WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) has been in fine Champions League form this season. Here he previews Spurs crunch match against Monaco in Group E, realistically only a win will do, will they get it?
Monaco v Tottenham | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport 2
Realistically, only a win will do for Tottenham here as they enter game week five sitting third place in Group E, two points adrift of Bayer Leverkusen and four off their hosts on Tuesday night, Monaco.
Spurs were rightfully buoyant at the start of this Champions League campaign. Playing their home matches at Wembley in front of sell-out crowds is the stuff dreams are made of but it’s not worked out well; suffering defeats in both matches against Leverkusen and Monaco by one goal.
They will be looking at their final fixture against CSKA Moscow at Wembley in two weeks time as a win but draw or lose here and that will mean that Monaco will have already qualified and with Leverkusen playing Les Rouges et Blancs at home in their final fixture it’s likely that the Germans will take all three points against a side not needing a result and therefore banish Spurs to the Europa League.
Spurs will be glad then that they come into this game off the back of a win when defeat looked likely in the 86th minute at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening. Two late goals by the London derby master, Harry Kane, gave Tottenham the win and ensured they kept their unbeaten league season going.
Monaco are doing even better than their English foes so far this season. The Principality club sit level on points with Paris Saint-Germain in second place and have scored a whopping 39 goals in 13 games, 13 more than anyone else.
Goals are coming from all over the team, Radamel Falcao is in a good place again with five goals whilst the young Brazilian right-back, Fabinho, continues on where he left last season with an impressive five goals in 13 games.
Another youngster, Thomas Lemar, has also scored five. The pint-size midfielder only turned 21 ten days ago. Whilst striker Kylian Mbappe looks a brilliant talent at just 17 years old. It seems that youth is alive and well in Monaco then after they were pillaged of talent two seasons ago when losing Yannick Carrasco, Anthony Martial, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Layvin Kurzawa.
Valere Germain has been recalled from Nice after a good scoring season last time out and has contributed already. He provides a good foil to Falcao or Mbappe and this has resulted in the Red and Whites averaging three goals-per-game and heavy victories of 6-0 over Nancy, 6-2 v Montpellier and 7-0 away at Metz.
Defensively they are not as astute but the addition of Kamil Glik has been positive; the Pole had an impressive Euro 2016. Spurs are certainly the better team defensively but the North Londoners are still missing Toby Alderweireld, their goalscorer in the reverse of this fixture.
Alderweireld is the best centre-back in the division in my opinion and it’s no surprise that without him they have won just one of their last eight games and kept just two clean sheets in the process.
Spurs have scored just two goals in their four Champions League games this season; only Club Brugge and Dinamo Zagreb have less. However, they notched against Monaco at Wembley and also in both fixtures when meeting in last season’s Europa League group stage.
With Harry Kane back from injury and already firing and Monaco conceding over a goal per game in Ligue 1 I think a home clean sheet is unlikely but at the same time I struggle to see why the hosts are 13/8 shots.
Monaco are unbeaten in 13 competitive games at the Stade Louis II and I think Leonardo Jardim will be keen to get qualification for the latter stages done and dusted at the earliest stage possible. For those reasons I think the value is on Monaco at +0 on the Asian Handicap line at 7/8 with 188Bet. Essentially the same as a wager on Draw No Bet, just better value.
I’ll also back goals as they’ve been abundant in Monaco’s games lately and Spurs have lost their defensive nous with Alderweireld sidelined. Both teams to score is 9/11 with 888Sport, not bad at all.