Tottenham v Monaco: Fabinho the joker in the pack for dangerous Monaco

Fabinho is Jack's goalscorer selection
Fabinho is Jack's goalscorer selection
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Jack Lang fancies the Ligue 1 side to make life tough for Spurs, with their Brazilian star likely to play a starring role...


"Historically a full-back, Fabinho has been playing in midfield for the Monegasques, with astounding results: he has five goals to his name already this term"

Tottenham Hotspur v Monaco
Wednesday September 14, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 3


Tottenham

Five years have passed since Spurs last played in Europe's elite competition, so there is an understandable sense of expectation accompanying their opening assignment on Wednesday night. After the fireworks of their sole Champions League campaign to date - 18 goals in six group-stage matches - there is much to be excited about.

A change of scenery also occurs here: their home games will be played at Wembley. That will deprive them of the intimate White Hart Lane atmosphere, to be sure, but the news that this game is a sellout allays some of the concerns and, with so many of their players having represented England under the arch, there shouldn't be too much of a fear factor on the field.

Mauricio Pochettino was without Danny Rose for Saturday's commanding win over Stoke after the defender picked up a hamstring problem on international duty. There's a good chance he'll miss out here, too, meaning Ben Davies could be in line for another start. Further forward, Erik Lamela - the scorer of a hat-trick against Monaco in the Europa League last term - can expect to return to the starting XI: he dropped to the bench at the Britannia after a long trip with Argentina. Heung-Min Son may be the man to drop out despite bagging a brace.


Monaco

Radamel Falcao may have returned, but Monaco are a different proposition than they were when Dmitry Rybolovlev was bankrolling big-money transfers for players like James Rodriguez and Geoffrey Kondogbia three seasons ago. The approach in the market is now a touch more circumspect - Djibril Sidibé was their biggest signing this summer at €15million.

But that's not to say they're not heading in the right direction: Les Rouges et Blancs have made an exceptional start to the season, winning three of their four Ligue 1 games so far, beating Paris Saint-Germain a fortnight ago and humbling Lille away from home this weekend.

More significantly, they've shown great composure to even reach the group stage of the Champions League. Monaco had to dig deep to overcome Fenerbahce (4-3 on aggregate) and then triumphed at the expense of a strong Villarreal side, winning both legs to book their place in the competition proper.

With new signing Kamil Glik bedding in well at the back, plus quality players like João Moutinho, Fabinho and Bernardo Silva further forward, the side from the principality will be a big threat - both to Spurs and the other sides in the section.


Match Odds

Before the 4-0 success over Stoke, Tottenham's start to the season had been middling: they scraped a win over Crystal Palace and drew with Everton and Liverpool. But that performance suggested that Pochettino's side are starting to come to the boil, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli looking sharper than in previous games.

Spurs beat Monaco 4-1 in the group stage of the Europa League in December despite playing a weakened side (only seven of those who featured are still at the club). They also won three of their four other home games in the competition, so perhaps it is little surprise to see them as short as 1.748/11 to win on Wednesday.

But Monaco have come along way since then and have good recent pedigree in the Champions League, reaching the quarter-finals two seasons ago, beating Arsenal away from home in the process. Their current form - five wins on the spin in all competitions - also suggests they will be no pushovers here.

The draw is available at 3.9 and the away win at 5.79/2, but the smartest play may be to back them on the Asian handicap. Monaco +0.5 & +1.0 appeals at 1.9720/21.


Half-time/Full-time

Spurs have not been fast starters so far this term: in four games, their earliest goal has come in the 41st minute, with no others before half-time. Their impressive fitness tends to come into play later in matches, meaning they don't suffer too much with this tendency, but it does bring the HT/FT market into play: if you like Pochettino's side to win, Draw/Tottenham would be a smart play at 4.94/1.

Monaco's record is more mixed and there have been early goals in away games against Villarreal and Lille. But we can perhaps expect them to be wary in the opening exchanges of the group, so the draw in the half-time market could hold value at 2.1211/10.


Over/Under 2.5 Goals

Just one of Tottenham's four games has gone over 2.5 goals so far, but confidence among the attackers will be high after the win over Stoke. Monaco are also a mixed bag here, with a couple of narrow wins to go with more commanding successes over Lille and PSG. Overs probably holds most appeal at an odds-against 2.0421/20, but this could be a market to swerve on this occasion.


To Score

Kane finally opened his account for the season on Saturday and will be keen to kick on, meaning the 2.3811/8 available on him finding the net holds some appeal. Likewise, the 3.3512/5 available on Lamela looks backable given he netted four times against this opposition in 2015/16.

The real value, though, lies with Monaco. Sidibé curled home a fine free-kick at the weekend and could again be a set piece threat at 8.88/1, while Glik is a menace at dead balls and could be a steal at 9.89/1. But the main man is undoubtedly Fabinho. Historically a full-back, he has been playing in midfield for the Monegasques, with astounding results: he has five goals to his name already this term. Given he's the designated penalty taker, 5.85/1 represents excellent value.


Recommended Bets

Back Fabinho to score at 5.85/1
Back Monaco +0.5 & +1.0 at 1.9720/21
Back the half-time draw at 2.1211/10


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