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Preview: Skendija 79 vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League third qualifying round fixture between Skendija 79 and Tottenham Hotspur, including team news and predicted lineups.

Tottenham Hotspur continue their bid to qualify for the Europa League group stages with a tie against North Macedonian outfit Skendija 79 on Thursday night.

Spurs edged past Lokomotiv Plovdiv to reach the third qualifying round, while their hosts came through a meeting with Romanian side Botosani.


Match preview

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho pictured on September 13, 2020© Reuters

With 15 minutes remaining of last week's tie in Bulgaria, Jose Mourinho was left to contemplate the prospect of having to deal with arguably the biggest European upset in his managerial career.

However, that near miss could be the making of this Spurs side, who followed their comeback win with a ruthless display of finishing against Southampton in the Premier League.

While there is much work to do to improve a backline which looks far from resolute, Mourinho appears to have switched his priority to playing more entertaining football at the other end of the pitch.

Although Harry Kane's four assists for Son Heung-min will prove to be an anomaly, it was a reminder of the quality in this attack, one which can only improve with the addition of Gareth Bale.

As a result of being presented with a longer recovery period due to the postponement of the game with Leyton Orient, Mourinho will expect more of the same from his players on Thursday night.

Just like they did against Plovdiv, Spurs square off against opponents who have put together a strong run of form on both the domestic and European front.

As well as winning two matches in this competition, Skendija have recorded four wins and two draws from their opening half-a-dozen matches in the top flight.

Last season's third-placed side hold a slender advantage at the top of the division, and the performances of Besart Ibraimi have heavily contributed to his side's recent results.

The club legend has netted five goals from seven matches, two of which have proven to be pivotal strikes in this competition.

Skendija 79 Europa League form: WW
Skendija 79 form (all competitions): WWDWWW

Tottenham Hotspur Europa League form: W
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): LWW


Team News

Steven Bergwijn celebrates scoring for Spurs on February 2, 2020© Reuters

Mourinho is expected to make a number of changes to his side, including handing a recall to winger Steven Bergwijn.

Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Sissoko and Giovani Lo Celso will also expect to feature in the Spurs XI.

Providing that he is registered for the game, new arrival Sergio Reguilon could be handed his first outing in a Spurs shirt.

Skendija will be without midfielder Armend Alimi, who was sent off for two yellow cards last week.

That should see Valjmir Nafiu drafted into the starting lineup.

Skendija 79 possible starting lineup:
Zahov; Murati, Pavic, Bejtulai, Krivak, Nafiu, Dita, Ahmedi, Totre, Ibraimi, Doriev

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Doherty, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Winks; Bergwijn, Lo Celso, Son; Kane


SM words green background

We say: Skendija 79 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs can only have learned lessons from their near miss against Plovdiv, and that should benefit them on Thursday night. Although the home side have more games under their belt, expect Spurs to cruise to victory in North Macedonia.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals 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.Over 2.5:curl

ID:415507:cQx

Who will progress in the Europa League?

Skendija 79
Tottenham Hotspur
Skendija 79
0.0%
Tottenham Hotspur
0.0%
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