Five things we hope to learn in the Europa League tonight

Joe Cole And Liverpool Teammates

Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, and Liverpool are all in action tonight, what do we hope to learn ahead of the second round of Europa League group games?

Can Tottenham compete on all fronts?

Andre Villas-Boas has targeted a third away win in a row, following up victories at Carlisle and Manchester United. Panathaniakos are a different proposition for a Spurs side who drew their opening encounter against Lazio. The Greeks will be a tricky side despite their own problems at present, captain Katsouranis has just been sacked. They knocked out an under strength Spurs team last season, and AVB will have to resist the temptation not to over rotate. The side are struggling with a few injuries at present, but will be buoyed after the weekend's win, and this will be a true test of their squad.

Can Joe Cole kickstart his career?

Brendan Rodgers has hinted that Joe Cole could be involved for Liverpool tonight, after playing an hour against Fulham's under-21s on Monday and scoring. The attacker would add some experience to a youthful side, the question is whether his face fits at the club? After signing with the Reds in 2010 he has failed to make the desired impact, and this season will define his future. Whether it is as a starter or as a substitute, Cole will want to get back on track and make a positive impact.

How effectively can Newcastle balance their squad?

Alan Pardew spoke this week about how European success can help keep his big name stars at the club, but the side the club fielded against Maritimo resembled a reserve team. With Bordeaux visiting St James Park, Newcastle will be keen to put on a show against a French side unbeaten in their last five games. The worry hanging over Newcastle's team selection is the upcoming visit of Manchester United to the ground at the weekend, Word on the injury front is that Cabaye could be rested, but Simpson could return, while Krul remains a doubt. We will tonight truly see how seriously Newcastle are taking the competition.

Will Borini break his goal drought?

Fabio Borini is a man in need of a goal, and the visit of Italian opposition Udinese could be the perfect opportunity for him to do it. He was an unused substitute against Norwich as he recovered from a bruised ankle, but he is expected to get the nod to start tonight. Borini has just the one goal in nine games this season, which came against Gomel in Europa League qualifying, and Rodgers will be keen for the Italian to get back playing and get his confidence up. Udinese are no pushovers though, and he hasn't faced them before with injury preventing him from doing so on both occasions for Roma in Serie A last season.

Can Hugo Lloris pass his second audition?

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has been a much-talked about man at White Hart Lane, even though he has not been playing. It is his omission which has begun the discussion in the first place, with 41-year-old Brad Friedel preferred to the French number one. It is reported he is line for a second start tonight, after he featured in Tottenham's opening Europa League game. He kept a clean sheet at White Hart Lane against Lazio, and will look to do the same again tonight, and build his case to eventually usurp Friedel. A steady performance would be fine for now, Spurs simply won't want him to make any mistakes in only his second game, but he will be extra keen to impress.

image: © k1ngk0ng

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