Asteras Tripolis v Tottenham Hotspur
Thursday November 06, 18:00
Live on ITV4
As predicted in this column last month, Spurs comfortably saw off Asteras Tripolis at White Hart Lane, racking up a 5-1 win. Erik Lamela scored one of the most outrageous goals you will ever see, while the rapidly improving Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick. I like Kane, but I can't help feeling he'd get a lot more respect if he was Spanish, Brazilian or German. England's a funny football country sometimes.
Tottenham's first win of the group stage put them top of the section, but with the Greeks Asteras just a point behind them, there is still plenty of work ahead for the North London giants. Given the comfortable nature of Tottenham's win on Matchday Three, many observers are expecting Mauricio Pochettino's men to stroll to another victory on Thursday evening, but Asteras are a completely different proposition in Greece.
Asteras are unbeaten on home soil this term in their domestic league, and in the Europa League they have won all four of their home games. RoPS, Mainz and Maccabi Tel Aviv were all beaten in the qualifying rounds, and in the group stage Partizan were dismissed 2-0. Indeed. Asteras are unbeaten in their last 12 home matches in all competitions, and they have suffered just three home defeats in the whole of 2014.
Spurs have won three of their seven away games under Pochettino, but even the most ardent Tottenham fan would struggle to argue that any of those victories were convincing. In the Premier League successes at West Ham and Aston Villa, Spurs needed 90th-minute winners, and they scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 comeback win at AEL Limassol with just ten minutes remaining.
Spurs are without suspended keeper Hugo Lloris after he was sent off against Asteras at White Hart Lane, so Michel Vorm will play his first European game for the club. Younes Kaboul, Kyle Naughton, Aaron Lennon and Emmanuel Adebayor have all been left out.
Spurs clearly have better players than their Greek hosts, but this will be a stiff test. Asteras are extremely strong at home and are used to winning in Greece, and they have everything to play for. Spurs still aren't quite clicking under their new coach, especially away from home, and I just can't support them at 1.84/5. I think laying Spurs is a sensible option, especially as even when they do win on the road, they tend to take a while to get their noses in front.
Lay Spurs at 1.84/5