Football

Basel v Tottenham: Europa League preview

Tottenham salvaged a 2-2 draw last Thursday (©GettyImages)
Tottenham salvaged a 2-2 draw last Thursday (©GettyImages).

One week ago many people were shocked by a lively Basel outfit that comprehensively outplayed, outfought and outpaced Tottenham in the Europa League.

However, if you have seen anything of Basel in recent times then you would have been completely unsurprised by this performance. The omens do not look good for Tottenham after a home 2-2 draw. Spurs have failed to win away in Europe since they beat AC Milan 0-1 at the San Siro in February 2011. So they will have their work cut out as the concession of two away goals means they will most likely need to win the game outright.

Basel play with pace and one player in particular on the right wing could be the key. Mohamed Salah terrorised Spurs at White Hart Lane with his pace, trickery and end product. Spurs will need to keep him quiet in order to subdue Basel's attacking threat.

However, Salah is not the only attacking threat as in the experienced Marco Streller they have a proven goalscorer who on his day is a real handful to deal with due to his strength and hold-up play. On the other side they have Fabian Frei, who is another tricky player and linked up well with Streller, Salah and Valentin Stocker in the first leg.

Stocker was the heartbeat of the Basel team at White Hart Lane and Spurs will need to get around him quickly in order to stop him playing and starting the Basel attacks.

In terms of Tottenham's line-up we can expect Andre Villas-Boas to stick with his policy of rotating his goalkeeper, with Brad Freidel coming back into the line-up.

William Gallas has been in poor form of late and his injury in the first leg will be a blessing to Spurs fans who do not want to see the Frenchman pull on the Spurs shirt again. With there being no Premier League fixture for Spurs this weekend, I think we can expect as strong a line-up, and Villas-Boas could deploy the midfield and attack as last weekend's match against Everton.

With the lack of pace that Spurs have without Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon they need to be more patient in their build-up and utilise the creativity of Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Mousa Dembele will be key to driving the team forward and keeping possess, while Emmanuel Adebayor had a much improved game against Everton as he worked hard, held the ball up and put pressure on the Everton defence.

If he plays like that on Thursday then Spurs will have a great chance. The important thing is that Spurs remain compact without the ball and limit the space available to the Basel players to slow down their play.

You could argue that Tottenham took Basel for granted in the first leg and were given a lesson as the Swiss side were breathtaking and Spurs were woeful.

However, Tottenham escaped with a draw which was a positive sign. Hopefully Spurs will be able to play a lot better in the second leg and progress to the semi-finals, leaving the club's supporters dreaming of Amsterdam.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur
Football

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