Punters can double their money by betting on Tottenham to beat Dinamo Zagreb in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 clash.
Spurs won the first leg 2-0 courtesy of two opportunistic finishes from England captain Harry Kane. Jose Mourinho’s side enjoyed 68% of the possession in that game, and had 12 shots on goal compared to five for their opponents.
All in all, it was a dominant victory for Tottenham, and they are highly likely to progress to the next round of the competition. There is no great incentive for them to win the second leg, as a draw or even a narrow defeat would be enough to see them through to the quarter-finals.
However, it is dangerous for any team to sit back and take it easy in a second leg clash, as they can end up inviting too much pressure and suffering a damaging defeat. Mourinho should therefore field a strong starting 11 on Thursday, and the odds on offer for a Tottenham victory look really appealing. Bet365, William Hill and 888 Sport all have even money (2.00) on an away win for Spurs, while Mansion Bet is offer 21/20 (2.05).
Dinamo Zagreb have been plunged into crisis mode since losing to Spurs last week. Manager Zoran Mamic had to resign after he was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for fraud. Damir Krznar, who joined the club as Mamic’s assistant last summer, has been appointed as his replacement, but it is a messy situation.
The Croatian champions remain in fine form in their domestic league. They beat Varazdin 5-0 at the weekend, a result that left them two points clear of Osijek at the top of the table, with a game in hand.
However, they were second best against Spurs last week, and Tottenham really should beat Dinamo Zagreb if they play to their full potential once again.
Spurs beat Austrian side Wolfsberger 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie last month. They could have taken it easy in the second leg, but they won 4-0, wrapping up an 8-1 aggregate victory.
Mourinho did field a second string side in that game, but Gareth Bale and Lucas Moura came off the bench to wreak havoc. It will be interesting to see what sort of starting 11 he fields on Thursday.
You would expect Erik Lamela to start. He scored a tremendous rabona against Arsenal at the weekend, but he was later sent off in that 2-1 defeat and he will be suspended for Tottenham’s next league game, so there is no need to keep him fresh.
Son Heung-Min was injured in that game, so he will be unavailable for selection. If Lamela starts, it leaves Kane, Bale, Moura, Carlos Vinicius, Steven Bergwijn and Dele Alli in contention for the remaining three places in attack. They are all superb players, and any combination of them should be enough to cause all sorts of problems for the Dinamo Zagreb defence.
Plenty of Tottenham players will have a point to prove after Sunday’s defeat to Arsenal. Bale was particularly ineffective in that game, but his recent form has otherwise been highly impressive, and he could flourish if given the nod to start.
Mourinho might also be tempted to start Kane. Tottenham’s progress to the next round is not guaranteed, and the manager really should take this game seriously. Spurs have slipped down the Premier League table over the past month, and they now trail fourth placed Chelsea by six points, so winning the Europa League might represent their best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Spurs are actually the favourites to win the competition, best priced at 4/1 (5.00) with Unibet, ahead of Man Utd, Arsenal and Ajax in the betting. Yet they cannot afford to take the threat of Dinamo Zagreb lightly, so Mourinho should field a strong team, and Spurs should win the game.
If you are unconvinced, you can find 1/2 (1.50) on Tottenham draw no bet, which could make a nice double with Arsenal beating Olympiakos at the Emirates Stadium.