English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur are set to host Russian club Rubin Kazan in a Group A game, in the UEFA Europa League, on Thursday, October 20, 2011.
Tottenham are fresh from a 2-2 draw against Newcastle, a match they could have lost but for substitute Jermaine Defoe’s late equaliser.
Going into the game, Tottenham are in decent form having won three matches on the trot prior to the Newcastle draw. Those wins came against Arsenal, Shamrock Rovers and Wigan Athletic; the win against Shamrock was registered in the Europa League. The four matches were preceded by a goalless stalemate with Stoke City, on September 20.
Ahead of the Kazan match, Tottenham’s back-line is a worry for manager Harry Redknapp, as injuries to several players leaves the side with no back ups for Walker, Bassong or Kaboul. With an away match in the Premier League against Blackburn Rovers, due to be played on Sunday, Redknapp would also be looking to rest some of his key players like Adebayor, Bale, Modric and Parker.
While Rubin Kazan have won three of their last five games, the Russian side also have had a loss and a draw in the other two matches. With wins on the trot against Spartak and Tom Tomsk, Rubin Kazan will be up for the challenge as they travel to White Hart Lane. Rubin have had a draw and a win against PAOK and Shamrock Rovers in their last two Europa League matches.
Rubin Kazan will rely on forwards Obafemi Martins and Nelson Haedo Valdez to provide the attacking edge; Martins starred in last year’s league cup final win against Arsenal. Brazilian Carlos Eduardo will be a formidable presence in the midfield, while Cesar Navas, Salvatore Bocchetti, and Christian Ansaldi form a strong backline, with Ansaldi dangerous in attack as well.
Ahead of Thursday’s game, Tottenham are firm favourites, with bookies offering odds of 13/20 on the home team winning, while the odds on a Rubin Kazan win are 17/4 and a draw is quoted at 13/5.
That said, Tottenham would underestimate the Russian side at their peril; this is the team that shocked Barcelona in an away game at the Nou camp in 2009.
Tottenham’s probable eleven: Cudicini, Walker, Kaboul, Bassong, Rose, Dos Santos, Livermore, Carroll, Pienaar, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.