Tottenham v Wolfsberger AC: Austrians to go down swinging

Spurs forward Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale played a starring role last week

Spurs smashed Wolfsberger AC last week, and Kevin Hatchard anticipates another entertaining clash.

"Five of Tottenham's eight UEL wins this season have seen both teams score, and Wolfsberger AC aren't the type of team to just shuffle off meekly."

Back Tottenham to win and both teams to score at 2.45

Tottenham v Wolfsberger AC
Wednesday 24 February, 17:00
Live on BT Sport 1

Mourinho under fire despite cup success

Tottenham have a cup final to look forward to later this season against Manchester City, and only a monumental collapse would see them fail to qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League. However, the weekend's 2-1 defeat at London rivals West Ham means that Jose Mourinho is on his worst league run as a manager, a sequence of five defeats in six.

Mourinho has bullishly claimed that his coaching methods are second to none, but unless there's a swift improvement, Tottenham are in danger of missing out on European qualification entirely. Given the fiscally-cautious nature of chairman Daniel Levy, such an outcome would be seen as disastrous. Rumours linking the club with a move for the talented and ambitious Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann haven't just appeared from nowhere, and whether he likes it or not, Mourinho is under scrutiny.

Mourinho knows a trophy would alleviate the pressure, and he has taken the Europa League seriously from the start.

Spurs dismantled Wolfsberger AC in the first leg, with Gareth Bale playing a starring role as he collected a goal and an assist. The 4-1 win gives Spurs more latitude in terms of team selection, and the likes of Harry Winks, Dele Alli and Bale could all start again.

Plucky WAC looking to bow out in style

It's been quite a ride, but Wolfsberger AC finally reached their Europa League ceiling last week. A team that has beaten Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow in this season's competition had no answer to Tottenham's quality, although they had bright moments.

Veteran Michael Liendl has been one of the stars of WAC's campaign, and he struck home a penalty, while the Austrians also hit the frame of the goal. WAC will now look to put on a good show to build confidence for the Austrian Bundesliga, where they have won three of the last four, including an impressive victory at Sturm Graz at the weekend.

Mario Leitgeb could return to midfield after injury, but Eliel Peretz is still sidelined. Serbian striker Dejan Joveljic, who struggled to make an impact at Eintracht Frankfurt but has found form in Austria, could lead the attack again.

Spurs to win but WAC will attack

Tottenham have surely already won this tie, but they have a clutch of players who want to impress Mourinho and play their way into the Premier League XI. Spurs have won eight of their ten UEL games, and five of those eight victories have seen both teams score.

Wolfsberger AC have scored in all but two of their Europa League games, and they're not the type of side to just meekly shuffle off. I'll use the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi to back Tottenham to win and both teams to score at 2.45.

Bale to make his mark again?

Gareth Bale has endured a frustrating return to Tottenham, but he has had some bright moments in the UEL. The Welshman is 10/11 to find the net here, with backup striker Carlos Vinicius 5/6 (the Brazilian scored in the first leg).

On the WAC side of things, 35-year-old Liendl has scored five goals in six UEL appearances. He is priced at 11/2 to find the net.

Kevin Hatchard 2021 Europa League knockout phase P/L

Points Staked: 9
Points Returned: 13.63
P/L: +4.63 points

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