Ludogorets v Tottenham
Thursday 05 November, 17:55
Live on BT Sport 2
Ludogorets struggling to replicate domestic dominance
In the last decade, Ludogorets have completely dominated Bulgarian football. They won their first league title in 2012 and have won eight titles since. However, they haven’t been able to translate that success into positive results in continental competition.
Ludogorets got as far as the last 16 in 2014, and they have reached the last 32 on three other occasions, but they are struggling this term. They lost 2-1 at home to Antwerp and were beaten 4-3 at LASK in a crazy game. The Bulgarians were 4-1 down, but came roaring back, only to fall just short. Elvis Manu’s hat-trick was ultimately in vain.
The Huvepharma Arena is hardly a fortress. Ludogorets have lost three of their last four UEL home matches, and in the Champions League qualifiers this season they lost 1-0 at home to Midtjylland.
Stung Spurs keen to make amends
Tottenham’s display in their 1-0 defeat at Antwerp was a real shock to the system. It could have been a heavier defeat, as the Belgian side shone. Spurs didn’t take advantage of the wide-open spaces in the first half, and after the hosts shut up shop, they lacked the guile to open the game up. While Jose Mourinho’s “sad man on a bus” picture caused a lot of mirth on social media, his irritation at the display was genuine.
Spurs have since bounced back in the Premier League, beating Brighton 2-1 in an entertaining game. Gareth Bale was kept on the fringes by Antwerp, but he nodded in the winner against the Seagulls, and that could prove to be an important moment in his and Tottenham’s season.
Mourinho will want a vastly improved display, but he is still likely to field a team shorn of stars like Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, with a Sunday lunchtime trip to West Brom uppermost in his mind. Expect players like Dele Alli and Carlos Vinicius to get another chance to impress.
Spurs to get the win they need
Tottenham were surprisingly poor in Antwerp, but I don’t expect a repeat here. Ludogorets are used to winning in Bulgaria, but their home form in Europe isn’t exactly intimidating, and they have lost both of their UEL games.
I think Mourinho will have his players fired up here, and I’d recommend backing them -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.0421/20.
Goals likely as Spurs chase win
Tottenham’s games is this competition have generally been quite entertaining, and even in their 1-0 loss in Belgium there should have been more goals (Dieumerci Mbokani missed from a yard out). Four of Spurs’ five UEL games have featured more than three goals, so I can see why Over 2.5 Goals is priced at 1/2 on the Sportsbook. You could double up a Spurs win and Over 2.5 Goals at 1.814/5 on the Same Game Multi.
Bale to strike again?
It’d be a surprise not to see Gareth Bale start again here, and he is 5/4 to find the net, while the busy Carlos Vinicius is 5/6 to score. If Bale starts, back him at 5/4.
For Ludogorets, the in-form Elvis Manu in 4/1 to score at any time.