Gent v Tottenham – Ghelamco Arena at 18:00 live on BT Sport 3
Spurs face Gent in Belgium this Thursday in the first knockout stages of the Europa League. A lot will depend on the side Pochettino chooses to put out, but I think the visitors offer some value on the Asian Handicap market.
After a few excellent years for The Buffaloes, winning their first ever Belgian League title and making it to the knockout stages of the Champions League, this season is proving a bit more difficult.
Last year, Gent finished in third place but currently sit down in 8th. They are just one point off the play-off places though, so can break in to the top 6 and fight for the Championship via the play-off system used in Belgium. However, they will be disappointed by their below-par performances so far this season.
The Buffaloes group stage campaign was also a struggle, winning just 2 of their 6 matches, D2 L2. They needed a last minute winner in their final group game to book their place in the last 32 and set up this tie with Tottenham.
Spurs fans once again saw their side battle hard in the Champions League after a 5 year wait, but ultimately fail, being knocked out of a very winnable group.
The Lilywhites finished 3rd in their group behind Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen and now have to settle playing in Europe’s second tier competition once again.
Domestically, things had been going well for Spurs until a poor and lacklustre performance against Liverpool at the weekend, losing 2-0 (it could have been a lot worse).
Pochettino admitted after the match that the title was all but over following that defeat. The trouble for Spurs is that they don’t have the strength in depth that other top Premier League sides have, so when missing a couple of first team players, they struggle.
Tottenham will be without Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela and Danny Rose again for this one, but I still expect a strong starting XI. There is no Premier League action this weekend and Tottenham play in London against Fulham.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals
Tottenham come into this match as odds on favourites and justifiably so. Their defeat to Liverpool on Saturday was their first in 12 games in all competitions, winning 9 of their 11 matches prior to that loss.
Gent have lost five of their last 9 outings and have managed just four goals in their last 6 competitive matches. Up against a very strong defence they will struggle again on Thursday.
The Belgians have also managed just two wins from their last 5 on home soil and I don’t see them upsetting them odds in this one.
I expect a low scoring encounter, but Tottenham to take an advantage back to the lane.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Tottenham -0.5 at 1.86 & Under 2.5 goals at 1.88
Prices correct at time of writing.
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