Panathinaikos v Tottenham: The view from Greece
Greece’s top two sides face English opposition this week in what could prove to be a pivotal few days for Hellenic football.
Following Olympiakos’ match with Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday, it is the turn of Panathinaikos to take on north London opposition.
Out-of-form Panathinaikos play a Tottenham side that impressively beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday. We get the view from Greece on the fixture…
Panathinaikos v Tottenham (Thursday, 18:00 – Europa League Group J)
Jesualdo Ferreira’s side will be aiming to replicate PAOK’s impressive performance against Tottenham from last season’s Europa League when they travel to Athens this Thursday.
Spurs were defeated on their own patch by PAOK last season after then-manager Harry Redknapp opted to field a weakened team. While Andre Villas-Boas will be cautious about making a similar mistake, if Pana’s recent performances are anything to go by Spurs won’t find many problems against the Athens outfit.
Villas-Boas will be able to relate to and have sympathy for his fellow countryman Ferreira after the Portuguese’s team were booed off the pitch following Sunday’s stalemate at home to high-flying Asteras Tripoli. The Greens are currently lingering just above the relegation zone in the Super League, in what has been a majorly disappointing start to their league campaign.
The biggest problem Panathinaikos currently face is their lack of goals. Since the start of the season, they have netted just 3 goals in 8 games – 1 penalty and two from defenders. Without injured top scorer Sebastian Leto, there is a void yet to have been filled.
Pana’s ball distribution is another weak-link which Tottenham will be able to exploit and in recent games defensive midfielder Vitolo has done a meagre job of protecting the shakey-looking Panathinaikos back four.
In terms of attacking talent, former Arsenal starlet Quincy Owusu-Abeyie once had a trial at Tottenham in 2009 and he’ll be out to show the north Londoners what they missed out on. Quincy, along with on-loan team mate Ibrahim Sissoko, possess blistering pace and are players who could cause the Spurs defence some trouble.
Key Player: Jean Alain-Boumsong – Ex-Newcastle centre back Boumsong knows all about English football and will need to be on top of his game against the likes of Jermaine Defoe and Gylfi Sigurdsson.Tagged in: Europa League, football, Tottenham
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