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Tottenham Hotspur vs. NS Mura Conference League Preview: Boring would be fine

Nothing will be solved on Thursday, but a win is a necessity.

Stade Rennes v Tottenham Hotspur: Group G - UEFA Europa Conference League Photo by Aurelien Meunier - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

The wheels are completely off. Everyone knew that Tottenham Hotspur’s three straight 1-0 wins to open the season were a little bit of fool’s gold, but no one expected the next three matches to end with nine goals conceded and as many goals scored as red cards. As a result, Nuno Espirito Santo is suddenly on the hot seat just a few months into his tenure.

No need to belabor that point on Thursday. Spurs continue their Europa Conference League campaign, and with how their league fixtures have gone as of late, perhaps this competition is now worth their attention as it represents their best chance for something positive. There is still a long way to go, but these matches should no longer be written off.

Matchday 2 features a home match against Slovenian side NS Mura, the clear weak link of Group G. Mura has fallen down from the early Champions League qualifying rounds to the Europa League Playoff Round to an entrance into the inaugural Conference League. Their first match resulted in a 2-0 defeat against Vitesse in the Netherlands.

Tottenham Hotspur (t-2nd, 1 pt) vs. Mura (4th, 0 pts)

Date: Thursday, September 30
Time: 3:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport 2 (UK)

Tottenham has had plenty of troubles against lower sides in past Europa Leagues, but this one should come simply at home. Even though the club has endured its struggles as of late, there is really no comparing a club like Mura to Premier League competition. Things are rough right now in North London, but these fixtures still have to be gimmies.

Nuno should be able to field a very rotated side on Thursday, though it is possible he is feeling a bit of the pressure. Spurs ended up starting a fairly strong lineup against Rennes a couple weeks ago, but a visit to the group’s toughest competitor is a little different than a minnow coming to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Hopefully the reserves can keep this one straightforward and boring.

Three themes

  1. The clear problem for Spurs has been the attack, which just is not generating any sort of consistency. With no real striker depth and the same old cast of wingers, it is unclear what is going to change. Hopefully players like Bryan Gil can use the Conference League to gain some confidence and work their way into the starting XI.
  2. It really just feels like Tottenham needs a big win to prove there is something to believe in. Since beating Paços de Ferreira 3-0 in the second leg, Spurs really do not have any convincing performances, even needing penalties to take down a weakened Wolves in the League Cup. While no outlooks will significantly change even with a blowout, it would feel nice to actually have a good outing for the first time in weeks.
  3. Spurs have faced Slovenia clubs just twice before in European competition; they secured four points against Maribor in the 2012/13 Europa League Group Stage and beat Rudar Velenje back in the 1995 UEFA Intertoto Cup.