Spurs are ready to face Russia’s Anzhi in Thursday night’s Group K Europa League clash and looking at current form, this game would have been far trickier if it had been played twelve months ago. Anzhi finished the 2012-13 RPL campaign in third place after challenging for the title for some time but after 11 games in the current season, they are the only side in Russia’s elite league without a win.
The Eagles are based in Dagestan and were founded during the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991. In their first year, Anzhi won the Dagestan league and after restructuring, began to rise up the newly formed Russian ladder until their first promotion to the RPL in 1999.
After relegation in 2002, the club won the first division again in 2009 and those two Championship wins remain their only significant honours, although they have been Russian Cup finalists on two separate occasions.
Finishing third in 2012-13 was their peak but the summer saw the departure of boss Guus Hiddink who was replaced by new man Gadzhi Gadzhiyev. In turn, Gadzhiyev has been able to do little but oversee a mass exodus of top players and in total, 19 men have left since the summer.
An entire first team has been lost with names such as Samuel Eto’o, Lassana Diarra, Igor Denisov and our old friend Willian heading for new clubs. As a clear result, Anzhi have plummeted to the bottom of the RPL with just six points from those 11 opening games.
So it may be a good time to play the Eagles but an away test at this level is always tough. However, Anzhi’s dismal start to the campaign suggests that a draw is Tottenham’s minimum target.