Tottenham Hotspur vs Ludogorets preview: Team news, ones to watch, predicted lineups, how to watch
ENFIELD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 25: Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham Hotspur during the Tottenham Hotspur training session at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group J stage match between Tottenham Hotspur and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 25, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur look to remain top in their Europa League group, with a victory over Ludogorets, on matchday four of the competition.

They currently sit first in the table on six points, level with both Antwerp and LASK, after picking up two wins and one loss in the opening three matches.

The Bulgarian outfit are rooted at the bottom of the group with 0 points, so Jose Mourinho's men will feel confident heading into Thursday's late kick-off.

Spurs won their last outing in an impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester City, so will be looking to build on the momentum.

Ludogorets, however, are yet to play a competitive game since the 8th of November, having had a cup match postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases.

  • Team News

Tottenham are set to be without centre-back Toby Alderweireld, but they welcome back Matt Doherty. The Belgian was withdrawn in the last 10 minutes against City due to a groin injury, while Doherty had tested positive for COVID on international duty. 

Erik Lamela is also expected to miss out, with a foot injury sustained on international duty - he also looks out of their London Derby with cross-city rivals Chelsea.

Harry Winks and Japhet Tanganga are doubts for Thursday night's fixture also, and Mourinho will be hoping the pair will be match-fit after both were spotted in training.

The injury to Toby, coupled with the ineligibility of new signing Joe Rodon, means he only has one natural centre-back to choose from in Davinson Sanchez.

Jose will make changes for the game, saying some players "have to play", meaning we'll see the likes of Ben Davies and Giovani Lo Celso, who have been regulars in the competition.

Ludogorets manager Stanislav Genchev has been hit with an injury crisis, largely due to COVID, there were fears that the match would have to be forfeited after unconfirmed reports broke out in a Bulgarian media outlet.

Besides Wanderson and Higinio Marín - who are out with a knee injury and broken leg respectively - Genchev will be without two key players, defender Cicinho and midfielder Alex Santana.

First choice centre-back partners, Olivier Verdon and Goergi Terziev, have tested positive for COVID and fellow centre-back Josue Sa is also unavailable due to injury

It will come as a relief, no doubt, that Bulgarian international Kiril Despodov has recovered from injury in time to make the trip.

Genchev stated "We've barely managed to complete our matchday squad- most of the players have trained just once." 

Having not played a match since the 8th of November, and numerous players coming back from quarantine, fitness issues will likely play a part in Ludogorets' depleted squad, giving Spurs a welcome advantage.

  • Ones to watch

Tottenham: Gareth Bale

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Following a flawless performance on Saturday, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son are likely to be rested, with Jose keeping one eye on the clash vs Chelsea this Sunday.

Gareth Bale was named on the bench, but didn't feature, in the 2-0 win so is a huge favourite to start.

His highly anticipated return to North London has yet to materialise in the form of goals and assists, however, after making appearances both in the league and Europe, his fitness is improving and he will be looking to kick start his season with an explosive performance.

Playing off the right-hand side, Bale will be looking to use his pace and power to take the upper hand against his fullback.

If he can prove to be a constant attacking threat, he will fancy his chances against a Ludogorets defence that have conceded nine goals in only 3 European fixtures this campaign.

The experience Bale has, and his involvement in winning trophies will be crucial to Spurs in their quest to win silverware this season.

Ludogorets: Elvis Manu

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Ludogorets will need to defend well as a team against an in-form Tottenham side so will be required to choose their moments wisely in attack.

Elvis Manu will be the outlet upfront for the Bulgarian side and he'll be looking to build on the hat-trick he scored in matchday two of the competition vs LASK.

He will look to use his dribbling ability to get away from defenders and cause trouble, his knack for drawing fouls will give his side opportunities through set-pieces.

He will look to link up with fellow striker Claudiu Keseru, who scored a double in Ludogorets' last fixture prior to the international break, if given the right service by players around them they are capable of causing the Spurs defence problems.

  • Predicted lineups

Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Hart; Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Hojbjerg, Winks; Bale, Lo Celso, Lucas; Vinicius

Ludogorets (4-3-3): Iliev; Ikoko, Grigore, Moti, Nedyalkov; Anicet, Badji, Yankov; Tekpetey, Keseru, Manu

  • How to watch

Tottenham Hotspur vs Ludogorets will be broadcast live from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on BT Sport 2, and BT Sport Ultimate, kick-off will commence at 8pm (BST).