Tottenham’s fifth Europa League match in Group K takes them to Norway to play Tromso. Having already qualified for the knock-out stages, Spurs need just one point to be assured of winning the group. Team news included after the 5pm announcement.
Spurs Europa League campaign has involved extensive travel this season and today’s match takes them 217 miles inside the Arctic Circle. Tromso hold the position as the northernmost top-level football club in the world. The temperatures will be below zero and Tromso play on an artificial surface with the snow to be cleared off the pitch before kick-off.
[We remember well the difficulties Spurs experienced on an artificial pitch in Switzerland in 2010 when their Champions League campaign looked in danger of coming to a premature end.]
Date: Thursday, 28th November
Kick-off Time: 6.00pm (UK time)
TV Channel: ITV4
Live Stream: http://www.itv.com/itv4/
Team: Friedel; Naughton, Chiriches, Dawson, Fryers; Capoue, Dembele; Townsend, Sigurdsson, Chadli; Soldado Subs: (unused) Archer, Fredericks, Vertonghen, Holtby, Lamela, McEvoy, Coulthirst
Having left a number of players at home, Andre Villas-Boas took advantage of the strength of his squad to play a strong, experienced team with four young players on the bench.
This is only Spurs second competitive match in Norway. As holders of the UEFA Cup in September, 1972 they started the defence of their trophy with a 6 – 3 win over Lyn Oslo in the 1st leg match.
Spurs won 3 – 0 in the match against Tromso at White Hart Lane. Jermain Defoe scored twice in the first half and substitute Christian Eriksen scored the third in the final minutes.
Tromso have already been eliminated from the competition. They have 1 point from their opening four matches, earning a 1 – 1 draw at home to FC Sheriff in their first home match. They have since lost both games to Anzhi, losing 1 – 0 on both occasions. The goal in the home match came in the 94th minute.
Tromsø are participating in this season’s Europa League as Norway’s fair play winner. They have already been knocked out of the competition when losing to Besiktas in the play-off round but were reprieved when the Turkish side were disqualified.
Tromso finished the last Norwegian season in 15th place in the 16-team League so suffering relegation.
Andre Villas-Boas will be looking for a reaction from his players after Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City. They will need to show application but the real rest will be against United on Sunday. The team will be without a number of players who have been left out of the squad, including Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris, Paulinho, Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon, Sandro and Younes Kaboul who have been rested. Eriksen, Danny Rose, Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor are also out due to injury.
The squad includes some of Tottenham younger players – Ryan Fredericks who played in some Europa League matches in 2011, Kenny McEvoy, Shaquile Coulthirst and Laste Dombaxe.
Spurs will want to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition and will be looking for at least a point to win the group.