Dinamo Tbilisi v Tottenham Hotspur
Europa League Play-off
Venue: Boris Paichadze National Stadium, Tblisi
Date: Thursday 22 August
Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Tottenham Hotspur will travel to Georgia to take on Dinamo Tbilisi in the first leg of their Europa League play-off on Thursday evening.
Spurs narrowly missed out on Champions League qualifying place last season to Arsenal, which has consigned them to fight for the Europa League places once again. Last season, they were knocked out by FC Basel in the quarter-finals on penalties. However, they will start as hot favourites this campaign, should they progress through the qualifying round.
Their opponent, Dinamo Tbilisi won their domestic title last season, but following a 3-1 aggregate defeat by Romanian side Steaua Bucharest in the third round of the Champions League qualifying, they were dropped into the Europa League.
This has been an excellent summer for Spurs so far. Although, Spurs are set to lose their star player Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, they have sufficiently bolstered their squad by adding the likes of Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capoue. And the spending spree would cross £100 million mark, if they get their proposed deals done before the transfer window closes down.
Tottenham are missing several of their key players for this tie. Bale is still nursing his foot injury and won’t be participating for tonight’s game, amid speculation he is edging ever closer to making a world record move to La Liga giants Real Madrid.
Further, defender Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and midfield duo Aaron Lennon and Sandro (foot and knee respectively) will also miss the trip to Georgia.
Lewis Holtby and left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto will both mss the tie with knee injuries while striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who is short of match fitness, is also out of the running.
Predicted Line up
Spurs won their last game 1-0 away to Crystal Palace and would be looking to rest some of the players from that match.
Brad Friedel may come in at the goal with Younes Kaboul expected to get a start. Paulinho and Soldado could be rested or used as a sub, which could open the door for fringe players like Andros Townsend and Jermain Defoe.
Formation (4-2-3-1): Friedel , Kaboul, Dawson, Naughton, Rose, Dembele, Capoue, Chadli, Townsend, Sigurdsson, Defoe.
Prediction: Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas would be more than happy to get a slender 1-0 lead tonight.
What is your score prediction? And Share your views below about the possible starting line-up as well.