Europa League: Tottenham v FC Basel match preview

A look ahead to tonight’s Europa League quarter-final at White Hart Lane

As is the case for many managers whose clubs have progressed to the latter stages of Europe’s second most prestigious cup competition, Andre Villas-Boas is facing a difficult balancing act as the climax to the 2012/13 season draws near. Although his strong team selections throughout the Europa League thus far have suggested Villas-Boas, who triumphed in this tournament with Porto in 2011, is taking the competition very seriously, he will be wary that over exerting his squad may prove detrimental to their hopes of securing a place in next season’s Champions League. His side currently occupy fourth place in the Premier League standings, four points ahead of north London rivals Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

Tottenham’s quarter-final opponents, Swiss champions Basel, will be very familiar to English audiences, having ended Manchester United’s participation in last year’s Champions League with a pulsating 2-1 victory at St. Jakob-Park. In the first knockout round they even managed to record an unlikely 1-0 victory over eventual finalists Bayern Munich, but succumbed to a heavy 7-0 loss in the return leg. Sadly, Basel are now without the prodigious young talent whose performance catapulted them to that impressive win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s charges, midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who joined Bayern last summer.

Veteran striker Alexander Frei will be particularly keen for underdogs Basel to continue to progress in this season’s Europa League. The 33-year-old talisman, who has enjoyed two stints with the club, plans to retire after the current campaign and has scored more goals in European football than any striker still remaining in the competition, having notched 32 in 59 games.

 

KICK-OFF: Thursday, 8.05pm

 

PAST MEETINGS…

Tottenham and Basel have never met in competitive action.

 

STATS…

Tottenham are the only side left in the competition who have won this trophy before, lifting the UEFA Cup in 1971/72 and 1983/84.

At 41, Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel is the oldest player left in the competition. He is over six years older than his manager André Villas-Boas, and also has over three years on Basel coach Murat Yakin.

Basel are the only reigning domestic champions still in the competition. They have also played more European matches this season than any other surviving team (16), having begun their continental campaign in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

Basel have scored ten of their 12 goals since the start of the group stage after the 60th minute, including six between the 76th minute and full time.

 

ODDS…

Tottenham to win: 1.42

Basel to win: 9.6

Draw: 5.1

 

TV: Live on ITV at 8.05pm.

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all