Tottenham Hotspur have it all to do as they bid to reach the last 16 of the Europa League following a bitterly disappointing defeat last week.
Mauricio Pochettino fielded a strong side in the first leg tie against Gent, but Spurs slumped to a dismal 1-0 defeat against the Belgians, with Jeremy Perbet scoring the only goal of the game in the second half.
Spurs have been superb at White Hart Lane this season, but this tie will be played at Wembley. Pochettino's men were beaten by both Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen at the venue in the group stage of their unsuccessful Champions League campaign, but the north Londoners will hope to draw inspiration from a 3-1 win against CSKA Moscow in their most recent match at the national stadium.
The Belgians will be buoyant after seizing the initiative in the tie and Hein Vanhaezebrouck's side can be backed at 9/1 (10.0) with Paddy Power to secure their qualification in style with a win in London; a draw, of course, would be enough to see Gent safely through and the odds compilers offer 4/1 (5.0) that Thursday's tie ends all square.
Spurs were far short of the standard that is expected of them in last week's meeting but they are Paddy Power's 3/10 (1.30) favourites to claim a vital victory here, while the same firm offer 10/11 (1.91) that Tottenham win by, at least, two clear goals.
The hosts claimed a confidence-boosting 3-0 win against Fulham in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon, with striker Harry Kane notching the fifth hat-trick of his career, and Paddy Power offer just 6/4 (2.50) that the north Londoners manage more than two goals in this game.
The Belgians had chances to put the tie out of Spurs' reach in their home leg last week and Pochettino's men can make Vanhaezebrouck's side pay for that profligacy and turn the tie on its head by winning by more than one goal. Furthermore, they will take heart from Gent's dismal away record where they have recorded just one win in their previous eight games on the road in all competitions.
The north Londoners, who came up short in the Champions League this season, will be desperate for another crack at the competition next term and Spurs will be acutely aware that Europa League success offers another route back to the top table of European competition.
Furthermore, Pochettino's team selection in Belgium last week suggests that the Argentine boss is determined to see his side enjoy an extended run in this competition. Spurs have come out on top in each of their last 10 home matches in all competitions, winning six of their last nine by more than a single goal margin, and the north Londoners can be trusted at 10/11 (1.91) with Paddy Power to win by at least two clear goals against Gent at Wembley, especially given the visitors' lack of form away from home.
|Spurs (-1) at 10/11 (1.91) for a 2pt stake with Paddy Power|