Tottenham host Olympique Lyon at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening, with Andre Villas-Boas looking for a decisive advantage ahead of the return leg in France. Spurs are unbeaten in the UEFA Europa League this season and have not lost, at home, in any competition, since Wigan beat them in a Premier League match in early November. Lyon, meanwhile, are enjoying a good run themselves and are second in Ligue 1, albeit six points of leaders Paris St Germain (PSG).
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 8.05pm GMT. Live coverage is on iTV 1 and iTV 1 HD.
Spurs qualified as runners-up from Group J, with a two point gap to winners Lazio. AVB oversaw a strong home record in the group stages, with two wins and a draw from the three games. And what will be a particular boost will be the fact the north London club conceded only twice in those three games and four times overall.
AVB and his men beat Newcastle 2-1 at home over the weekend, with yet another sensational performance from Welsh winger Gareth Bale. And it will be the rumoured Real Madrid target that Spurs will look to for inspiration at kick-off.
The club are fighting for bigger things in the league, with a return to the Champions League still a strong possibility. Tottenham are fourth (and in the final qualifying spot), with north London rivals Arsenal and Everton in pursuit. And given AVB has a reasonably comfortable four point lead over the Gunners and a six point gap to David Moyes' side, he will be keen on progressing to the next round of this competition and building a strong platform for the next season.
Lyon may be second in the French league but recent results have been poor, with only one win from the last four games. And Remi Garde's men come into this game after a 1-3 home defeat to Lille. The club have had a good European season so far though, with a sensational 16 point haul (from a maximum of 18) in the group stages of this competition. Lyon won all three of their home game, scoring six times and conceding only twice.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W D L D
- Last Match: Tottenham 2 - 1 Newcastle
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L L W D W
- Last Match: Olympique Lyonnais 1 - 3 Lille OSC
Former Lyon No 1 Hugo Lloris is to be replaced in goal by veteran American Brad Friedel. The French international was a summer signing from Lyon and struggled to impress AVB in his first few months in north London. Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor is in line to make his first appearance for the club since returning from national duty at the African Cup of Nations. Further changes from the win over Newcastle could include the inclusion of Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen and Cameroon left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Centre-back Younes Kaboul (knee) and England striker Jermain Defoe (ankle) are both unavailable and Brazil midfielder Sandro (knee) will miss the rest of the season.
Probable Line-Up: Friedel; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Dembele, Parker, Bale; Dempsey; Adebayor
Lyon don't have injury problems but Garde will, no doubt, make changes to his playing side, given recent results. Former AC Milan playmaker Yoann Gourcuff may start, in a bid to freshen attacking impetus, while in-demand striker Bafetimbi Gomis may be given a start ahead of the disappointing Lisandro Lopez.
Probable Line-Up: Vercoutre; Reveillere, Lovren, Bisevac, Dabo; Fofana, Gonalons; Lacazette, Grenier, Ghezzal; Gomis
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