Europa League: Tottenham Hotspur vs Gent Preview


We preview Thursday night's second leg tie between Tottenham and Genk.

Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s Gent have given themselves a fantastic chance of eliminating one of the Europa League favourites following their painstaking victory last week. Spurs threw everything but the kitchen sink at them in the second half, but the Belgian side managed to withstand the onslaught and will know that an away goal will really put the pressure on Pochettino’s side. Spurs picked up a morale-boosting win in the cup that exemplified what they are capable of. A lot will depend on the amount of emphasis they are willing to put on this game with the all-important Premier League looming large this weekend.

Tottenham Hotspur vs Gent | Thursday 23 February | Wembley Stadium | 22:05

To Win (90 Mins)
Tottenham 3/10 | Draw 4/1 | Gent 17/2 

Tottenham Hotspur
I could not believe that he took off Dembele when he did last week. He was the best player on the field and Spurs lost all the momentum that they were accumulating when he departed the scene. It’s rare to see Pochettino make such a glaring misstep.

He will be glad that Jan Vertonghen returns to partner Alderweireld in the heart of defence. You could just sense the solidity he brought on Sunday. While I am a fan of Harry Winks, I think he has to opt for the Wanyama-Dembele combination in the center of the park. Son will provide width down the left while Eriksson will certainly come in.

Harry Kane tried valiantly last week, but was forced to just drop too deep to retrieve the ball. His hat-trick at the weekend - though admittedly against far weaker opposition - will hopefully give him the confidence necessary going into this fixture.

In reality, Spurs actually dominated the general play in the game, particularly in the second half of the first leg. Walker and Davies have to be bolder in Europe. I feel that Spurs change the way that they play in Europe too dramatically, almost as if they don’t trust quite believe in themselves on the bigger stage.


Gent will be playing on the counterattack this week, which will suit this team to a tee. Milicevic is the creative hub of the side. His vision and industry caught Spurs unawares in the first leg. Perbet will be hoping to add to this tally of three goals in the competition so far. To be fair, the front three of Perbet, Sayef and Simon really had very little to do last week. It was the driving forces of Milicevic and Esiti in midfield that really troubled Spurs last week.

One change that I would make would be bringing in Coulibaly in for Simon. Simon was quiet last week, while the muscular presence of Coulibaly caused problems in the brief time he had on the field. Asare had a fantastic game at left-back, tracking Walker admirably throughout proceedings. He and Foket have to continue pressing on, keeping Spurs’ full-backs.

Verdict: Spurs 3/10
I think Spurs will win this game, but Gent will progress. The frank truth is, this Spurs side lacks the street smart at this stage to really win anything. Just look at the way they capitulated at the end of last season. They do have the youngest average age of any of the sides in the league, and perhaps that’s the fundamental reason.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.

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