Rubin Kazan v Tottenham: Gallas and Pienaar give Spurs hope
Tottenham Hotspur travel to Russia knowing a win will guarantee them a place in the last 32 of the Europa League – but they will have to do it without several first-team players.
Spurs are 16/5 outsiders to get the required three points and haven’t been helped by having several stars remain in England.
Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Scott Parker and Sandro haven’t travelled for the game, while boss Harry Redknapp will also be staying home following routine heart surgery.
The absence of their boss and key players isn’t exactly ideal for the north London side, but they will at least be able to welcome back William Gallas and Steven Pienaar for the clash.
Pienaar has only played a handful of games for Spurs since his £3million move from Everton in January and has missed the opening weeks of the season after suffering a groin injury.
He will be a welcome addition to the team, but it’s the inclusion of Gallas that should give Spurs fans cause to be optimistic.
The former Arsenal centre-back has bags of European experience having played in the Champions League for the Gunners, Chelsea and Spurs.
With so many youngsters in the Spurs squad, he will need to be at his best if they are to have any chance of upsetting the odds.
Gallas was brilliant for Spurs away to AC Milan last season though as they stopped the Italian side finding the net. Spurs can be backed at 3/1 to keep a clean sheet this evening.
Meanwhile, the biggest goal threat for visitors comes in the shape of Jermain Defoe.
Defoe has found the net once in the Europa League group stages this season and can be backed at 8/1 to open the scoring – the same as Roman Pavlyuchenko who scored the only goal of the game when these sides met last month.