Unbeaten table toppers PAOK Salonika come to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening for a very precise, 8:05 kick off. Having taken full advantage of playing group whipping boys Shamrock Rovers twice already the Greeks are currently riding high with eight points whilst Rubin K and us have seven apiece.
A win and a draw should guarantee us a place in the next stage according to my maths but two wins would give us a good chance of finishing top and better hope of sidestepping the Champions League dropouts that will come tumbling towards us in the new year. We’ll need at least one goal fest probably though as the identikit 1-0 home wins between us and Kazan mean that we will be separated by goal difference if we finish equal on points with the Russians.
Harry will once more attempt to give the first teamers a rest before Saturday’s game against Bolton, PAOK look strong enough though to merit the inclusion of one or two perhaps. Though having said that, a team featuring all or most of Gallas, Bassong, Sandro, Giovani, Corluka, Rose (if fit), Pav, Livermore, Pienaar, Carroll & Townsend might well have enough to get the result we want especially if Defoe is added to give the team some bite. Breaking news – apparently both Pav and Giovani are doubtful.
A look at the Greek team’s website in an attempt to get an insight into their attitude to the game didn’t get far. There’s some teams news, Vieirinha is out injured but Papazoglou makes the game, hopefully not a relative of Papa Lazarou, that’d be enough to give young Tom nightmares.
The game is apparently our 150th in UEFA competition all told. Our overall record thus far is P149, W84, D31, L34.
For the Greeks, a win will be enough to take them through to the next phase so there’s plenty of incentive for them to put on a good display. We won’t I’m sure though take them lightly and despite them showing in the home game that they can be dangerous we should be more than capable of securing the win that’ll take us above them with only the trip to Dublin to go. COYS.
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