50 masked men attacked Tottenham Hotspur fans in a pub in Lyon on the eve of the big Europa league clash.
The crucial second leg between French club Lyon and Tottenham Hotspur is in danger of being overshadowed by events that have taken place off the pitch. Three Spurs fans were injured as a group of 50 men attacked a pub near Lyon.
The attack is believed to be ‘Antisemitic’ in nature as eyewitnesses claimed that the attackers made Nazi salutes. Tottenham have a strong base of Jewish supporters and reports suggest that these attacks were made by a ‘French far-right grouping’. Incidentally, France has seen an increase in violence against the Jewish community this year.
This is the second time that Spurs fans have faced Anti-Semitic attacks. A Tottenham Hotspur fan was stabbed in Rome during Spurs’ Europa league match with Lazio.
Tottenham released an official statement regarding the incident and has assured the fans that the situation is under control and that the Spurs officials are working along with the French police to ensure there is no repeat of such incident during the game.
“Club officials attended an incident last night in Lyon. A group of around 50 people confronted fans. The situation was dealt with and arrests were made within the hour. Three fans sustained minor injuries & received prompt medical assistance.
“Spurs officials and stewards will be in the city throughout the day, along with match-day French police ahead of kick-off.” – Read a statement tweeted from Tottenham’s official handle.
Lyon Team News
Star midfielder Yoann Gourcuff is the only major injury worry for Lyon before this game. The only change that is expected in the starting line-up that faced Spurs at White Hart Lane is the inclusion of midfielder Clement Grenier in place of former Tottenham midfielder Steed Malbranque.
Probable Starting Line-Up (4-2-3-1) : Vercoutre; Reveilere, Lovren, Bisevac, Umtiti; Fofana, Gonalons; Lacazette, Grenier, Lopez, Gomis
Lyon manager Remi Garde knows a difficult game awaits them tonight, but he has taken heart from the French club’s wonderful performance in their last league match where they thrashed Bordeaux 4-0 away from home.
“We know the away goal is very important. We need to be patient. We have 90 minutes to qualify. It will be difficult but we can try to close them down and try to cut out their speed. To be able to qualify in front of the home fans would be exciting. We won last weekend [4-0 away to Bordeaux] so we have a better mentality now.” – Remi Garde told press.
Tottenham Team News
Tottenham will be without their star striker Jermaine Defoe in this match, who isn’t a part of the traveling squad. There are no new injury worries for Andre Villas Boas, who already has the likes of Sandro, Huddlestone and Kaboul out on the sidelines. Brad Friedel is expected to start in this match against Hugo Lloris’ former club.
Probable Starting Line-Up (4-2-3-1) : Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Parker, Dembele; Lennon, Bale, Dempsey; Adebayor
Adebayor’s recent form has come under criticism, but Defoe’s absence will provide him with another opportunity to prove himself and Andre Villas Boas is confident that the former Arsenal striker will be among the goals pretty soon.
“We’re trying to unlock the best of Adebayor. Last year shows as an example of what we’re trying to get out of him.
“The team has adapted its style of play, which can relate to the dynamic of how he adapts to the other players.
“We have been speaking to him about how he can get into that goal-scoring position.
“Strikers live off goals and we’re doing everything we can to try and unlock his full potential.” – AVB said.
The Portuguese manager also faced the inevitable questions regarding Gareth Bale and whether Tottenham Hotspur have become a ‘one-man team’ this season. The Tottenham boss replied –
“This is always the problem with big teams. Barcelona rely on Messi, Real Madrid rely on Ronaldo?
“But the great players have to make the difference. They are the stars and Gareth has been magnificent this season. It’s something we are fortunate to have – players who can be decisive on those moments.”