Thursday’s fixture between Benfica and Tottenham promises to be one of the more exciting of this round. With both sides heading in opposite directions at the moment, Benfica could be dubbed as the favorite to progress to the next round.
Last season’s Europa League finalists have bounced back quite well, after a disappointing end to their season.
Jorge Jesus’ side had the opportunity to claim the Portuguese League, Taça de Portugal and the Europa League, but they came up short in all competitions.
This season, they are top of the Portuguese League with a seven-point advantage over second placed Sporting CP. They are still involved in the Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga.
Having been voted the best team in 2014, Benfica are unbeaten in their last 17 matches across all competitions. They have also outscored their opponents 31 to nine, while they have only conceded one goal in their 10 matches in 2014.
They will be up against a Tottenham side that is battling injuries, inconsistent form and a lot of questions.
Their defeat at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea brought out a very direct and aggravated Tim Sherwood. The Tottenham manager was not happy with his team’s performance, and he has made sure that they are aware of that.
From telling his players that they are too nice, to letting them know that they are playing for a spot in the team next season, the pressure is all on their side.
Sherwood’s stern words could work in his favor, or they could go completely against him.
A big match at White Hart Lane with one of the competition’s favorites will make for a great atmosphere in London. Whether or not the players will be up for the challenge is a separate question, but if the hosts lose tonight, things could get even worst internally at the club, with an important North London Derby at the weekend.
Watch Tottenham Hotspur vs Benfica live on Thursday, March 13, 2014:
Full TV listings can be found on the Tottenham vs Benfica match page.