White Hart Lane, London
Thursday, 19th February, 20:00 GMT
Tottenham Hotspur continue their quest for the Europa League title as they host Fiorentina on Thursday in the first leg of the last-32 tie. Spurs have been on a good run domestically, winning four of their last five league games and making it to the Capital One Cup final. Tottenham, who were in the Group C, narrowly missed the top spot in the group stage as they finished one point behind Besiktas. The North-London club won three, drew two and lost one of their six group games. Coming into the game on the back off an away defeat to Liverpool, Tottenham will be looking to get back to winning ways as they host Fiorentina in front of their own fans. The tie will be crucial for Tottenham as they will be aiming for nothing less than a victory to go to Italy with an advantage.
The Italian outfit Fiorentina are also in good form domestically. Fiorentina sit in the fourth spot on the Serie A table and are gunning for Champions League qualification this season. Fiorentina have won three and drawn two of their last five league games and come into this game on are unbeaten in their last six games. Fiorentina were the toppers of the Group K and ended the group stage of the Europa League with winning four, drawing and losing one of their matches. The Italians ended the group stage three points clear of Guingamp.
Team News and Tactics
If Mauricio Pochettino wants his team to progress to the round-of-16, Tottenham Hotspur must give a highly attacking performance on Thursday. Playing the first-leg at home means that Tottenham must win the game with a healthy margin and try not to lose the away leg. Pochettino will be relying on the prolific Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen to win the game by a healthy margin. Tottenham will be expected to play attacking football in order to win the game.
There are no fresh major injury concerns for Pochettino and he will be expected to field a strong side. However, the manager may rest one or two of his key players, keeping the upcoming Premier League games in mind.
Probable Line-Up: Lloris; Walker, Dier, Vertonghen, Rose; Bentaleb, Mason; Lamela, Dembele, Eriksen; Kane;
Fiorentina will be hoping to take home at least a draw with them. Considering their current form, a win or draw does not seem to be a difficult target to achieve for the Italian side. The defence will play a key role and it will be interesting to see how Fiorentina handle the likes of Eriksen, Kane and Lamela. Micah Richards and Alberto Aquilani are both expected to play a key role considering their past experience in the English Premier League. Fiorentina might choose to set back and defend allowing Tottenham to hold most of the possession and try to beat them on the break.
Fiorentina will be without long-term absentees Giuseppi Rossi and Federico Bernardeschi. Former Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez is expected to start upfront.
Probable line-up: Tatarusanu; Richards, Rodriguez, Savic, Alonso; Aquilani, Pizarro, Fernandez; Diamanti, Babacar, Gomez;
Tottenham 2-1 Fiorentina
The game promises to be an exciting match-up between the two sides. It will be a close contest but Tottenham definitely hold the edge at the White Hart Lane. On the other hand, Fiorentina cannot be written-off as they are on a hot run form right now and will provide a tough challenge for Tottenham.
Player To Watch Out For
Harry Kane is the name on every Tottenham fans lips and the striker deserves all the attention and praise that is being heaped on him. Having already scored 23 goals so far this term, Harry Kane is always a favourite to get his name on the score-sheet.