Tottenham Hotspur visit Rome to face Serie A club Lazio for a Europa League group stage match. Only two points separate two sides in Group J, with Spurs second on six points and the Italians on top with eight. The reverse fixture between the two ended in a goalless draw, although the Italians were clearly the better side.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 6 pm GMT and live coverage is on iTV 4 and iTV 4 HD howing the match live.
Lazio come into this game after holding Serie A champions Juventus to a goalless draw, away from home, in their weekend league fixture. The draw meant Vladimir Petković's side remains fifth in the Italian league, with 23 points from 13 games and ahead of fierce city rivals AS Roma. The Biancocelesti have not had a particularly consistent run in recent games, with defeats to Catania (4-0 away) and Fiorentina (2-0 away) separating good results against AC Milan (3-2 home win), Panathinaikos (3-0 home win) and Roma (3-2 home win).
The win over Roma, in particular, coupled with the draw against Juventus, should mean the Italians will welcome Spurs in a confident mood. The icing on the cake will be a feeling of unfinished business, after the hosts for this game dominated the reverse fixture but were forced to settle for a point.
Andre Villas-Boas' side, meanwhile, have some serious doubts to shake off and issues to address. The White Hart Lane club may be, in some respects, a work-in-progress and reports of chairman Daniel Levy backing his new manager despite poor performances is good news. Nevertheless, four defeats in the last five games is abysmal by any standards. Tottenham were hammered 5-2, at the Emirates, in the north London derby against Arsenal; were beaten 2-1 at the Etihad by Manchester City; and slumped to surprising defeats against Wigan (0-1 at home) and Norwich City (2-1 away) in recent weeks. The silver lining is probably the 3-1 Europa League win over Slovenians NK Maribor in early November, a match in which England international Jermain Defoe scored a hat-trick.
The next round of games will see Spurs host Greek club Panathinaikos (whom they held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture) and Lazio travel to play Maribor, meaning a poor result in this game could seriously jeopardise AVB's hopes of progression to the knock-out stages.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first):D W W L D
- Last Result: Juventus 0 – 0 Lazio
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first):L L W L L
- Last Result: Arsenal 5 – 2 Tottenham
The hosts will be without defender Andre Dias, who picked up an injury in the game against Juventus. In addition, Petković will also miss midfielder Ederson, with a thigh injury. German international Miroslav Klose will likely start as the central striker and the former Bayern Munich man's form, since moving to Italy, should worry AVB. Klose has 20 goals in 39 league games for the club.
The 34 year old veteran will be supported by Antonio Candreva, Hernanes and Stefano Mauri from midfield and the trio have 10 goals, between them, in the league this season. There is also Argentine Mauro Zarate to consider.
The defensive solidity of Petković's formation is likely to come from Senad Lulic and Italian veteran Cristian Ledesma. Federico Marchetti will probably be in goal for this game and he will have a shield of four, with veteran Lionel Scaloni likely to be tasked with keeping Gareth Bale quiet.
Probable Line-Up: Marchetti; Scaloni, Radu, Cana, Ciani; Mauri, Lulic, Ledesma, Candreva; Zarate; Klose
Meanwhile, Spurs have left veteran American goalkeeper Brad Friedel in London, meaning summer signing Hugo Lloris will be No 1 for this match. Long-term injuries for AVB are still Scott Parker, Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Togo international Emmanuel Adebayor picked up a red card in the game against Arsenal and will be unavailable for the next three domestic games. Therefore, expect the former Manchester City and Real Madrid forward to start this game and Defoe to come on from the bench, if needed. This makes additional sense because Spurs have some big games coming up and Defoe will be needed for those.
Elsewhere, England youngster Steven Caulker is believed to have recovered from his knee injury and could be in contention for a starting berth. Similarly, Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembele is also available. However, AVB has confirmed the summer signing from Fulham will not be risked for this game.
Probable Line-Up: Lloris; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton; Lennon, Sandro, Huddlestone, Bale; Sigurdsson; Adebayor