Group C Preview: Tottenham & Besiktas aim for pole position

Beşiktaş fans

Group C Preview: Tottenham & Besiktas aim for pole position  [divider]

Tottenham and Beşiktaş are both currently first in Europa League Group C on five points, just one point ahead of third placed Asteras while Partizan languish at the foot of the table with one point.

Beşiktaş inflicted Partizan with their worst ever home defeat when they won 4-0 in Belgrade last time around.

Partian have had a torrid campaign and are yet to break their duck in the group, the Serbian side have not scored a single goal in three outings.

To make matters worse Partizan are without a UEFA competition win in their last 15 games, the last time the Serbian giants won in Europe was back in the 2009-10 Europa League against Shakhtar.

Beşiktaş meanwhile are enjoying a rich vein of form in UEFA competitions and are unbeaten in six of their last European games.

The Black Eagles have a good track record in the Europa League having made it out of the group stages on their last two attempts.

Slaven Bilic will welcome back Sosa, Mustafa Pektemek and most importantly right-back Serdar Kurtuluş.

Bilic started central midfielder Necip Uysal at right-back for the last two games, both of which Beşiktaş lost due to the absence of Kurtuluş.

Uysal was at fault for the last two goals conceded in the 3-2 defeat against Erciyes and for the Emmanuel Emenike goal in the derby the following week.

Bilic is expected to setup his side in an attacking 4-1-4-1 formation with two attacking midfielders Oğuzhan Özyakup and Sosa side by side. Alternatively Özyakup will be joined by central-mid Veli Kavlak and Atiba Hutchinson will sit in front of the back four.

Gökhan Töre and Olcay Şahan will provide width while Demba Ba will lead the attack.

The main injury concern for Bilic is the unavailability of Tolga Zengin who is injured. Cenk will replace the Turkish international in goal.

Beşiktaş will be desperate to return to winning ways and have the perfect opportunity against a Partizan side that have struggled in European competition of late.

Expected Line-ups

Beşiktaş expected XI: Beşiktaş: Cenk Atiba Franco Sivok Motta Veli Sosa Oğuzhan Gökhan Olcay Ba

Partizan expected XI: Lukac Ostojic Cirkovic Stankovic Volkov Pantic Zivkovic Markovic Stevanovic Lazovic Skuletic

Prediction: 

Beşiktaş 3-0 Partizan


 

In the other Group C game Tottenham also had an easy ride last time around hammering Asteras 5-1 at White Hart Lane.

Spurs could however, be in for a more tricky test against Asteras side who have not lost a home game in three seasons of European competition.

Tottenham have yet to win a European match up in Greece but are undefeated in their last three away games.

Pochettino has fielded a rotation team in his last three Europa League outings and that is unlikely to change with news that Emmanuel Adebayor, Younes Kaboul and Aaron Lennon were left behind.

Tottenham have great squad depth but the Greeks have a great home record and will not make it easy for their opponents.

Asteras are a well organised side, setup to defend and hit teams on the break, they have already pulled off upsets against Partizan and got a surprise draw against Beşiktaş.

The Greek outfit were however, fortunate at the Beşiktaş strikers profligacy as they were dominated throughout the game and could have easily conceded a few goals early on.

Tottenham should have enough quality to leave Greece with at least a point.

Expected Line-ups

Asteras Tripolis: Kosicky, Lluy, Sankare, Zisopoulos, Panteliadis, Munafo Horta, Mazza, Usero, Rolle, Tsokanis, Parra

Tottenham: Vorm, Dier, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies, Stambouli, Dembele, Townsend, Eriksen, Soldado, Kane

Prediction:

Asteras 1-1 Tottenham

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