Antwerp vs Tottenham preview | Confirmed team news | Expected line-ups | Prediction
Tottenham Hotspur will face Royal Antwerp in Belgium this evening in the Europa League where Jose Mourinho admits he is facing a peculiar problem – ‘the only problem’ – with his squad ahead of the tie [5:55 kick-off].
The confidence within the squad is running high after Spurs secured back to back wins in the build-up to the game. A convincing 3-0 victory against LASK in the Europa League was followed by a gritty 1-0 win against Burnley in the Premier League, and the north Londoners will now be looking to carry forward the winning momentum.
The belief within the squad is festering with Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele suggesting they are aiming a finish higher than the top four this season, hinting of a potential title challenge.
And yet, there’s something about the squad that is ‘hurting’ Mourinho. A successful summer transfer window meant Tottenham have added significant depth and quality to their squad, and it has resulted in a selection headache for the Spurs boss.
Mourinho is not taking his opponent lightly, and rightly so. Antwerp won their opening fixture 2-1 against Ludogorets, and are heading into the continental competition in fine form, remaining unbeaten in their last seven games.
The Spurs boss has admitted that he has watched a lot of Antwerp games and has a good idea of how they are going to shape up. The Belgian side usually operates with five at the back with two offensive wing-backs. They are well organised in midfield, with Mourinho pointing out Dieumerci Mbokani and Lior Refaelov as potential threats.
Ivan Leko will welcome the likes of Jordan Lukaku and Abdoulaye Seck – both tested negative for coronavirus in their last round of testing. They have resumed training and should play a part on Thursday.
On the other hand, two players – Dylan Batubinsika and Manuel Benson – have tested positive for Covid-19, while Bruny Nsimba misses out with an abductor injury.
For Tottenham, Eric Dier and Ndombele didn’t travel with the squad with fitness issues while Japhet Tanganga is a long-term absentee. Mourinho has admitted that he will be making a lot of changes from the side that won against the Clarets and it’s been confirmed Gareth Bale will start the game.
Steven Bergwijn and Serge Aurier are fully fit and they have been included in the squad for tonight’s game. With so much quality at his disposal, it would be interesting to see how Mourinho picks his best starting line-up for the game.
Royal Antwerp: Butez, De Laet, Gelin, Seck, Juklerod, Hongla, Haroun, Miyoshi, Gerkens, Refaelov, Mbokani.
Tottenham: Hart; Reguilon, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Doherty; Winks, Lo Celso; Bale, Lamela, Alli; Vinicius.
Antwerp 1-2 Tottenham: Both the sides are in fine form at the moment and it should be a fascinating contest. However, Spurs have enough quality in their attacking ranks and are likely to nick a crucial away win.
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