Maribor - Tottenham Preview: Hosts hope to become first Slovenian victors against English opposition
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
By Ewan Roberts
Milec, Rajcevic, Arghus, Mejac
Cvijanovic, Filipovic, Mertelj, Ibraimi
Naughton, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen
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.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- 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.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
Top 3 Predictions
NK Maribor 1-2 Tottenham
- 13.12 %
NK Maribor 0-3 Tottenham
- 12.64 %
NK Maribor 0-2 Tottenham
- 12.32 %
|Europa League (EL)||8 Nov 2012||Tottenham 3 - NK Maribor 1|
|Europa League (EL)||25 Oct 2012||NK Maribor 1 - Tottenham 1|
|6 Dec 2012||NK Maribor 1 - Lazio 4||EL|
|22 Nov 2012||Panathinaikos 1 - NK Maribor 0||EL|
|8 Nov 2012||Tottenham 3 - NK Maribor 1||EL|
|25 Oct 2012||NK Maribor 1 - Tottenham 1||EL|
|4 Oct 2012||Lazio 1 - NK Maribor 0||EL|
|44||Arghus Soares Bordignon||Defender|
|9||Marcos Magno Morales Tavares||Striker|
|Marcos Magno Morales Tavares|
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.
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.