Good day to you, Spurs fans! Tottenham Hotspur takes on nouveau riche French club AS Monaco FC this afternoon at the Stade Louis II in the second-to-last friendly match of Spurs' 2013 preseason.
Monaco is the very definition of a rags-to-riches football club, having just been promoted from Ligue 2 and with a new owner that has already poured millions of oil-bucks into his new side. Since taking over the club, Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev has added the likes of Joao Moutinho, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Ricardo Carvalho, and new club captain Éric Abidal, and has hired Claudio Ranieri to manage the side. On paper, they should already contend for the Ligue 1 title this season, and in the papers they continue to make a lot of noise, most notably for taking a stab at poaching Andre Villas-Boas away from Spurs earlier this summer. They're the new 800 lb. gorilla in France, and their goal is clearly to compete with Paris Saint-Germain for Champions League qualification next season. They'll provide a stiff challenge to Tottenham, and are clearly the toughest team Spurs have faced yet this preseason.
For Spurs, this match should provide an early pre-season test. However, it's still preseason, and as Stefan Freund said at Tottenham's official site, the club is looking more to just have a good performance after their trip to Hong Kong.
What should we expect from Spurs this game? As we noted before, Gareth Bale is not with the club in the French principality, which is probably extremely bad news for his transfer situation. We also really don't know who all has travelled with the squad to Monaco, so it's difficult to say who will play today. AVB is not known for fielding first-choice sides in preseason friendlies, so I'd imagine we'll get a combination of A- and B-squad players with a fair amount of rotation at halftime. I'd hope that we'll see new signings Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, and Nacer Chadli get some playing time. Since neither have featured in preseason yet, I'd also expect to see Younes Kaboul and Sandro get at least some minutes. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Milos Veljkovic get a run-out in defense. But this is preseason, so it's a total guess on who starts and who plays.
Possible Tottenham Hotspur Starting Lineup (4-3-3):
Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Milos Veljkovic, Younes Kaboul, Benoït Assou-Ekotto; Scott Parker, Paulinho, Mousa Dembele; Aaron Lennon, Nacer Chadli, Emmanuel Adebayor
Since this is pre-season, we really have no clue what we're going to see out there, so please don't hold me to this lineup. I'm totally guessing, y'all.
Game time: 6:30 p.m. Monaco time (12:30 p.m. ET)
Venue: Stade Louis II
TV: beIN Sport (USA). I'm sure it's on in Europe somewhere, but I don't have Kevin's European TV kung-fu, so I don't know where it's being shown. Sorry, Europe, you're on your own.
This is one of the bigger matches of the preseason, so I'm dead certain it's available for streaming legally somehow, but darned if I can find it. I'm sure there will be *cough* less reputable sources, but please don't post where to find them in the comments or anywhere on the site.