AHEAD OF THEIR all-important Premier League derby against Arsenal on Sunday, Spurs are set to rest several key players in tonight’s encounter with Shamrock Rovers.
On that basis, we are working under the assumption that they will field the same team that drew 0-0 with PAOK in the last round of matches.
So here are three key battles likely to have a considerable influence on the outcome of the game:
1. Roman Pavlyuchenko vs Dan Murray
The Russian has been out of favour at Tottenham of late, but he is more than capable of producing the occasional moment of magic, as this excellently-taken goal attests. Consequently, Dan Murray will need to deliver the kind of heroic performance that he been known to produce in the past for Rovers in Europe.
Pavlyuchenko, while occasionally emitting a Berbatov-esque level of disinterest, has an extremely powerful shot that has punished teams of a far superior standard than Rovers before. Therefore, Murray cannot afford to back off and give him space if they are to have any hope of containing the 29-year-old Russian.
2. Gary Twigg vs Sebastien Bassong
This battle is undoubtedly one that Rovers need to exploit if they are to have any joy against a Tottenham team that will still contain a respectable Premier League XI, despite it not being their first choice side. Bassong looked impressive while playing for Newcastle, however, he has failed to properly settle in the Tottenham side since his move there.
The defender is bound to be short of confidence, and Twigg, with his superior height and aerial threat, coupled with his wealth of experience, is surely capable of giving Bassong a torrid time.
3. Rohan Ricketts vs Kyle Walker
In his early Premier League days, Ricketts looked to be a footballer of huge promise. Clearly, he has failed to develop into the player that some people anticipated he might become, however the winger has shown in his few outings for Rovers that he still has enough in his locker to pose Tottenham considerable problems.
Walker, on the other hand, arguably represents the player Ricketts once was – a pacy, attacking threat with a potentially big future ahead of him. However, he is still relatively inexperienced, as he proved when his error almost cost Spurs a goal against Liverpool recently, so Ricketts’ greater experience against the younger man could be another area of joy for Rovers.