Tottenham v Qarabag: Spurs’ hunt for goals will go painfully on

The start of the 2015/16 campaign has been problematic enough for Tottenham, without the bother of the Europa League arriving to further throw the club off kilter.

Rotated playing XIs, disrupted training schedules and arduous mid-week travelling all make Uefa’s second-tier European competition a thorn in the side of those teams with top-four Premier League ambitions.

Thankfully for the Lilywhites, it’s the opposition that have the long-haul journey for the first group match of this season ‘s competition, with FK Qarabag making the 4,000-mile trip from Azerbaijan to play at White Hart Lane.

Nonetheless disruption is certain for the Thursday night fixture, as Mauricio Pochettino looks to give players yet to experience much playing time a run out.

Scoring goals has been a nightmare for the north Londoners thus far, with Harry Kane’s toils infront of goal a headline-making problem and a lack of quality deputy accelerating the problem.

It could be that the Argentine tactician leaves his young striker in the starting lineup in order to oil his scoring cogs, but it’s equally likely that Erik Lamela is preferred upfront.


Erik Lamela could make a second start of the season

Either way the chances of this being a goal-laden affair look bleak, with the Baku-based visitors keeping things watertight at the back in all competitions so far this season.

Scrooge-like figures of three goals conceded in 10 matches so far, coupled with Spurs’ own troubles finding the net, mean that 10/11 on there being under 2.5 goals in the game is the only punt worth deliberating over.

Six of Spurs’ 10 games in the Europa League last season ended up falling below that goal line and Celtic fans will attest to how stubborn Qarabag are to break down after their battle in the Champions League qualifiers.

Alternatively, back 11/4 on there being 0 or 1 total goals in the game at a better price, which has been the case in three of Spurs’ five games this term and in six of Qarabag’s 10.

Also, being a televised clash, any first goalscorer bets will be eligible for Ladbrokes’ Sharp Shooter offer*, while the bookmaker goes 5/2 from 2/1 that Spurs win and both teams score

*Double your odds if your 1st Goalscorer bet scores in the opening 25 minutes in selected live TV games.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.