On February 25th, Tottenham welcome Italian side Fiorentina to White Hart Lane for the second leg of their UEFA Europa League tie. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Tottenham go into the match with the slight advantage, but the Italians will be looking to match Spurs’ away goal and move onto the round of sixteen of the Europa League.
Both teams are in a good position to get into next years UEFA Champions League with Tottenham sitting second in the Premier League and Fiorentina sitting in third, Serie A’s last Champions League spot. But if either of them fall away in the league, they’ll want to advance in this competition to have another route to the Champions League.
Tottenham have their fair share of minor injuries to deal with for this clash. On the long term injury front, they’ll be without Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie will both continue to be out through their respective knee injuries. Hugo Lloris, Erik Lamela, Moussa Dembele, and Tom Carroll all have short term injuries that make them doubts for the match against the Italians. Harry Kane also broke his nose on Sunday against Crystal Palace, so he’ll play with a protective mask, if he is selected.
Fiorentina’s only injury concern is on loan Leicester City man Yohan Benalouane, who is a doubt with a thigh injury.
These two teams faced off in last years Europa League and the first leg in that tie also finished 1-1. The difference was that Tottenham hosted the first leg last year and fell in the second leg 2-0, exiting the competition in the round of 32. In league play Fiorentina the third highest scoring team in Serie A facing Tottenham, the team with the best defensive record in the Premier League.
Tottenham: Heung-Min Son
In what was a quite summer in North London, Tottenham’s big signing was former Bayer Leverkusen man Heung-Min Son. While the Korean international hasn’t made too many Premier League appearances this season, he’s been a go to guy for the Europa League and has delivered consistently. He has registered four goals and eight assists in seven Europa League starts. Mauricio Pochettino has adopted a system of heavy rotation between his Premier League team and his Europa League team. This has given many players opportunities to prove that they have the talent to make it at Tottenham, and Son, while his time hasn’t come in the Premier League yet, has shown that he can deliver. He will hope to once again to send Spurs onto the round of 16.
Fiorentina: Federico Bernardeschi
Bernardeschi has not been a lethal goal scorer in Serie A. He has only one goal in 22 appearances, including 18 starts. Yet, something just seems to click for him in the Europa League, where he has four in six appearances. He scores a goal every 95 minutes in the Europa League, as opposed to every 1623 minutes in Serie A. He could be the player that can make all the difference in advancing his team to the round of 16.
With two very good teams going head to head, this is a very tough match to pick. Ultimately, Spurs come in with the away goal advantage and, combined with the fact that they’re playing at home, that should be enough for them to edge the contest.
Prediction: 2-1 Tottenham