Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tottenham v Rubin Kazan Europa League

The third match in the Europa League Group Stage gives Spurs home advantage over Rubin Kazan who are currently at the top of the Group 1 with four points, ahead of Spurs on goal difference.  Tottenham who have used squad and younger players in Europa league games will need to take this game seriously as Rubin Kazan will provide them with a stern test and any slip up could jeopardise their chances of finishing at the top of the Group.

Last season Rubin Kazan finished third in the Russian League having been Champions in the two previous seasons.  They qualified for the Champions League but lost to Olympique Lyon in the final play-off Round (2 - 4 on aggregate) and so dropped into the Europa League.  They won their first match 3 - 0 in Dublin against Shamrock Rovers and drew their home match with PAOK Salonika 2 - 2.  this match against Spurs is their first in European competition against an English team.  this is their sixth season competing in European competitions since first taking part in 2004 - 05.  In the past two seasons they have qualified for the Champions League Group Stages and were drawn with Barcelona on both occasions.  Last season they drew 1 - 1 at home but lost 0 - 2 in the away match to finish third in the Group and so went into the Europa League where they lost to FC Twente.  The previous year they had a scoreless draw at home to Barcelona but won the match in Spain 2 - 1.  Inter Milan were also in that group and Rubin also drew at home 1 - 1 but lost 1 - 2 in Italy.  They again finished third and so went into the Ruropa League where they reached the Round of 16, only to lose 2 - 3 after extra time to Wolfsburg.

In their last match against PAOK Salonika, Rubin Kazan found themselves  agoal down at half-time but two goals early in the second half put them ahead.  However, PAOK snatched a point with a goal nine minutes remaining.

Former Newcastle United striker and past team mate of Sebastien Bassong, Obafemi Martins now plays for Rubin Kazan and scored their first goal against Shamrock Rovers.  He scored in his first four games against Spurs and was on the winning team each time.  He is best remembered at White Hart Lane for a wonder strike for Newcastle which helped them to a 3 - 2 win in January, 2007.

Roman Pavlyuchenko has played against Rubin Kazan during his days in Russia, scoring twice from the penalty spot.  A former Tottenham player, Sergei Rebrov, finished his playing career with Rubin Kazan.

Previous Meeting with Russian Team
Tottenham Hotspur played Spartak Moscow in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, Luka Modrić and Tom Huddlestone scored as they came back from 2-0 down at White Hart Lane to draw their only previous match against a Russian side 2 - 2.

Injury Problems for Spurs
Harry Redknapp has injury problems in central defence and with the lack of adequate replacements may have to use first team players, Younes Kaboul and Bassong.  The only possible alternative would be to move Jake Livermore back into defence, a position he has played for the Spurs XI team earlier inn the season.  Carlo Cudicini will return in goal and Aaron Lennon and Steven Pienaar are expected to play as they have recovered from injury.  Pavlyuchenko will probably start while Jermain Defoe could appear as well.  Redknapp will probably have a strong substitutes bench to supply strength if the game doesn't go as planned.  Young Tom Carroll will probably start in midfield where he has performed well in the previoius Europa League matches.  Tottenham will be looking for a comfortable win so that they won't have to take too many of the senior players to Russia at the beginning of November.


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