Tottenham need to follow their simple 3-step to be sure of a win in Thursday’s Europa League Group J match against NK Maribor. The teams drew 1 – 1 in Slovenia two weeks ago when Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised in the second half after Maribor had taken a first half lead. Maribor are second in the Group, one point behind leaders, Lazio, and a point ahead of Spurs. In a group where all four teams are very close Spurs are looking for a win to lift them into second place and give them an advantage over Maribor before they travel to Rome to play Lazio in the next match.
- Score in the 1st Half: This season Tottenham have scored only seven first half goals but of those five matches they have won four of them. The only match were they haven’t won after scoring in the first half was in Greece when Michael Dawson put Spurs ahead just before half-time. Panathinaikos came back to equalise late on in the game. In the away games against Manchester United and Southampton the two first half goals scored in both games were the basis for a Tottenham win. Spurs haven’t scored a first half goal in any of their seven matches at White Hart Lane.
- Make Sure Aaron Lennon Scores: Aaron Lennon has scored 26 goals for Spurs in all competitions during his xx years at White Hart Lane. Those goals have come in 25 games and Spurs have won all but three of those matches. The exceptions to the winning run were a goal in the UEFA Cup draw with Seville, the equalising goal in the 4 – 4 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates and another late equaliser at Newcastle. Lennon’s last goal in a Totenham was against Aston Villas at white Hart lane last month.
- Don’t play on a Saturday: Over the past two seasons, with European matches and television commitments, Spurs’ opportunity to play Saturday matches has been greatly restricted. This season they have had six games on a Saturday but have only managed to win one but what a memorable victory that was – against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Spurs appear to have lost the knack of winning on a Saturday with what used to be the traditional kick-off time of 3pm. Spurs last won a Saturday match with a 3pm start in January against Cheltenham in the FA Cup and it is almost a year since they won in the Premier League, against Bolton at the start of December, 2011.
With the Europa League match against Maribor on Thursday evening, Step 3 has been addressed so if Aaron Lennon could score in the first half, Tottenham would be well set for the win that they need to ensure qualification for the knock-out stages of the competition.