Fiorentina v Tottenham preview: Hugo Lloris ruled for Spurs
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 18/02/16 5:10pm
Tottenham will hope to continue their fine form when they take on Fiorentina in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.
The two sides met at the same stage last season, with Vincenzo Montella's Viola advancing 3-1 on aggregate, Mario Gomez and former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah were on target in the hosts' 2-0 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Now with former Swansea boss Paulo Sousa at the helm, Fiorentina finished second in Group I behind the Sousa's previous club Basel and currently sit third in Serie A.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino's side topped their group ahead of Anderlecht and Monaco but travel to Florence having won just one of their previous five European away games.
This is the fourth successive season in which Spurs have reached this stage of the competition, the furthest they have gone in that time is the quarter-finals in 2012/13 before going out on penalties to Basel.
Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj is out of the first leg. The Croatian is suffering with a thigh problem but should be the only absentee for Sousa's men.
Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris has been ruled out of the clash with a shoulder problem and is expected to miss the FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace at the weekend too.
Pochettino will be without Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie (both knee) but will otherwise be at full strength for the trip to Italy after Harry Kane recovered from a knock sustained against Manchester City.
Fiorentina are unbeaten in four European games against English opposition (W3 D1), with two of those coming against Spurs last season.
This will be the 14th meeting between Spurs and an Italian side in European competition, the north Londoners winning just four previous games (D5 L4).
Three of those four wins came at White Hart Lane, however (Milan in 1972, Inter Milan in 2010 and 2013).
No side has seen red more often than Fiorentina in this season's Europa League (3), including one in their last away game at FC Basel for Facundo Roncaglia.
Only Omar El Kaddouri (5) has more assists in this season's Europa League than Son Heung-Min (4), while only two players (Raul Bobadilla and Artiz Aduriz, 6) have scored more than Erik Lamela (5).
Fiorentina have qualified from three of their last four last-32 knockout ties in Europe, including in their last two appearances in the Europa League (2013/14 and 2014/15).
Fiorentina are Sky Bet's 13/10 favourites to establish a first-leg lead, with a stalemate priced at 23/10, while Tottenham are 21/10 to take an advantage back to White Hart Lane.
Spurs are currently rated 16/1 fifth favourites to win the competition with their Thursday night hosts given a 25/1 chance. Harry Kane shares favourtisim in the first goalscorer betting along with Nikola Kalinic at 5/1, with the strike duo 6/1 to both find the net.
The Soccer Saturday pundits and Jamie Redknapp have provided their predictions, including Phil Thompson's 33/1 fancy for Kane to net first in a 1-0 win.