Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Maccabi Haifa - prediction, team news, lineups

sportsmole.co.uk, 30 September 2020, 10:19

Tottenham Hotspur and Maccabi Haifa meet in North London on Thursday evening with the winner securing a place in the Europa League group stages.

While Spurs have been required to progress through two ties to reach the playoff round, their next opponents have recorded three victories in succession.

Match preview

© Reuters

While Jose Mourinho has long been aware that Spurs could face a punishing schedule this season, it has not prevented the Portuguese from naming strong lineups in three different competitions since the start of the month.

Although the North Londoners have not reaped the benefits in the Premier League, they were able to negotiate their way through to the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday evening with a penalty-shootout triumph over Chelsea.

Few first-team players were given the night off for the derby showdown, and it remains to be seen whether that will have any bearing on the all-important showdown later this week.

However, Mourinho is keen to build a winning mentality behind the scenes, regardless of whether his squad are pushed to the limit over the course of the next eight months.

Spurs are considerable favourites to prevail against their next opponents, but they cannot afford any complacency against a team who have won their last five matches in all competitions.

Despite no clean sheets being recorded during that successful run, Maccabi Haifa have had to dig deep on more than one occasion to get into this position.

Barak Bakhar 's side found themselves trailing to Russian outfit FC Rostov in the previous round before Nikita Rukavytsya and Mohammad Abu Fani got on the scoresheet.

Australia international Rukavytsya, now 33 years of age, has already scored seven times in this competition and Israel's top flight this season.

After two games played, Maccabi Haifa are the only team to hold a 100% record on the domestic scene, putting them at the top of the division.

Tottenham Hotspur Europa League form: WW

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): LWWWDD

Maccabi Haifa Europa League form: WWW

Maccabi Haifa form (all competitions): LWWWWW

Team News

© Reuters

Having been substituted during the second half against Chelsea, Steven Bergwijn could retain his place in the final third as a replacement for Son Heung-min.

Either Eric Dier or Toby Alderweireld should also keep their spot in the side, meaning that nine alterations may be made by Mourinho.

Despite being added to the squad list for this game, Sergio Reguilon will almost certainly be named among the substitutes, while it is unclear whether Dele Alli will be restored to the starting XI.

Barring any late fitness issues, Bakhar is expected to name the same team which began last Thursday's meeting with Rostov.

Tjaronn Cherry, who enjoyed a productive period with Queens Park Rangers between 2015 and 2017, will start in midfield.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:

Hart; Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Hojbjerg, Winks; Moura, Lo Celso, Bergwijn; Kane

Maccabi Haifa possible starting lineup:

Cohen; Mabouka, Planic, Menachem, Habashi, Arad, Chery, Lavi, Abu Fani, Rukavytsya, Haziza

We say: Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Maccabi Haifa

Given the quick turnaround, this game should prove to be far from routine for the Premier League side. Nevertheless, with the rewards on offer for the victors, we expect the home side to use their big-match experience to their advantage, even if it requires a strong finish to the contest.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that at least one team will not score (BTTS - no) in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.

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