Tottenham v Gent Betting Prediction | Backing Spurs with a -2 handicap at 21/10 with BetfairPublished February 21, 2017
On paper, this Tottenham side are among the best in the Europa League, but they head into the second leg of their last 32 tie with Belgian side Gent facing the exit.
Spurs’ last two games perfectly sum up Mauricio Pochettino’s side. The 1-0 defeat in the first leg was a frustrating game, with the North London side’s usually potent attack falling flat. The energy of Gent’s midfield overran them and they couldn’t get going at all. They then went to Fulham in the FA Cup at the weekend and everything clicked, with Harry Kane netting a hattrick. The trouble is, performances have been more like the first one in Europe this season, particularly at Wembley where they have struggled to express themselves.
The effect that the national stadium has doesn’t necessarily fall on Spurs, but rather their opponents. Often, the visiting sides up their game because of the setting, and as has been the case far too often this season for Spurs, they struggled to come into the games when not taking initiative from the start.
But they did at Craven Cottage, and with the pressure on when they lock horns with Gent again, they will have to pick up where they left off against Fulham. Dele Alli will have to get on the ball in more central areas than in Belgium and Mousa Dembele will have to get forward to support from deep. Pochettino will have to pick a strong team to break down a team who have already proven themselves to be organised and efficient on the counter attack.
Harry Winks played a massive role in the win against Fulham. His composure on the ball and close control allowed him to pick out key passes, finding Kane and Alli in good positions throughout. The key to doing so on Thursday will be to play early passes, whether Winks starts or not.
Another option for Pochettino is to switch to three central defenders. If that happens, Christian Eriksen’s impact on the game will grow as he will be given more licence to roam in field.
Tottenham Hotspur have the ability to ease through into the next round. If they flex their muscles, they can become a real contender to win the competition, but they must be wary of making the same mistakes as the first leg. Everyone is expecting the ‘Premier League’ Spurs to show up and there is definite value in backing them to do so here.