Spurs and Fiorentina set for tight and testing affair

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Both Fiorentina and Tottenham have been huge improvers on the domestic scene since they contested the round-of-32 phase of the Europa League last season.

The Italians are 11 points better off in Serie A than they were before travelling to White Hart Lane a year ago, while Spurs have collected eight more points and sit four places higher in the Premier League.

Should they carry on their respective upswings, both clubs stand to upgrade their Europa League tickets for Champions League versions next term.

For now though, they renew their rivalry in UEFA’s second-tier tournament for the second season in a row.

It was the Viola that progressed in the first battle, sealing a 3-1 aggregate victory with a 2-0 win at home in the second leg.

Only Hugo Lloris and Christian Eriksen remain as regular starters from that XI that lost in Florence, although Jan Vertonghen would be added to that list were it not for injury. Erik Lamela, Ben Davies and Nacer Chadli also linger as squad options.

In short Mauricio Pochettino has transformed the Lilywhites in a year, making their defence the meanest in England’s top flight and the club a challenger for the league’s crown.

A recent win over Manchester City at the Etihad proved the north Londoners’ domestic credentials, but battling one of Europe’s form teams this season provides another test of Pochettino’s squad.

Fiorentina sit third in their own division and have only failed to score in one game at home all season.

Their prowess in front of goal will provide an examination for Spurs’ backline, who tend to keep opposing goal tallies to a minimum, if not shutting them out completely.

The Londoners are in the middle of a 12-match streak of conceding no more than one goal in a game away from home.

It’s their stringency that makes under 2.5 goals in the game, at 4/6, the bet to place on the encounter.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.