OPPONENTS Anzhi Makhachkala (Russia)
DATE Thursday 12th December 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






With Spurs already through to the knock-out stage as group winners, this is a dead rubber for us.  And it is for Anzhi too, who are clear of Sheriff in second place to progress, so it won't be much of a game.

The only real interest will be in who AVB puts into the Spurs team.  Will he fill it with youngsters ?  He might have to at the back, with Jan, Vlad and Danny all out.  Will Soldado be given the opportunity to find his shooting boots in a game where the pressure is off ?  He has done well in Europe and may find it a boost to his confidence to get on the score-sheet.  Brad will get another record by playing in goal, unless Andre tests Jordan Archer in the first team.  Zeki will probably start at left back, with Naughton being given a chance to play in his more natural right back position.  In midfield, there is the possibility of seeing Lamela start again and he might be partnered in midfield by Nabil Bentaleb at some stage, as the youngster has been in the squad for European games this season and the club have high hopes for him.

Despite the lack of importance, I can see Spurs winning against an Anzhi side denuded of their major star players.  It just might be a bit disjointed with so many changes to the side.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur     2         Anzhi Makhachkala    0
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Vlad Chiriches (knee), Younes Kaboul (quadriceps) and Harry Kane (back) are all ruled out of the Anzhi match, but Danny Rose could finally return for a substitute role and Christian Eriksen could join him on the bench.  A number of development team players are included in the squad, while Emmanuel Adebayor has been omitted.

ITV 4 - 19:00 (live)

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If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
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Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
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Tottenham Hotspur  4 (2)                                                                   Anzhi Makhachkala  1 (1)
Europa League
Thursday 12th December 2013                                                                                                      Kick off 20:05
White Hart Lane
Soldado  6
Soldado  15
Holtby 53  
Soldado  (p) 69
Ewerton  43
Holtby (foul on Maksimov) 20  
Naughton (foul on ) 67 


Grigalava (foul on Townsend)  33 
Maksimov (foul on Dembele)  51 


Crowd :   23,101 Weather :  Mild
Referee :  Stefan Johanesson (Sweden) Assistant Referees :  Mehmet Culum; Daniel Gustavsson (Sweden)
Fourth Official :  Magnus Sjöblom (Sweden) Additional Assistants : Martin Strömbergsson; Andreas Ekberg (Sweden)
UEFA delegate : Alvaro Albino (POR)
Anzhi kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Match time :  90 + 4 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Anzhi Makhachkala : kit
24  Brad FRIEDEL (c)

16  Kyle NAUGHTON     
35  Zeki FRYERS
15  Etienne CAPOUE
  3  Danny ROSE  (43  Ryan FREDERICKS 46)

19  Mousa DEMBELE  (23  Christian ERIKSEN 65)
14  Lewis HOLTBY      

33  Erik LAMELA

  9  Roberto SOLDADO        (43  Shaquile COULTHIRST 78)

Unused subs: 
56  Jordan ARCHER
20  Michael DAWSON
54  Laste DOMBAXE
21  Nacer CHADLI

    1  Evgeni POMAZAN

  7  Kamil AGALAROV  (  4  Benoit ANGBWA 80)
  5  Gia GRIGALAVA     
  6  Alexsandru EPUREANU

  8  JUCIELI (c)
  Abdul RAZAK  (10  Alan GATAGOV 85)

20  Vladimir SOBOLEV
87  Ilya MAKSIMOV     

28  Serder SERDEROV

Unused subs: 
24  Ayodele ADELEYE
27  Mekhti DZHENETOV

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Gadzhi Gadzhiev
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  -
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Spurs completed their Group K fixtures in the Europa League with a comprehensive 4-1 win over former Russian glory side Anzhi Makhachkala, but the visitors gave their hosts a few scares along the way before Tottenham completed their programme with a 100% record.

For a dead rubber, with both teams already qualified for the knock out round, it was a competitive game and a  hat-trick for Roberto Soldado eased criticism of his ability to score goals and Brad Friedel was called upon to get Spurs out of some sticky situations at the back, despite a solid performance from Etienne Capoue and Zeki Fryers as our centre back pairing.

With Soldado scoring early on, he got his mojo working.  The first of many fouls on Townsend on the left side wide of the box gave Gylfi Sigurdsson the opportunity to whip the ball in with pace.  As it reached the middle of the six yard box, Roberto Soldado leapt above his marker Epureanu and glanced the ball deftly into the net off the far post to open the scoring after just six minutes.  But Tottenham had a scare in the fourth minute, when Lewis Holtby lost the ball on halfway and Anzhi broke, only for Zeki Fryers to do well with a challenge on Maksimov and Friedel completed the block with a save at close range, so the goal came at a good time to give Spurs some impetus.

With Erik Lamela having a starting role, it was a chance for him to show what he can do and he set up Kyle Naughton for a shot in the tenth minute that stretched Pomazan to a full length dive.  But just five minutes later, the lead had been doubled to 2-0 by the same scorer as the first goal.  The team worked the ball well to the left from Capoue to Townsend, who just kept the ball in with a high jump and good control, before feeding infield to Mousa Dembele.  The Belgian passed to Erik Lamela on the right and he jinked infield to slip a pass down the central right channel of the penalty area to pick out Soldado's run.  The Spanish striker showed what he can do by lifting the ball over the keeper, who was going to ground and Spurs were almost away before the game had really got going.

Having established a two goal lead, it was strange to see Lewis Holtby go sliding into a tackle on Maksimov, who was going nowhere by the touchline and the crowd drew in a deep gasp, with the fear that the referee wouldn't like it ... and they were right, with a yellow card coming out for our midfielder.  Not that Anzhi were shrinking violets, putting in some "rugged" tackles on our wingers and getting away with them for quite a while.  At one point, the Anzhi defenders were so intent on player rather than ball that Townsend and Soldado were pinned into a small space on the left wing, but managed to manoeuvre out of it with good skill, although the move came to nothing in the end.   On the ahlf hour, Townsend stood up a cross into the six yard box for Sigurdsson to head at goal, but he jumped a little too soon and was on his way down when he met it, leaving him unable to get much power behind it and it drifted wide.

Although not a natural central defender, Capoue looked the part, eating up the ground with his leggy running style and it came in handy just a few minutes later, when Maksimov was away and he managed to get back and wrap a leg around to knock the ball away from the Russian as he looked to shoot from around the edge of the area.   Such élan could not be applied to Grigalava, who took out Townsend.  The Anzhi defender looked like a villain in a  Superman movie (I'm thinking Non in I and II) and was the size of one too.  The crowning moment when he knew he was crushed by the superpower possessed by Andros Townsend in the second half was when the Spurs winger got the ball on the halfway line for the nth time and the defender suddenly lost a foot in height as he shrunk into himself, beaten down by being fleeced by Andros' speed.

When Holby's cross was played in with pace, the keeper could only succeed in punching it against Lamela and the ball rebounded towards goal, where Agalarov was stationed and e kicked the ball away from in front of the goal.  Then Gylfi's ball through found Townsend in acres of space on the left and he raced in on goal, but perhaps his final touch took the ball too close to the advancing Pomazan and although he dinked the ball over him, it floated wide of the right hand upright and the chance to go 3-0 up was lost.  That was in the 41st minute and three minutes later, Anzhi had pulled a goal back, just before half-time.  A header from way out by Jucieli, on the penalty spot, had o be tipped over by Brad and from the corner, the ball landed in the six yard box and then in the Tottenham net, after Ewerton volleyed in with an outstretched leg.

It wasn't the ideal way to enter the half time break and even though Alan Mullery's bawdy tales of how it used to be in Europe raised a laugh, we hoped that Spurs would go on to be convincing winners.  And they were in the end, but it was still more of a test than perhaps our other games have been.  With Danny Rose rested at the break, Ryan Fredericks came on for a rare appearance ... his first since 2011.  He went in at right back and Naughton moved to left back, perhaps as practice for Sunday's game with Liverpool, if Jan Vertonghen shouldn't be fit.  But within eight minutes of the restart, Lewis Holtby had taken a very well controlled finish to put Spurs further ahead.  The move started in our Right back position, close to the dead ball line, when Mousa Dembele won possession and then shrugged off a weak challenge to regain the ball.  He moved it up to Gylfi Sigurdsson, who played it wide to Townsend on the right wing.  Checking inside his man, he produced a chipped cross into the middle of the box and Lewis took the ball under control with his first touch and then, with his second before the ball hit the floor, guided a volley over the keeper as he came to him from behind the midfielder and past the past defender into the goal.  It was a fine piece of skill and his Klinsmann dive was matched by the quality of the goal. 

So, any psychological benefit of a goal just before half time was lost for Anzhi.  But they pressed on and Friedel had to be out quickly to take the ball off Sobolev's feet, before Soldado glanced a header on Fredericks' right wing cross on target, but the keeper saved it easily.   Christian Eriksen made his return form injury, coming on for Dembele and Spurs continued to go for more goals, with Townsend coming infield to shoot way over the bar, before Fredericks' pace proved too much for the Anzhi defence.

Tottenham had already had about four shouts for handball in the area, but Ryan's run was quick and threatening, ending with him falling under challenge from Jucieli.  At first there was no decision from the referee, but when Fredericks pleaded with the additional assistant behind the goal, who was right in front of the incident, the ref pointed to the spot and it was left for Soldado to convert the spot-kick, curling it away from the keeper's dive as he guessed to go to his right.  A hat-trick was just what Roberto will have needed to keep people off his back.  And the speed at which the substitute had burst into the area showed what the Spanish forward can do, should a defender dive in to tackle.  And the full back was enjoying himself, making another run and cross for Lamela to head at goal and Pomazan being forced to tip the ball over the bar.

The Russians still wanted to give their handful of fans who made the trip (about 28) something to shout about and Sobolev produced a slow shot to Brad's left that he had to get down to smartly to keep out and then the Anzhi goalie was diving to his left at full length to keep out a 30 yard pile-driver from Holtby.  Taking the chance to rest Soldado, AVB brought on Shaquile Coulthirst for his first team debut and the forward was lively, almost getting a couple of chances to go for goal in his time on the pitch.  A corner from Sigurdsson almost fell for him at the near post and he took on three players close to the line in the area on our left side, before the ball got away from him. 

However, Friedel had to make a double save to keep the score-line 4-1 in our favour, as Burmistrov burst through the middle and hit a powerful drive which the Spurs keeper beat out, but the ball went back to the Anzhi midfielder and his second effort was aimed higher into the top of the goal, but Brad had got up and pushed away the second effort to keep the Russians out. 

The game ended with Spurs having the last effort, as Eriksen played the ball into Lamela, whose low shot was pushed aside by Pomazan, who had a busy night.

So, the game ended with victory, giving Spurs six out of six in their group and finishing top by ten points and having scored 15 goals.  It was a shame they let two in, both at home, but being top allows them a second leg at home in the Round of 32 and  a chance of avoiding some of the better teams who dropped out of the Champions League.  However, we can still draw the likes of Porto, Juventus, Ajax and Lazio, who are still in the Europa League, in the draw on Monday.

James Martindale


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Other scores during this round of matches :
Group A
St. Gallen (SWI) 1 Swansea City 1 Thursday
Valencia (SPA) 1 Kubar Krasnador (RUS) 1 Thursday
Group B
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group C
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group D
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group E
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group F
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group G
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group H
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group I
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group J
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
- (-) - - (-) - Thursday
Group K
FC Sheriff (MOL) 2 Tromso IL (NOR) 0 Thursday
Group L
Zulte Waregem (BEL) 0 Rubin Kazan (RUS) 2 Thursday
SK Marinor (SLO) 2 Wigan Atheltic 1 Thursday





Europa League Group K Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Tottenham Hotspur 6 6 0 0 15 2 15 +13
2 Anzhi Machachkala 6 2 2 2 4 7 8 -3
3 FC Sheriff 6 1 3 2 5 6 6 -3
4 IL Tromso 6 0 1 5 1 10 1 -9

Position before match :  1st
Position after match :   1st


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