Tottenham vs Wolfsberger | Wednesday 24th February 2021, 17:00 | BT Sport
Tottenham welcome Austrian outfit Wolfsberger to London on Wednesday night, hoping they won’t need to do too much to maintain their first leg lead.
Jose Mourinho’s men were comfortable 4-1 victors of that game in Hungary last Thursday, and were able to do so without Harry Kane. They’ll be keen to rest their captain once again here, with their opponents needing at least four goals to stand any chance of progression to the Last 16.
Spurs’ focus has to be on the Premier League right now. A 2-1 loss at local rivals West Ham – their fifth in six games – has done no favours for them, as they continue to plummet down the Premier League table.
They’ve slipped from top of the table after 12 games, to 9th in the next 12 – with only Southampton and West Brom performing worse than them over their last six.
To anyone that follows expected goals their dip in form comes as no real surprise, as they had been massively outperforming how they should have been doing, and this regression could be considered natural.
Even so, it’s a worrying sign for Mourinho; who has now accumulated his lowest points tally after 50 games in charge of a single club ever, trailing the 95 points he achieved with Manchester United by 14 points.
The only real bright spark for his side in the last couple of games has been the resurgence of Welsh international Gareth Bale.
When he joined on loan from Real Madrid last summer it must have felt like a ‘dream come true’ for Spurs fans, the prodigal son returning home to lead his former team to new glories.
Instead, it felt like a sour nightmare. Gareth Bale wasn’t the rip-roaring they remembered. He was slower, lethargic, and lazy, rarely offering anything when he came off the bench.
That wasn’t the case when he assisted the first and scored the second last week against these very same opponents, and it wasn’t the case when he came off the bench in that loss to West Ham at the weekend.
While it may have been in vain, Bale’s introduction sparked new life into his side – and it was his corner that Lucas Moura flicked in that looked like it might spark a Spurs comeback.
He’s 11/10 and 7/2 to register a goal or assist respectively in this one, and 7/1 to do both.
As far as the visitors are concerned, it’s difficult to envision a way back into this tie – even if Mourinho does ring the changes.
As poor as Spurs have been domestically recently, they haven’t conceded four goals at home since October 2018 when Serge Gnabry put on a clinic to lead Bayern Munich to a 7-2 victory. Weirdly enough, I can’t envision a scenario like that occurring again.
In fact, I actually wouldn’t be shocked to see Spurs extend their first leg lead and, given they’re a best price 3/10 to win the game outright, the bookies wouldn’t either.
That means I’m going to have to look elsewhere for my bets here.
We had a nice 4/1 winner last week with Sven Sprangler to be carded, but his odds have been slashed to 12/5 so all of the value is basically gone.
Instead, I’ve got my eyes on another 4/1 shot for the Austrian side, and that man is Dominik Baumgartner. He was lucky to avoid a card in the first leg, committing three fouls, and will likely have his hands full again this time around.
The Austrian centre-back has two cards in the competition already, and I expect that he’ll have to deal with the likes of Carlos Vinicius and Lucas Moura who will cause him serious problems in transition.
Speaking of Lucas Moura, I’ll be doubling Baumgartner with him to score (assuming he starts). No Spurs player has scored more goals in the Europa League than the Brazilian this season, yet he remains 9/4 to do so again against relatively weak opposition. The winger has scored in four of his six starts in the competition, including in the reverse fixture, and averages a goal every 118 minutes.
Tottenham vs Wolfsberger – Dominik Baumgartner to be carded (4/1 Bet365)
Tottenham vs Wolfsberger – Lucas Moura to score at anytime (9/4 Betway)
Tottenham vs Wolfsberger – Lucas Moura to score and Dominik Baumgartner to be carded*
*waiting for odds on the double, it’s 11/1 at 365 but not many sites have released odds*