Panathinaikos vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Quieting the shirtless Greeks

Shaun Botterill - Getty Images

For some reason, Greek fans like to take their shirts off. Spurs must win and keep them clothed.

Tottenham Hotspur are going back to Greece. You may remember the club's voyage to Greece in last year's Europa League, complete with shirtless Greeks, as a glorified reserve match, with Harry Redknapp playing just one first choice player and giving Harry Kane, Tom Carroll, Iago Falque, Ryan Fredericks and Dean Parrett all run outs.

This year's trip to Greece will be taken much more seriously, though. Andre Villas-Boas cares about the Europa League.

For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League we have to get used to playing in these situations, both physically and mentally. The overall objective is to get the points to progress in this competition.

Right now, it looks like progressing will require a result at Panathinaikos. After failing to win at home to Lazio, Spurs cannot take a zero in Greece.

With that on the line, expect another nearly full-strength team. It won't be a true first XI, with Andros Townsend a decent bet to come on, but everyone will be there. Brad Friedel is the only first team player who will not be in the team for the contest.

Getting a result against Panathinaikos shouldn't be too much of an issue right now, anyways. At least not with the state that the team is in.

Panathinaikos also lost their opener to Maribor 3-0 so they are off to a shoddy start in the Europa League and they aren't doing much better in the Greek SuperLeague. There, they have just one win in their first five matches. The problems aren't limited to on the field either.

The team's captain, Kostas Katsouranis, will not play. He was suspended six matches for insulting a referee and while that was just a domestic ban, the club has dropped the Greek international for what they have termed poor attitude.

Really, nothing is going right for Panathinaikos. That they play in the large Olympic Stadium, which will have thousands of empty seats and separate the field from the fans by a track doesn't help matters either. This will not be the most hostile of atmospheres that Spurs have ever walked in to.

If Spurs were going to get three points away, this one seems like a good bet. And as a bonus, it would upset shirtless Greeks and hopefully make them put their shirts back on.

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