Following the announcement that manager Andre Villas-Boas has the Europa League trophy in his sights, Spurs will head into their first European tie of the 2012-13 season full of drive and hoping for their second victory in a row.
Their confident victory against Reading last weekend could prove vital in kick-starting their sluggish league start, and the team will hope to build on this success against Lazio. The match will be Tottenham’s toughest yet, with Lazio boasting a 100 per-cent record this season in Serie A after their third successive victory on Sunday, against Chievo.
Aaron Lennon is savouring the prospect of welcoming Lazio to the Lane, describing it as a momentous occasion in the club’s season.
He said: “It will be a hard game but we’re looking forward to it. It’s a big game against a massive club. The Europa League has improved as a competition over the last few years and playing in these big games improves you as a player.”
Lennon will be hoping to make an impact for Tottenham, and will be looking to add to his tally of two assists this season – the latest setting up Jermain Defoe in Sunday’s triumph at the Madejski Stadium.
Villas-Boas’ suggested starting XI will see Lennon in his familiar role as right winger, and looks set to welcome new signing Clint Dempsey in an advanced attacking role. Emmanuel Adebayor could make his first start for the club this season, with the in-form Jermain Defoe granted a rest. Hugo Lloris is also a possibility in goal, and could be handed the No. 1 jersey ahead of veteran Brad Friedel. No stranger to European football, this could prove to be the perfect way to settle into his new club, with fellow new signing Jan Vertonghen providing defensive cover alongside William Gallas. Kyle Naughton will take the place of the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto once more.
Lazio striker Miroslav Klose will be hoping to make an impact, knowing that at 34-years-old this could be his last season in Europe. He will line up in-front of a three-pronged midfield force containing Ederson, Stefano Mauri and Lorik Cana.
Their manager, Vladimir Petkovic has experience against Tottenham, having guided former side Young Boys to a 3-2 victory in the 2010-11 Champions League qualifying round, only to lose the second leg 4-0. He will be looking to avenge this, and will hope Lazio can record their first victory against English opposition in eight games. Lennon will hope this isn’t the case.
Can Tottenham Hotspur make a winning start to their Europa League campaign tomorrow?
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