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UEFA Europa League

  • 25 October 2012
  • • 18:00
  • • Ljudski vrt, Maribor
  • Referee: S. Karasev
  • • Attendance: 10049

Maribor - Tottenham Preview: Hosts hope to become first Slovenian victors against English opposition

Maribor - Tottenham Preview: Hosts hope to become first Slovenian victors against English opposition

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New boss Andre Villas-Boas will want to bounce back from his side's Premier League defeat against former club Chelsea with a first win in this year's Europa League campaign



Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac
Cvijanovic, Filipovic, Mertelj, Ibraimi

Naughton, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen
Livermore, Huddlestone
Townsend, Sigurdsson, Bale

Darko Milanic has few injury concerns ahead of Maribor’s clash with Tottenham.

Jovan Vidovic was sent off - and conceded a penalty - against Lazio, so is suspended for the game, which is exacerbated by the likely absence of fellow defender Nejc Potokar who came off injured against Panathinaikos.

Arghus could return after being sent off in the Champions League play-off against Dinamo Zagreb.

Andre Villas-Boas is without long-term absentees Younes Kaboul (knee), Scott Parker (Achilles) and Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee).

A hip injury picked up on international duty with Belgium forced Mousa Dembele out of his side’s 4-2 loss to Chelsea and he remains sidelined.

Gareth Bale missed Saturday’s clash due to his partner going into labour, but could be given a run out against Maribor. Kyle Naughton was on the bench against the Blues and might be asked to start in place of Kyle Walker in Slovenia.

Hugo Lloris is expected to replace Brad Friedel, while Michael Dawson may start after sitting on the bench at the weekend, but Emmanuel Adebayor did not travel with the squad.

  • Maribor have met an English side just once before, losing home (2-1) and away (1-0) to Championship side Birmingham City in last year’s Europa League group stages.
  • The Purples are top of the Slovenian league after 14 games, winning 11 and losing just once with a goal difference of +22.
  • Captain Marcos Tavares is joint second in the Europa League assists table, creating two goals for his team-mates.
  • No Slovenian side has ever beaten an English club, losing every encounter barring NK Olimpija Ljubljana’s 1-1 draw against Liverpool in 2003-04.
  • Tottenham have lost just one of their previous five European away games, a 1-0 defeat to Rubin Kazan last year, and have kept three clean sheets in those ties.
  • Jermain Defoe (pictured, right) scored the winning goal in both of England’s matches against Slovenia.
  • The north London side have only ever travelled to Slovenia once in the past, beating NK Rudar Velenje 2-1 in the Intertoto Cup in 1995.
  • Spurs are three strikes shy of a landmark 200th goal in the Uefa Cup and/or Europa League.

Players to watch

Marcos Tavares

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Only one player in the Europa League this season has more assists than the Maribor captain, and he has a goal against Panathinaikos to boot as well. Playing just behind Robert Beric, Tavares drifts between the lines, is difficult to pick up, and creates lots of chances for his team-mates. Regarded as one of the best players in the Slovenian league, the Brazilian has won the player of the season award in the past and has already scored 10 goals this campaign.

Spurs’ centre-backs have been occasionally unsure of how to deal with deeper centre-forwards, whether to follow them away from goal or not, so Tavares could engineer space for himself.

G. Sigurðsson

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The Icelandic attacking midfielder came to White Hart Lane in place of the brilliant Rafael van der Vaart, but has as yet failed to make an impact. The former Swansea midfielder has no goals or assists in his eight Premier League appearances and two Europa League outings, though did grab a goal and an assist against Carlisle in the League Cup.

With Mousa Dembele injured, the creative responsibilities now fall on Sigurdsson shoulders, who will be tasked with feeding the flanks and supporting Spurs’ lone forward. An impressive performance in Slovenia could earn him a starting spot in the Premier League ahead of Clint Dempsey.

Editor's Prediction

Tottenham struggled away to Panathinaikos in their last Europa League outing, and Maribor present a sterner test. The Slovenian side defended resolutely against Lazio, losing just 1-0, and Spurs can’t afford to show any of the signs of lethargy or complacency that marred their trip to Greece. With Andre Villas-Boas treating the competition seriously, expect a line-up studded with star names and first teamers, and Spurs should have enough quality to see off Maribor in what has been labelled a must-win game.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Tottenham Hotspur


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

NK Maribor MAR
NK Maribor Maribor
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT
Tottenham Hotspur FC Tottenham Hotspur

Top 3 Predictions

NK Maribor MAR
1 - 2
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT
NK Maribor MAR
0 - 3
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT
NK Maribor MAR
0 - 2
Tottenham Hotspur FC TOT