Tottenham will be keen to improve on their Villarreal showing against Benfica

Benfica v Tottenham Hotspur, Eusebio Cup, August 3, 2010

Benfica 2.06; Draw 3.23; Tottenham 2.94

Tottenham’s penultimate pre-season match sees them head to the Estadio da Luz for the Eusebio Cup against Portuguese champions Benfica.

Harry Redknapp’s Spurs side follow previous illustrious guests Inter Milan and AC Milan who have contested the pre-season encounter in honour of the former Benfica and Portugal legend since its launch in 2008.

Spurs fans could be forgiven for fretting a little ahead of what promises to be a big week ahead of the 2010/2011 season. The final friendly of the pre-season campaign sees Fiorentina head to White Hart Lane on Saturday with the long-awaited Champions League draw the day before.

The most recent fixture saw Tottenham hammered at home by Villarreal with Giuseppe Rossi scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory. The Yellow Submarine kept the ball in traditional Spanish style and Spurs were picked apart in a game that suggested their European excursion may not be a long one this season.

Besides the Villarreal debacle, Spurs have looked solid in pre-season, beating Bournemouth first up and generally impressing during their tour of the USA with draws against San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Lisbon and a victory against Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls.

Off the pitch, “wheeler-dealer” ‘Arry Redknapp has been quiet and whilst Daniel Levy has angered West Ham there has been little incoming transfer action besides Brazilian midfielder Sandro who does not arrive until Internacional exit the Copa Libertadores.

This clash against Benfica should see Redknapp play a serious side together without the wholesale half-time changes that have been seen in recent weeks. Gareth Bale has continued his excellent form from the back end of last season and the likes of Michael Dawson, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Heurelho Gomes and Wilson Palacios will be looking for work outs after returning from the World Cup.

Benfica are exactly the sort of challenge that will be waiting for Spurs in the Champions League and they are full of confidence after claiming their 32 Portuguese title last season. Angel Di Maria may have departed to Real Madrid but there are a slew of match winners in Jorge Jesus’ squad.

The Eagles didn’t lose at home in the league in 2009/2010 and have class players throughout the side. David Luiz and Luisao form a solid central defensive barrier, Javi Garcia and Chelsea-bound Ramires the energy in midfield and Pablo Aimar can still cause havoc behind the strikers – as this goal against Monaco just over a week ago will testify.

Up front Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo will prove his physical qualities with the likes of Javier Saviola and Nuno Gomes capable of chipping in with goals. Other players to look out for include Portugal’s most impressive performer at the World Cup, left back Fabio Coentrao and Di Maria’s replacement, fellow Argentinean Nicolas Gaitan who made his name at Boca Juniors.

After the 4-1 Spanish lesson given out by Villarreal in their last game it is possible to feel a little worried for Spurs in this one. Benfica will go all out for the win and having beaten Sunderland and Aston Villa already this pre-season and smashing Everton 5-0 in the Europa League at home last season as well as beating Liverpool at home, when they turn it on they can be hard to live with.

101gg predicts: Benfica 3 – Tottenham 1

Total goals: 4-6 – 3.26.

Benfica 2.06; Draw 3.23; Tottenham 2.94

For more pre-season friendly odds, see Titan Bet.

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