UEFA Europa League 2012: Teams That Need Victories on Matchday 4
Europa League action will continue on Thursday with a full slate of matches. Just like the Champions League, teams in the secondary European tournament are entering the second half of group play, which means it's time to produce or get eliminated.
There are already some clubs facing crucial fixtures on Matchday No. 4 as they look to keep their dreams of advancing within reach. With that in mind, let's take a glance at three teams in need of wins to help improve their chances of reaching the next round.
Marseille takes on Borussia Monchengladbach, the club it's currently tied with for second place in Group C. The first meeting between the two sides resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Foals after a first-half penalty by Filip Daems turned the tide.
Now, the French side has to respond with a better performance at home. Marseille should be riding high after a league victory over the weekend pushed them level atop the Ligue 1 table and must find a way to translate that into an inspired offensive showing on Thursday.
The attack begins with Mathieu Valbuena, the team's most creative midfielder. He must find a way to jump-start the offense, something didn't happen last time. Marseille should expect Monchengladbach to sit back in search of a result, so aggressiveness will be key.
Which club is in the most Europa trouble?
It's been an interesting start to the campaign for Tottenham. While the Spurs have shown flashes of terrific play, they have been plagued by inconsistency, and their standing in Group J illustrates that. They are in third place heading into a key clash with second-place NK Maribor.
Tottenham has only been able to manage a draw in each of the first three matches, including a 1-1 result with the Slovenian champions a couple weeks ago. Gylfi Sigurdsson saved them from an even bigger crisis with a second-half strike.
On paper, the Spurs should be able to win the rematch pretty handily at White Hart Lane, but their inability to separate from overmatched opponents is concerning. An early goal would be a huge boost to Tottenham, especially after some recent struggles.
The surprisingly strong play from Ukrainian side Dnipro has put Napoli behind the eight ball as they prepare to face the Group F leaders. The Italian contenders are currently one point behind PSV for the second spot in the next stage.
Napoli's biggest problem has been at the back. The Partenopei have allowed six goals in their last two Europa League matches, including a 3-1 loss to Dnipro. They never recovered from a goal in the second minute from Artem Fedetskiy.
Now that Napoli's hope of advancing are starting to slip away, expect to see a starting lineup far closer to full strength than the last time the two sides met. The Partenopei must clean up the mistakes at the back and they should be in good shape.
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