Tottenham v Antwerp: Spurs to gain revenge

Tottenham's only defeat in the Europa League this term came against Antwerp in Belgium, but Kevin Hatchard expects the London club to put things right on Thursday...

Tottenham v Antwerp
Thursday 10 December, 20:00
Live on BT Sport

Mourinho is winning hearts and minds

There aren't many things that will win over a fanbase more than a fine victory against bitter local rivals, but the weekend's 2-0 North London derby win over Arsenal has merely accelerated a process that had already begun.

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is currently appearing in the headlines more for what he's doing than what he is saying, and his pragmatism is being seen as an asset rather than a drawback, a symbol of strength rather than an anchor to restrict a talented group.

Of course, all of this could sour if things start to go awry, but there is little sign of that at the moment. Spurs are top of the Premier League by virtue of goal difference, they are still in the Carabao Cup (make no mistake, Mourinho wants to win that competition) and a win against Antwerp will see them reach the last 32 of the Europa League as group winners.

There is a desire for atonement against the Belgians. Spurs' dismal 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture was arguably their worst display of the season, the one that led to that picture of Mourinho looking sad on the team coach.

We can expect the core of the usual Europa League crew to be selected, with Lucas Moura, Dele Alli, Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius all likely to start. There is talk of a start for youngster Harvey White in central midfield.

Antwerp losing momentum

It's been a superb season for Antwerp so far, and securing qualification for the last 32 of the Europa League with a game to spare is a fine achievement. However, like many clubs, form is dipping thanks to a packed schedule.

In the Belgian top flight, Antwerp blew an early lead in a 4-2 defeat at leaders Genk at the weekend, and they have won just one of their last five league matches. On the road, they have claimed just a point from their last three outings, and they haven't kept a clean sheet in any of those games.

Coach Ivan Leko is expected to field a strong side, although Matheus and Sander Coopman are both sidelined by injury.

Spurs to win, and win well

Tottenham have won six of their last seven home games, including the last five, and all bar one of those victories was by at least a two-goal margin. Antwerp are a good side, but they were made to look better than they are in the reverse fixture, and they should be outclassed here.

I'll back Tottenham -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.02.

Usual suspects worth considering

In the To Score market, Gareth Bale finally delivered in this competition in the crazy 3-3 draw at LASK, while Dele Alli also scored from the penalty spot in Austria, and Carlos Vinicius bagged a brace at home to Ludogorets.

However, I like the look of backing Lucas Moura to find the net. He has scored in four of Tottenham's last six UEL games, and if he is priced at anywhere above evens, he's worth backing.





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