Tottenham face an impossible task against Benfica after suffering a 3 – 1 defeat in last Thursday’s Europa League 1st leg game at White Hart Lane. With injury and suspension further reducing the strength of the team Tim Sherwood can field, Spurs are needing a monumental performance just to keep the score respectable to avoid adding another embarrassing defeat to this season lengthy list of embarrassments.
Last week a very confident Benfica side were a constant threat to Spurs with their pace and control, hitting Spurs on the counter-attack. Spurs, on the other hand, rarely troubled the experienced and well-organised Benfica defence.
For the match in Lisbon tonight, Spurs will have a very young, inexperienced team with so many players out with injury.The team will be selected from a squad of:
Squad: Friedel, Archer, McGee, Naughton, A McQueen, Fryers, Rose, Ball, Ogilvie, Sandro, Chadli, Veljkovic, Eriksen, Winks, Sigurdsson, Bentaleb, Onomah, Lennon, Townsend, Kane, Soldado
Jan Vertonghen’s late yellow card last week means he is suspended and with Tottenham’s other central defenders, Michael Dawson, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul, all unavailable through injury, it will be a make-shift partnership in central defence. Etienne Capoue who did fill in there earlier in the season is also missing so Sandro will probably have to play alongside Zeki Fryers.
Kyle Walker is out as well but at least Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose are fit to play. Hugo Lloris didn’t travel to Portugal so Brad Friedel will take over in goal with the Scottish Under-21 international on the bench.
In midfield Paulinho and Mousa Dembele are missing so the experienced options are Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nacer Chadli and Nabil Bentaleb.
Emmanuel Adebayor didn’t travel so Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane are the only strikers.
The remainder of the squad is composed of young players from the Under-21 squad:
Jonathan Miles (21 years)Defenders:
Milos Veljkovic (18 years) – 1st Year professional – can also play in midfield
Alexander McQueen (18) – 3rd year Academy (19 this week – full back)
Dominic Ball (18) – 3rd Year Academy – central defender
Connor Ogilvie (18) – 2nd Year Academy – left back/central defender
Harry Winks (18) – 2nd Year Academy
Joshua Onomah (16) – 1st year Academy
The task facing Tottenham is monumental, needing to score three goals without replay to progress to the next round. Damage limitation will be the first priority but with so many injuries even that will be difficult.