Spurs are back in European action on Thursday evening with a tough clash against Europa League betting outsiders, Lyon, the French side currently chasing the Ligue 1 title and set for a Champions League berth next year.
Andre Villas-Boas has around him a motivated and confident side, with Spurs having won their last two games in morale-boosting fashion. Thanks – partly – to Gareth Bale’s genius we have escaped with narrow victories over both West Brom and Newcastle, and Lyon will be a real test of these players’ ability to challenge for European honours.
The main man to watch on Thursday is definitely Bafetimbi Gomis, Lyon’s combative, powerful striker with 14 goals in 28 games for club and country this season. The French international may have scored just twice since early December, but his recent strike against Valenciennes exhibits a poacher’s mind with an eye for goal.
Gomis is the main man with Alexandre Lacazette playing just off him, while Lisandro Lopez – with nine goals this season – makes Lyon’s forward trio a formidable unit.
While Gomis provides front-line firepower, midfielder Gueida Fofana is likely to give Kyle Walker a problem or two down the Lyon left flank. He doesn’t have that blistering pace of Bale’s, but Fofana has developed into a top young midfielder and will pick out Gomis when required.
Spurs fans may also be pleasantly surprised to see Steed Malbranque in the Lyon midfield. Malbranque made over 50 league appearances for the club and the 2008 League Cup winner still puts in a fair shift despite being 33 years old.
Pundits on Betfair Football believe that Malbranque is unlikely to threaten Scott Parker and co. for possession in the midfield but can nevertheless spot a pass and knows when the change the pace of the game.
Lyon boast a wealth of attacking talent and AVB must be willing to go forward in this first-leg tie. We have enough firepower ourselves to earn a draw against these title chasers away from home, meaning a win at White Hart Lane is crucial to our advancement.