SPURS begin their Champions League campaign hosting Monaco at Wembley on Wednesday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) looks at the game for us.
Tottenham v Monaco | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
Spurs return to the Champions League on Wednesday evening after a gap of five years and after what they achieved last season it’s everything they deserve.
At first glance I thought Spurs had pulled off a cracking draw when the groups were formed at the end of last month but in recent days I’m not so sure. While there’s no exceptional side in the section, it definitely has the feel of a very tough Europa League group.
The London club’s opponents tonight are Monaco and from there they then have to face Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow. All four clubs have shown flashes of brilliance in the Champions League over the years and it will be a test for Spurs to reach the New Year.
One worrying factor in the Tottenham’s campaign this season is that they have to play their home matches at Wembley instead of White Hart Lane.
The gut feel here is that it can’t be a good thing for the club. Perhaps not a negative, but certainly not a positive. Playing away from your usual home simply can’t be ideal and it didn’t do Arsenal any favours when they were in a similar position at the end of the 1990’s.
Onto more tangible assumptions and it’s hard not to be impressed with how Spurs have started the season. The North London side are usually still snoozing in August but arrive here unbeaten.
Draws against Liverpool and Everton are nothing to be ashamed of and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke were encouraging, especially Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Potters which exuded confidence.
These sides met in the Europa League group stages last season with Spurs handing the French club a 4-1 doo-ing at White Hart Lane. Monaco won just one game in the section and failed to qualify.
This season though Leonardo Jardim’s side look stronger. They’ve come through two qualifying rounds and had the beating of both Fenerbahce and Villarreal.
Domestically they’ve also been thriving with a 10 point haul from their opening four Ligue 1 matches good enough to see them sit top of the league. PSG have been amongst their victims as the likes of Fabinho and Joao Moutinho have began 2016/17 well.
While odds of 5/6 on a Spurs win are hardly poor value I want to take them on here. Monaco have made one of the most impressive starts to the season in Europe, boast more Champions League experience than Spurs and are taking on opponents who aren’t playing on home turf.
I’ll get involved with the 14/5 on a draw here and back the 1-1 scoreline at 13/2 with BetVictor. This might be an edgy start for Spurs at a ground they’ve rarely thrived at.