Home crowd can spur Tottenham on to victory over Partizan
There has been some special Europa League nights at White Hart Lane in recent seasons; the likes of Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale often starring.
In a period of transition under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs now have other potential cult heroes in the gradually emerging Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and the terrific Harry Kane.
Should Spurs beat Partizan Belgade, which they are odds-on at 1/4 with Coral to do, they will secure qualification to the next phase of the competition.
Last time out, the north London side recorded a 2-1 away victory over Asteras Tripolis, with their top scorer in Europe (five goals), Kane netting the second. To break the deadlock, he is 3/1 and if he really gets into his groove could hit a hat-trick, priced at 12/1 to do so.
In the reverse fixture, Spurs came away from Serbia with a goalless draw, in what was a typically difficult affair, and in front of home support, it is hardly surprising that the same scoreline yields 18/1 odds.
When Lamela last scored, he bagged a brace; a feat which meant he became the second highest scorer in the competition for the club. To equal that or more here, the Argentine has odds of 7/1 against a team that has a goal difference of negative seven, and sit bottom of Group C.
Partizan, meanwhile, have lost their last three fixtures in the Europa League, since that draw with Spurs, losing 2-1 to Besiktas last time out. Their only scorer, with a solitary goal is Sasa Markovic, who is 5/1 to hit the back of the net in the anytime market.
Currently, Spurs are still joint-favourites to win the competition at 12/1 along with Sevilla, however, this may change when teams from the Champions League are entered into the tournament, and the knockout phase begins.
Eriksen will be crucial to Pochettino’s plans in Europe, if they are going to push on, though the Dane admits the players struggled to grasp the new coach’s instructions at first.
Speaking ahead of the match, Eriksen, who is 5/1 to break the deadlock, said :“I think we are getting better, we are getting used to his training and how he wants us to play in the games, but of course there are times when it doesn’t connect at all.
“Overall, I think we’re doing the right thing and adapting in the right way. You need to know what your team-mates will be doing, and that is an area we need to improve.”