Shamrock Rovers vs. Tottenham Hotspur Preview

Uefa Europa League

Football
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Published: 12/12/2011

After a frustrating home loss to Greek outfit PAOK, Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League aspirations are hanging by a thread heading into their final group game against minnows Shamrock Rovers.

Harry Redknapp’s Premier League high flyers must beat the Irishmen convincingly and at the same time hope that Rubin Kazan are beaten by PAOK in Salonika.

Redknapp has so far used the competition to rotate his star studied squad and give many of his fringe players the opportunity to prove themselves.

Unfortunately for him and the Spurs faithful, the club’s second string have failed to shine in their five group matches to date and consequently, Redknapp must now decide whether to retain faith in his youngsters or pass the responsibility over to the likes of Gareth Bale, Rafael Van Der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor.

Beating Shamrock should be a relatively easy task considering that Rovers have lost all of their games in the competition so far.

Nevertheless, the outsiders have still performed with reasonable credit against opposition of a much higher calibre and have so far managed to avoid a complete humiliation in terms of score line.

Tottenham’s goal difference falls way short of Kazan’s so they have to attack this fixture from the off in an attempt to score as many goals as they can and give Shamrock their first real grilling of the tournament.

If anything, such a result would at least give the North Londoner’s a scant consolation should Rubin Kazan escape Greece with the point which they require to qualify.

As Tottenham’s Premier League bid really begins to take shape, a prolonged stay in Europe’s second tier could well be detrimental to their domestic chances – and this notion has been shared by a number of analysts and pundits who have suggested this as a reason for their disappointing performances on the continent.

Nevertheless, considering the nature and mentality of Redknapp, it is unlikely that the veteran boss has taken anything lightly and he will still want to be involved in European competition even if it cannot match the heights of last season’s spectacular Champions League campaign.

The odds are stacked firmly against Spurs qualifying for the last 32 however they are still likely to at least finish their tournament on a high by putting Rovers to the sword.

In truth, they were frustrated by a dogged and determined PAOK at White Hart Lane who quite literally parked the team bus in front of their own goal when leading the contest 1-2 with a man sent off.

But for a bad start, Spurs would probably have been good enough to take control of the game in terms of the scoreboard as well as possession statistics.

Value will be hard to come by without looking to the match handicap and Spurs should be able to win by two or more goals at around even money.

An open, entertaining game is in prospect, even if it will probably be mostly one sided in favour of the visitors.

Shamrock have had their moments in the group and can get themselves on the score sheet but this will be all about Spurs doing their part of the deal as the Europa League group phase draws to a close.


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