Qarabag FK - Tottenham: Spurs face tough Azerbaijani test to reach knockout stages
Image source: sport.net

Tottenham Hotpsur will face a difficult task to make it into the knockout stages of the Europa League on Thursday evening when they travel to Azerbaijan to face Qarabag FK.

Superb Spurs

Despite a shaky start to the campaign, Tottenham have managed to come on leaps and bounds as they continue to look to secure their place in the top four of the Premier League.

They continued their excellent form last Sunday as goals from Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Kyle Walker meant Manuel Lanzini's late effort was insignificant as they cruised to a comfortable 4-1 victory over West Ham United.

The victory over the Hammers means Mauricio Pochettino's side are unbeaten in their last 12 league matches, with their only defeat coming on the opening day against Manchester United.

This has managed to push them up into fifth in the league and they are impressing on the European front too as they currently sit on top of Group J and are well positioned to reach the last 32.

Pochettino will be confident of victory here too having beaten their Azerbaijani opponents in the match at White Hart Lane, Spurs securing a comfortable 3-1 win in that reverse thanks to goals from Son Heung-Min and Erik Lamela.

Big fish in a small pond

It looks set to be another successful season for Qarabag. Having won the last two Azerbaijan Premier League titles, they look on course for a third as they currently lead the table by nine points and have suffered just the one defeat.

​Their success has meant they tasted the preliminary rounds of the Champions League and nearly made the play-off stages, but they were thwarted by Celtic which meant they dropped in to the Europa League, securing their spot with a 4-0 victory over Young Boys.

​It will be all to play for the home side as they still have the opportunity to reach the last 32 of the competition having managed memorable results over Anderlecht and Monaco.

Team news

Pochettino is expected to make a number of changes ahead of the trip to Azerbaijan. With Sunday's London derby against Chelsea in mind, it could give Andros Townsend a return from obscurity while Clinton N'Jie could be handed a rare start.

However, both Nabil Bentaleb and Nacer Chadli will not be making the long trip after suffering ankle injuries.

Very little is known about the hosts' starting XI but are expected to start with Sweden international Samuel Armenteros in their attack, whilst Brazilian Richard Almeida also provides a threat from midfield.

Qarabag FK will host Tottenham Hotspur at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium on Thursday, November 26 with kick-off at 6PM BST.

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