Spurs under 19’s versus PAOK: (match preview)
On Tuesday afternoon our under 19’s will take on Greek side PAOK in the last 16, play off round of this seasons UEFA youth league. After finishing as runners up in their group, Spurs were drawn against one of the teams (PAOK) who have qualified for this round from the domestic path of the competition. Matt Wells‘ under 19 side flew out to Thessaloniki in Greece on Monday, ahead of the match at the Toumba Stadium, the 29,000 seater ground that PAOK’s first team play their home matches in. After qualifying from a group which contained Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSV the young Spurs lads will fancy their chances of overcoming today’s opposition and progressing to the last 16 round (proper). PAOK are one of the biggest teams in Greek football and while I don’t know an awful lot about their youth team, I have been doing my research on their under 19 side since the draw for the play off round was made back in December. Managed by Theocharis Komsis, the Greek club overcame AEL Limassol and FC Minsk to progress to this stage of the the competition. Their side is made up entirely of Greek nationals and a fair number of Komsis‘ squad have represented Greece at international level. PAOK like to play in a 4-3-3 formation but I imagine that they will lineup in a more defensive shape when they face us. Apart from their main danger man Antonio Gaitanidis another PAOK player worth keeping an eye on is tricky wide man Georgios Doumtsis who has netted one goal from four appearances in the UEFA youth league this so far season. It will be a fantastic experience for Matt Wells’ side to test themselves against a side who play a completely different style of football to them. It will also be a good experience for the young Spurs players to play in a big stadium, in front of what should be quite a decent crowd. Although we will be missing a couple of important players through injury we still have a ridiculously talented squad who will fancy their chances of progressing to the next stage of the competition. Tuesdays match kicks off at 5pm and it will be broadcast live on BT Sport ESPN. My in-depth match report will be out on Wednesday evening. I would like to wish Matt Wells’ side all the very best of luck for the game, I am sure that they will do the club proud no matter what the result is.
My predicted lineup: (4-3-3) Austin (c), Hinds, Eyoma, Lyons-Foster, Cirkin, Maghoma, White, A.Shashoua, Bennett, Parrott, Roles.
Subs from: De Bie, Binks, Walcott, Okedina, Oakley-Boothe, Markanday, Clarke.
Injured/unavailable: Jamie Bowden, Maxwell Statham, Jamie Reynolds, Jeremie Mukendi, Enoch Asante.
Doubtful: Phoenix Patterson, Dilan Markanday, Rodel Richards.
Previous meeting: N/A.
My score prediction: Spurs 3-0.
My one to watch: Greece under 19 international Antonio Gaitanidis has been an important player for PAOK in European competition, this season. The 18 year old forward is one of the Greek clubs main danger men, and Gaitanidis has scored three goals from his four appearances in the UEFA youth league this campaign.