s not really about fatigue and fitness as to who you pick to start. Although your initial decision would be to start Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm has guided us through most of the cup rounds, and therefore, I think he should start in between the sticks in Florence.

Defence: Kyle Walker, Federico Fazio, Eric Dier, Ben Davies:

Eric Dier has proved to us all in recent weeks that he is a capable defence. Although I do not think he will start regularly in the Premier League, he is a great player to have in your squad should injuries plague your defence. Federico Fazio has been involved in a recent battle with Eric Dier for a Premier League starting spot, and I think the former Sevilla man could resume normal service very soon.

Midfield (Holding): Benjamin Stambouli, Paulinho:

I expect Pochettino to mix things up a bit for this second leg ahead of the cup final on Sunday, and the first big changes to the side could be made here in the holding midfield. Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb should be rested ahead of the showdown against Chelsea, giving Paulinho and Benjamin Stambouli a run-out in the side after spells out of the side.

Midfield (Attacking): Andros Townsend, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli:

This attacking three could be much changed come Sunday. However, Nacer Chadli could remain, and I think he should start against Fiorentina to gain some much needed playing time ahead of the final. Mousa Dembele has been playing well recently, but could miss out on a cup final spot.

Striker: Roberto Soldado:

This is a good chance for the Spaniard to build on his volley last week in the first leg. He could well start up top to rest a player called Harry Kane.

FOUR Selection Dilemmas For Pochettino When Picking The Team To Face Fiorentina

We travel to Florence for the 2nd leg of our Europa League Last 32 encounter with Fiorentina and Manager Mauricio Pochettino has several selection dilemmas.

With the Capital One Cup Final this coming Sunday, Pochettino has key decisions to make, does he rest key players for the final at the risk of going out of Europe or does he ensure we progress to the Last 16 but harm our chances of lifting a trophy at Wembley. Here are the four decisions Pochettino must make.

THREE Players Key To Tottenham If They Are To Get A Result In Florence

Tottenham face a very tough trip to Florence in Italy to face Fiorentina in the second leg of the last 32 in the Europa League. The scores are locked level at 1-1, and it looks like it may come down to a piece of magic that decides the final outcome of this encounter.

Mauricio Pochettino will have to make some big choices as to who he fields for this second leg with the Capital One Cup Final on Sunday. Here are the men key to Tottenham if they are to progress.

Player Ratings: Spurs 1-1 Fiorentina

Not the type of game we’re used to seeing from Spurs this season; instead of a slow start and franetic finish, we got it the other way around in our 1-1 draw tonight. We had already looked threatening even before Soldado scored after 6 minutes, and the hopes that we could all but complete the job of qualifying in the first leg seemed possible, especially important when we have the cup final three days after the second leg in Florence.

However we did not make our dominance pay enough; Fiorentina had no answer for the combination of Townsend and Walker on the right side, but the final ball needed to be much better. And of course the finishing too, as Chadli will hold his hand up to.

Letting in a goal from one of Fiorentina’s few opportunities was galling, but it was expected that the flow of the game would continue and we would eventually respond. Instead, the Italians settled into the game and saw much more of the ball. Chances were spread evenly in the second half and it really could have gone either way. Our substitutions did not help to wrestle back control of the game and in the end a draw was pretty fair.

Hugo Lloris – 7 – Only made one save and had two claims to make. Will be disappointed to have conceded on the brink of half-time, after our control over the game early on. A free kick from deep caused trouble as it went over everyone, including him as he went for the punch/catch.

Kyle Walker – 7 – One of Walker’s better games today. Used his blistering pace to perfection and was instrumental in our domination down the right during the first-half. Combined nicely with Townsend on the overlap.

Federico Fazio – 7 – Never troubled by the height and hold-up play of Mario Gomez – winning 3 aerial duels and making 2 tackles. Could have been caught out by Salah on a few occasions, but improving. Good break-up of a long cross ball when Fiorentina broke away, and he was able to chest it back to Lloris.

Jan Vertonghen – 7 – Looking a lot more accomplished in defence – making 5 tackles tonight. Also very positive bringing the ball out from the back and calm in possession.

Ben Davies – 7 – Doesn’t have the pace of Rose, but is a very accomplished footballer. Tried to overplay when in the final third, but was unlucky not to get an assist with some decent crosses across the box. Possibly his best performance since he joined.

Paulinho -7 – Thought some were rather harsh with his analysis of the Brazilian. Was one of the key players in our strong first-half performance – always wanted the ball and positive in possession. Have to say that he looked pretty good and surprised me tonight.

Nabil Bentaleb -7 – Another complete performance from the Algerian – adding an element of balance to our side. Had 3 shots, made 3 tackles, had 3 successful dribbles and won one aerial duel. Importance cannot be underestimated.

Andros Townsend -7 – Full of confidence tonight – running and beating his man during a frantic opening half. Had 6 successful dribbles and two shots – and will be disappointed he didn’t get on the score-sheet.

Nacer Chadli – 7– One of the shining lights in our attacking four – composed on the ball and causing the Fiorentina defence all kinds of trouble. Made 3 successful dribbles and had two shots. Not bad, considering it was his first start since mid-January.

Christian Eriksen – 6– Not his most polished display – giving the ball away on several occasions with sloppy passes. Showed his slick class on a few occasions, and made up for the mistakes with a fantastic work ethic.

Roberto Soldado – 7 – Got himself on the score-sheet with a fantastic goal. Confidence was growing after the goal – evident by his audacious attempt of a bicycle-kick. Not as mobile as the other strikers to play in our system – but classy build-up play brings others into play, and did so tonight.


Harry Kane – 6 – Renewed optimism when he came on the field. Was too deep to get involved in any chances, but in those areas – picked up the ball to drive attacks forward.

Erik Lamela – N/A – Not on long enough to influence the game.

Ryan Mason – N/A – Not on long enough to influence the game.

Strong Side! Tottenham Team News And Predited LineUp To Face Fiorentina

Off the back of a much needed and deserved week off, Spurs return to action in the return of the Europa League as they host Fiorentina in the 1st leg of the Last 32 tie at White Hart Lane. The Italians are a mixed bag; some days can be fantastic, other days, well off the boil, so Spurs will have to be alert and positive to build a lead for the 2nd leg in Florence in a week’s time.

Team News:

Like for the past few games, Mauricio Pochettino has a fully fit squad to choose his starting eleven from, so everyone is in the frame.

Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris:

Starting Hugo is a must here for Pochettino. We ideally need a clean sheet to go into the 2nd leg with the away goals rule and in order to do that Hugo will need to start inbetween the sticks on Thursday night.

Defence: Kyle Walker, Federico Fazio, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies:

With Mario Gomez likely to be starting up top for the visitors and Mohamed Salah playing too, we need the athletic merits of Vertonghen and the strength and aerial presence of Fazio to keep those two quiet throughout the game. The Italian outfit don’t use their full-backs as wingers and get forward so the composure of Davies on the ball and Walker’s pass vision will be needed.

Midfield (Holding): Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb:

These two make up, what I refer to as the engine room of the team. The two work perfectly together, their legs, energy and tackling in the centre of the park keeps the game moving at a fast pace and allows up to use the high-pressing style. Bentaleb’s ball-winning tackles put together with Mason’s energy to move the attacks quickly is such an important cog in the system.

Midfield (Attacking): Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli:

We could see Nacer Chadli make his first start since returning from some time off due to a family bereavement. He’s provided many crucial goals this season and his performances before his leave of absence were fantastic, this is the perfect game to get him back into the system. The other advantage Chadli provides is he plays wide left which frees up Eriksen to dictate the game from the number ten role, his best position, he will run the pace of the game, feed balls through the channel and create. Dembele’s massive improvement has earned him a lot in the side, his physical presence up there combined with his passing attributes are vital in that role.

Striker: Harry Kane:

Is there anything he can’t do? Nope. The lad can do it all. His improvement game-by-game continues to amaze us. If we’re to build up a good lead tomorrow night Harry will be there ready to score once again as we aim for European glory.

THREE Players Key To Tottenham If They Are To Beat Fiorentina After an irregular eight days off for Spurs, they return to action in the Europa League off the back of a rather unlucky and disappointing defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

Mauricio Pochettino ,may look to field a strong side to face Italian side Fiorentina to gain a lead to take to Florence next week, so he could possibly rest key players ahead of the Capital One Cup final.

Fresh Spurs takes a look at who will be key to Tottenham if they are to beat Fioretina at White Hart Lane on Thursday.

Will The Europa League Have An Effect On Our Push For The Top Four?

It is no secret that Tottenham’s form could be a little better when it comes to playing league games the Sunday after a Europa League match. Although we have picked up a few good wins after Europa League fixtures, we have observed some crushing defeats.

Here is our record in the Premier League after Europa League games: (Bold= Win)
QPR- (H) 4-0
Liverpool- (H) 0-3
West Brom- (H) 0-1
Southampton- (H) 1-0
Newcastle- (H) 0-1
Stoke- (H) 1-2
Everton- (H) 2-1
Swansea- (A) 1-2
Won: 4
Drawn: 0
Lost: 4
Win Percentage: 50%

A 50% win percentage with no draws is okay, but we could do better, especially if you look at the fixtures that we have lost, West Brom, Stoke and Newcastle are the ones that stick out.

However, we certainly have the resources to turn this around, we have a very fit, and very deep squad. But these games after our two legs against Fiorentina are absolutely crucial to our season.

Firstly, next Sunday we face West Ham in an early kick-off. The Hammers will be getting to bite back after Eric Dier’s last minutes winner on the opening day of the season. Let’s not forget that they beat us 0-3 at White Hart Lane last season, and it was after a Europa League.

You must know what comes after the second leg in Italy. Yes, it’s the Capital One Cup final showdown at Wembley against Chelsea. A trophy in Mauricio Pochettino’s first season at the club would be phenomenal.

No, the Europa League shouldn’t really affect our push for a top four finish, but we need to stay focused right the way through until the final week if we are to give ourselves a chance of Champions League football next season.

A Rather Dim Evening! Player Ratings- Besiktas 1-0 Spurs

A moment of lackadaisical defending from Spurs allowed Turkish league leaders Besiktas to steal a 1-0 win on home turf in our final game of the Europa League group stages.

The first half had been interrupted by a floodlight failure which saw the players stuck in the tunnel for just under 15 minutes, but early during the second period attacker Cenk Tosun latched onto Olcay Sahan’s cross to bundle home in front of a helpless Michel Vorm to liven things up a bit.

However Roberto Soldado was once again responsible of missing guilt-edged chances in both halves, but thankfully for the luckless Spaniard the results of previous weeks meant Spurs were already through to the next round as runners-up.

Player Ratings

Michel Vorm 5 – Had little to do but was slow off his line for the only goal of the game.

Kyle Walker 7 – Our brightest spark at the back, a breath of fresh air as a right back for certain. Got to the byline countlessly but did look wary of aggravating his injury. Hopefully fit for Sunday.

Vlad Chiriches 5 – Definitely an accident waiting to happen at the back but just got away with most of it tonight. Caught out by the ball over the top for the Besiktas goal.

Younes Kaboul 5 – Was on hand to clear most of the threat from crosses but has to be at fault for the goal conceded. Allowed Tosun in front of him to poke home and came under intense scrutiny.

Danny Rose 6 – Got forward well from left-back but final product was once more the issue. Won a few corners thanks to his running but as usual, set-pieces were atrocious.

Benjamin Stambouli 5 – Undoubtedly skilful on the ball but lacked the deep-lying creativity provided by someone like Mason or Bentaleb. He also runs like he’s running in treacle.

Mousa Dembele 5 – More mobile than usual and looked somehow quicker, but hardly made an impact when employed as a 10.

Paulinho 5 – Put in the side to provide energy but the whole team lacked it tonight. Unsure of his position in the team, certainly not the creative number 10.

Nacer Chadli 6 – Ran the channels willingly but was caught offside on countless occasions. Eventually made the move to centrte-forward as Soldado dropped out.

Andros Townsend 5 –Another disappointing Europa League outing from Andros who failed to bring the spark that the side needed. Rarely ran at his fullback and looked reluctant to cross or shoot,

Roberto Soldado 5 – He simply cannot go on missing the chances like the one he did tonight. The “lack of confidence” can only be blamed so many times, but Soldado wasn’t up to it tonight.


Etienne Capoue 6  – Didn’t make an impact.

Erik Lamela N/a

Aaron Lennon N/a