Tottenham face a tough start to Europa League life as they travel to Serbia to take on Partizan Belgrade. Mauricio Pochettino's side know they will be in for a tough 90 minutes football at the Partizan Stadium, a ground notorious for a hostile atmosphere.
Tottenham have travelled without players Danny Rose, Younes Kaboul and Emmanuel Adebayor, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele. Kyle Walker remains side-lined so Kyle Naughton is expected to fill the gap at RB. Michel Vorm is expected to make his debut in goal while Ben Davies is expected to replace Danny Rose. Nabil Bentaleb, Harry Kane, Milos Veljkovic, Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon are all expected to start as Pochettino see’s this competition as the best route into the Champions League for Tottenham, as the winners get direct entry into Europe’s elite competition.
Partizan Belgrade are without striker Petar Skuletic who is suspended. Skuletic scored twice in the second leg of the play-off round against Neftchi Baku to send the Serbians through, but was then sent off late on, while their opponents had three men red-carded in the final minutes. Tottenham will be wary of Partizan threat Danilo Pantic, who is one of the rising stars of European football. The Guardian claim that he has already signed a pre-contract agreement with Juventus.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has praised Milos Veljkovic’s role in preparing for the game, speaking to BBC Sport he said, "We used his information to our benefit, Milos is a young and very good player and maybe he will have the chance to play. It is normal that he has information about Belgrade from his team-mates in the national team, he knows about the club and history. We use it - not too much - but we use it."
Partizan manager Marko Nikolic says his side have “nothing to fear” and feels his side’s atmospheric venue can intimidate the visitors. “Sure it’ll be tough, but if the fans support us the visitors will be weakened”
Tottenham should be expecting to bring back at least a point from Serbia, but Nikolic’s side will be looking to get a historic win.
Tottenham expected line up (4-2-3-1) Vorm; Naughton, Fazio, Veljkovic, Davies; Stambouli, Bentaleb; Lennon, Kane, Townsend; Soldado