A strong start to the Premier League season will see Tottenham Hotspur confident of Europa League qualification. Andre Villas-Boas' men are preparing themselves for the first-leg play-off round against Dinamo Tbilisi of the Georgian Premier League.
Spurs' professional performance in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace ushers in an era of major change. With players such as Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli putting on the white shirt, AVB's men have already bedded in well.
Dinamo Tbilisi are in a decent, if non-prolific, run of form. A weekend draw with Dila and previous win over Zestafoni sees Dusan Uhrin Jr's side fourth in the Georgian domestic league. While the season has barely begun, Spurs represent one of the toughest teams Tbilisi will face this year.
Where: Boris Paichadze Stadium
When: Thursday, Aug. 22
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET, 5:00 p.m. BST
TV: ITV 4
Live Stream: ITV.com (unavailable in the US)
Tottenham Player to Watch: Roberto Soldado
Spurs' new Spanish striker is used to playing in European competition, although most of his experience comes in the Champions League. The former Valencia player provided the vital goal during his competitive Spurs debut, netting a penalty in the recent victory over Crystal Palace.
Andre Villas-Boas is likely to call on his new forward for the trip to Georgia. Despite Jermain Defoe coming off the bench against Palace, it's important the Portuguese boss keeps his new signings working together.
Soldado's movement in and around the Tbilisi box will provide the English club with an insistent threat throughout the match. He rarely stays still and is determined to keep making clever runs, feed off attacking passes and to have a crack at goal.
He will need to be physically challenged, perhaps even with a man marking his every move.
Dinamo Tbilisi Player to Watch: Xisco
At 32 years old, he has been around the block. The veteran player helped Valencia capture the UEFA Cup back in 2004, with six appearances in the European campaign headed by Rafa Benitez.
Even with his credentials, Xisco is a player who could struggle against Spurs' dominant midfield. He is prone to giving the ball away and will become suffocated if his teammates fail to provide attacking support. His freedom will have a large influence over the entire tie.
Prediction: Dinamo Tbilisi 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
A packed home crowd will present Spurs with a daunting task. The Boris Paichadze Stadium, also known as the Dinamo Arena, will produce a cauldron of noise ahead of this important fixture, but the English side should be able to handle the pressure.
Andre Villas-Boas' side have already shown they are capable of grinding out results in tough conditions this season. Spurs' opening Premier League match underlined an outfit that is built on tremendous foundations but needs to improve ruthlessness in front of goal.
Dinamo will find it extremely difficult to halt the intensity of a midfield that has the pace and power to frighten every side on the planet. With players such as Paulinho, Mousa Dembele, Chadli and Sandro competing for starting places, this is an adept and complete squad that should prove too hot for the hosts.
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