Tottenham v Fiorentina, Pre-season friendly, August 7, 2010
With the Eusebio Cup safely in hand thanks to a mightily impressive 1-0 win at Benfica on Wednesday night, Tottenham complete their pre-season preparations with the visit of Fiorentina.
White Hart Lane will likely be buzzing with talk of Spursâ€™ Champions League opponents (the draw is on Friday) and expectationÂ should be great ahead of the first Premier League match of the season against Manchester City a week after the clash with the Viola.
After a more than credible showing on their US tour, Tottenhamâ€™s preparations for 2010/2011 took a turn for the worse with a comprehensive 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Giuseppe Rossi and his Villarreal team mates.
The Estadio da Luz on Wednesday night saw the type of away European performance that Spurs fans will be hoping to see this season. They soaked up a lot of pressure and hit on the break eight minutes after half-time with Giovani Dos Santos flicking a through ball into Gareth Bale to poke home.
Harry Redknapp may use this final pre-season game to go with as close to his first choice starting XI as possible. Ledley King came through 45 minutes of a Spurs XI match at Ipswich and the injury-prone defender is expected to start the Fiorentina friendly.
Elsewhere, the likes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric have continued their form from the back end of 2009/2010 this summer and with Robbie Keane out with a knee injury, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Roman Pavlyuchenko (scorer of the only goal at Ipswich) will be eager to claim their place in the side.
Like Villarreal and Benfica, Fiorentina will arrive with bags of European experience and know how. Although they finished in a lowly 11th place in Serie A, they were unlucky to exit the Champions League at the hands of eventual finalists Bayern Munich thanks to a stunner from Arjen Robben.
After losing Cesare Prandelli to the Italian national team, the Viola will be hoping Sinisa Mihajlovic can bring back the glory days to Florence. They have also been dealt a harsh blow with the news that Montenegrin playmaker, Stevan Jovetic, has been ruled out for at least six months after picking up cruciate ligament damage to his right knee.
Their one and only major summer signing was Artur Boruc from Celtic who seems set to battle it out with Frenchman Sebastien Frey. Besides Jovetic, their undoubted crown jewels are left winger Juan Vargas and striker Alberto Gilardino.
Despite interest from other clubs, most notably from Real Madrid for Vargas, both players seem likely to star at the Viola and will be the main attacking threats against Spurs. In midfield they also boast Italian midfielder Ricardo Montolivio and Adem Ljajic who came so close to joining Manchester United.
With Fiorentinaâ€™s season not starting until the home match with Napoli on August 29, we can expect Spurs to win this match. There are a number of players looking to secure a first team spot in what is a crucial opening few weeks at the club and Tottenham usually win their final pre-season match at a canter, last season it ended 3-0 against Olympiakos and in August 2008 they beat Roma 5-0.
101gg predicts: Tottenham 4 â€“ Fiorentina 1