Spurs under 23’s versus Athletic Bilbao B: (match preview)
Our under 23’s will face Spanish side Athletic Bilbao B tomorrow night at the Lamex Stadium, in their final group game of this seasons Premier League Cup. After recording a hard fought 2-2 draw with Norwich last week in their second group game, Wayne Burnett’s side know that they’ll need to pick something up against the Basque club on Wednesday to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition. After putting in a good performance against Norwich last Thursday despite drawing the game, Burnett’s side will be feeling confident that they will be able to get a result against ‘ Los Leones ‘ tomorrow night. Aritz Solabarrieta’s side lost their opening group game against Wolfsburg II before then beating Norwich at their Colney training centre. Solabarrieta’s side will have to go for the win tomorrow if they want to qualify from the group. Bilbao’s B team ply their trade in the Spanish Segunda Division B group II (the third tier of Spanish football). Like a lot of the European teams in the competition they will have had the benefit of playing against men’s football teams on a weekly basis. And the team from the Basque Country have been doing well in their domestic division so far this season. Solabarrieta’s side currently sit in 19th place in the league after picking up nine wins from their first 21 games. They have also scored the joint most goals in the division this season although they do have quite a leaky defence. Furthermore, they currently have the divisions top scorer in Asier Villalibre. Unless we decided to play Vincent Janssen for the fourth consecutive under 23 game then I would imagine that Bilbao will field an older team than us tomorrow night. With 23 year old centre half Gorka Pérez and their captain and former Spain under 17 international Aitor Seguín also 23, two of their more experienced players to keep an eye on tomorrow night. If the Basque club play anything like Villarreal B did when they played us in this competition last season with their quick passing game, then we will be in for a really difficult evening. However, that is what is so great for our young lads to experience at this stage in their careers.
This is an important game for our development side and they’ll really want to make sure that they get at least a point tomorrow night. I would imagine that we will field a similar side to the one which drew 2-2 against Norwich on Thursday. However, I do wonder if Janssen will play against Athletic Bilbao! I will be reporting on tomorrow nights match before publishing my report on Thursday afternoon. I wish Wayne Burnett’s side all the very best of luck for what will be a tough and very competitive game of football.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Whiteman, Hinds, Tanganga (c), Eyoma, Reynolds, Marsh, Oakley-Boothe, Tracey, Roles, Georgiou, Janssen.
Subs from: Austin, Tainio, Duncan, Bowden, Harrison.
Injured/unavailable: Jonathan Dinzeyi, Luke Amos, Phoenix Patterson.
Doubtful: Kazaiah Sterling (Possible first team involvement against Chelsea on Thursday), Dilan Markanday, Rodel Richards.
Previous meeting: N/A
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: ‘ Los Leones ‘ top scorer this campaign is 21 year old centre forward Asier Villalibre who has scored 12 league goals for Bilbao so far this season. The Gernika born striker has played in Atletico’s two previous group games in this competition.