It’s the fifth round of matches in the Europa League and the top two in Group J are going head-to-head in Italy as Tottenham travel to Lazio. The Biancocelesti are unbeaten at home in this season’s competition, scoring victories over Maribor and Panathinaikos without conceding a goal, but will come up against stiffer competition in Spurs.
Having said that, I would say that Lazio will have just too much against a wounded Tottenham side, still reeling from their 5-2 mauling at the hands of local rivals Arsenal.
In Serie A, Lazio have four wins, a draw and a loss, whilst Spurs have been fairly Jekyll and Hyde-like on the road, winning three and losing three.
Miroslav Klose is in hot form for the Italians and an erratic Spurs defence could find him too hot to handle, especially with Antonio Candreva pulling the strings in midfield. Tottenham, meanwhile, have rarely performed in Europe this season, AVB often giving his fringe players a chance.
A win for Lazio would send them through to the next round, whilst even three points wouldn’t be enough to guarantee Spurs’ passage through to the final 32, unless Maribor stutter against Panathinaikos.
It’s going to be a fairly hard-fought match and an awful lot does depend on the side AVB decides to put out. If he is determined to see his side through to the latter stages and plays his stars, Lazio could be in for a tough time of it. However, their defence has been pretty leaky this term and for all their attacking talent, Spurs may pay the price for erratic defending.
Tottenham will play their usual style, pressing high up the pitch, trying to pressure the ball but the guile of Klose and the home support will prove too much for the Lilywhites, with Lazio winning 3-1 and going through to the next round.