Struggling Panathinaikos need to win this game if they are to remain in contention for a place in the knockout stages, but that is easier said than done. Their opponents Tottenham arrive to Athens boosted by their first win at Old Trafford in 23 years and they now aim to record the first triumph on Greek soil.
Tough times for PAO
Panathinaikos have been on the major downtrend over the last few years and nobody is surprised to see the Greek giants struggle this season. Having done little to replace key players Giorgos Karagounis, Cedric Kante, Cleyton and Sotiris Ninis, PAO officials have nobody else to blame but themselves for team’s dismal start to the season. While the Greeks recorded a double victory over weak Motherwell at the start of their Champions League campaign, they were hammered by Malaga in the play-off stage and were very fortunate to lose the tie by just two goals. The 3-0 defeat to Maribor in their opening Europa League clash proved PAO lack the quality even for Europe’s second rate competition, so nobody really expects them to cause too many problems to in-form Tottenham. PAO are now on a six-match winless run and they cannot be trusted to end the barren spell against one of England’s top sides.
Boss Jesualdo Ferreira has no fresh injury worries, but Ibrahim Sissoko and Zeca are pushing for starting places. Nikolaos Spiropoulos is suspended.
Tottenham back on track
Tottenham chiefs were to blame for the slow start to the season as they decided to do most of their summer shopping near the end of the transfer window, but as soon as the team started to gel, the results began to improve. Players like Vertonghen, Dembele, Dempsey and Adebayor were always going to improve the quality of the squad, but everybody at the club will be delighted that the team have finally started playing to their potential. The 3-2 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford will be a huge confidence boost for the players, especially as it was their third triumph in a row, so Spurs can be forgiven for feeling optimistic ahead of the clash with PAO. The strong line-up and the impressive showing against Lazio showed that Andre Villas-Boas is taking Europa League very seriously, which is another great reason why you should back the White Hart Lane outfit here.
The Portuguese manager is likely to make a several changes to the starting line-up, but we can expect a strong side from Tottenham.
Panathinaikos are not only struggling in Europe, but also in weak Greek league, and it is more than clear they don’t have enough quality to match red-hot Tottenham. For the first time after quite a while, Spurs are fully focused on their Europa League campaign, which should result in another promising performance.
Our prediction: Away win
Odds: 2.10 (11/10)
Bookmaker: Paddy Power