Spurs Should Shoot Down Sheriff
Sheriff Tiraspol may be big cheeses in Moldova, but they will surely be biting off far more they can chew when they host a classy Tottenham Hotspur outfit on matchday three of the Europa League.
The likelihood of a one-sided contest is reflected in Coral’s odds of 8/1 Sheriff and 1/3 Spurs (4/1 the draw) and it will be another shock for the Premier League high-flyers following their surprise home reverse to West Ham earlier this month if they fail to maintain their 100% record in Group K.
Sheriff have dominated Moldovan football this millennium, winning the first division title in 12 of the last 13 years and they are also four points clear at the top this season.
And in fairness, they have had some fine results against some respected names in European football in recent years, including away draws with Marseille and Steua Bucharest and home wins against FC Twente and Dinamo Kiev.
They have not, however, looked much of a match for Spurs in their two Europa League ties this autumn. A point in Tromso was okay, but a goalless draw with struggling Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachlaka, a team Spurs made short work of in Moscow, does not bode well for their prospects tonight.
Even so, their Europa League pedigree suggests that they are not a team to be taken too lightly and we can be sure that Andre Villas-Boas will be warning against complacency as Spurs bid to sew up qualification to the knock-out stage.
The manager appears to be taking this competition very seriously, judging by the strong squad he took to play Anzhi last time.
Jermain Defoe, scorer of two of the goals against Tromso and another in Russia, will probably spearhead the attack again and is 8/11 to be on the mark again over the 90 minutes (3/1 first or last).
But the thing about Spurs at the moment is that they have goal threats all over the place. Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Paulinho… the list goes on and we can also add two players who couldn’t have expected to be playing so regularly when those star names were bought in during the summer – Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Townsend has done so well, of course, that he is now also starring for England, while Sigurdsson has also stepped up to the plate at White Hart Lane as well as helping to take Iceland to to the verge of World Cup qualification for the first time in their history.
And don’t forget Aaron Lennon, back in the squad after injury. The winger also knows his way to goal and 14/1 he scores first or last (11/2 at any time) is a tempting price if he gets a start.
This might not be a walk in the park, but Spurs should have too much for Sheriff, whoever Villas-Boas plays. 2-0 (5/1) looks a decent call.