Spurs face an away trip to Bulgarian Cup winners Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday night at 17:00. Should they win they’ll face another qualifying match, against either FC Botosani or Shkendija, and if they win that they will then play a final Playoff match before proceeding to the Europa League group stage.
It’s a little complicated but look, it’s football. They need to win their matches to stay in the competition and all matches, until the group stage, are one-legged.
Jose Mourinho’s side created plenty of chances against Everton in their opening Premier League match, but will they get that loss out of their system with a win here?
The market certainly thinks so, so let’s have a look at the 3 best bets for this Europa League qualification match.
Following Plovdiv’s success in the last round, beating Montenegrin side Iskra 0-1 away from home, their manager Bruno Akrapovic announced he wanted to face Spurs at home and beat them. Well, he got his wish and the club’s owner has gone as far as saying that he knows they’ll beat Spurs at home.
You have to admire the confidence and they’re on a decent run of form, winning four of their last five. At home though, they’ve won just two of their last five and failed to score in two of them.
Thanks to losing at the weekend Mourinho is likely to reshuffle his Starting XI and give some of his fringe players a go.
Of course they’ve only played one competitive match this season but adding some new players into a lineup that didn’t change much at all last season could create gaps for the home side to exploit.
It would seem that the home side are going all out here while for Spurs this seems to be at the level of a training match.
We’ve no doubt that Spurs will win but the home side could surprise them here and we think they’ll get their name on the score sheet at least once so we’re backing Both Teams to Score.
Towards the end of last season Mourinho was tinkering with formations, particularly away from home, switching between 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3.
He loves the 4-2-3-1 and has used it predominantly at the clubs he’s managed but it’s never really paid off with Spurs, the reason being that he doesn’t have good enough players for the two defensive midfielder roles.
As such, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was brought in from Southampton and he had a torrid first match against Everton.
The front players were good at the weekend though, in particular, Son Heung-Min stood out. He was unlucky not to get at least one and created a few chances for Harry Kane and Dele Alli around him.
Son has a mighty goal scoring record in cup competitions as well, he scored two in four FA Cup matches last season and five in six in last season’s Champions League.
Harry Kane usually gets most of the action in the Goal Scorer betting but we think there’s better value with the Korean winger here.
For all of Plovdiv’s bluster off the field about their chances of winning the match, the fact remains this is a Premier League club full of internationals taking on a Bulgarian side who are sixth in their league table after five matches.
Yes they should be sharper and more match fit but Spurs will be keen to get this match out of the way, qualify for the next round and prepare for their visit to Southampton next Sunday.
We think they’ll be comfortable winners here and the 1-3 scoreline looks like a good shout.
- All three of these picks into a Same Game Multi will give you odds of just over 13/1.
Tips for Lokomotiv Plovdiv v Tottenham on Thursday at 17:00
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