Match Preview: Paços de Ferreira v Tottenham Hotspur

Match Preview: Paços de Ferreira v Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Estádio Capital do Móvel

THU 19 AUG 2021EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE – QUALIFYING PLAY-OFFS – 1ST LEG

If we didn’t have a Pandemic, I would be there in Portugal watching this match live; sadly, no away travellers are allowed to go to European games (at least for the moment). We go into this game on the back of an excellent victory over the League champions Manchester City. Now we travel to Portugal to take on Pacos de Ferreira in the first of our two-legged play-off round.

We got there – Europa Conference league – because we slipped from Champions League to Europa league to this failure Europa Conference league in the blink of an eye. But we are now guided by our new coach Nuno Espirito Santo, as we were placed into the play-off round after finishing seventh in the Premier League last season (just above the Gooners).

But, and a big “but,” this gives us a  real opportunity to win a trophy for the first time in 13 years;  while it’s also is a chance for the likes of Bryan Gil, Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini to get some football time.

As for our opponents, Pacos, well, they finished fifth in the Primeira Liga last season and have a win and a loss in their two league games to date in the current campaign.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

For those new to this competition (which is all of us), a quick reminder of what the Europa Conference League actually is.  This UEFA  format comes in as a new tournament, running alongside the pre-existing Champions League and Europa League competitions.   Reason: UEFA want to allow more clubs to play European football, so they have introduced this new format (which some call the Europa Failure Conference League).

The group stages of the newly-formed competition start in September, with the knockouts getting underway in March and the final in May. ‘The new UEFA club competition makes UEFA’s club competitions more inclusive than ever before,’ UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin said of the tournament.  ‘There will be more matches for more clubs, with more associations represented in the group stages.’ 

Team news

Kane won’t be travelling for this match, probably finalising his transfer to City. In addition to Kane not going, Tanguy Ndombele’s absence continues, having been left out of the squad, alongside Serge Aurier. Ryan Sessegnon has also stepped up his recovery from injury in an U23s encounter against Chelsea, but he also won’t be involved.  However, new signing Cristian Romero made his debut with a brief cameo against City and could be involved again, while Bryan Gil could also feature.

Giovani Lo Celso could be brought into the starting lineup, but Son  is likely to keep his position down the middle of the attack

Last couple of games for both teams

Pacos de Ferreira Europa Conference League form:

WL

Pacos de Ferreira form (all competitions):

DWWLL

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions):

W

My possible starting lineup:

Gollini; Doherty, Romero, Dier, Davies; Winks, Skipp, Lo Celso; Bergwijn, Son (or maybe Scarlett), Gil

My prediction

4-1

Thoughts

This will be a challenging game to call as nobody is sure what sort of team our new coach will put out (even though I’ve had a stab in the dark at guessing). We also must remember that we face Nuno’s old club on Sunday, and I have no doubt he wants to impress. But if we can’t easily dispense with Paços de Ferreira, then we are seriously in trouble.

Some journalists have said that we should easily get to the final (of this second rate competition), but as we all know, especially where Spurs are concerned, nothing is easy. But we’ve got a new and unknown coach, so hope for the best but secretly prepare for the worse (as it has been part of some fans custom for many years).

Be safe, Glenn

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