Friday, November 15, 2019

Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur vs Red Star

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 21 Oct 2019

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Verdict: Harry Kane to score first

Best odds: 9/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

Tottenham Hotspur are set to welcome Crvena Zvezda, known as Red Star Belgrade in the English-speaking countries, to their stadium in North London on Tuesday evening in the third round of this season’s Champions League Group B.

Tottenham Hotspur

It can be said without any constraints that Spurs are in crisis at the moment. They are not doing well in the Premier League. They were held at home to a 1-1 draw against last-place Watford at the weekend, and given that the 86th-minute equalizer by Dele Alli actually canceled out Watford’s early opener, it means that it could have easily gone even worse. They are currently in seventh place with 12 points from nine games to their name. They’ve suffered a shocking exit from the Carabao Cup at the hands of League Two side Colchester City, and things aren’t looking much better in the Champions League either.

In the opening round, they managed to surrender a two-goal lead away to Olympiacos, but what is worse, the one point they took from that match remains their only so far after they were absolutely destroyed at home at the hands of a rampant Bayern Munich by 2-7.

To cap it all off, their first-choice goalkeeper and club captain Hugo Lloris dislocated his elbow in a humiliating 3-0 defeat away to Brighton and Hove Albion just over a week ago, and he’s therefore set for a long spell on the sidelines. Mauricio Pochettino’s job is reportedly on the line, though the Argentine coach still seems to be enjoying the trust of his players. This game could be just the type of contest they need now to boost their confidence.

Team News

As has been said, Lloris is out for a long time, and Spurs have been forced to re-sign 35-year-old Michel Vorm to act as a deputy to the second-choice stopper Paulo Gazzaniga, who is likely to start in goal against the Serbs. Midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a dead leg on international duty and missed the Watford game because of it, but now he’s back in contention.

Crvena Zvezda

The Serbian title holders have had to start their Champions League run from the first qualifying round, in which they dispatched Lithuanian side FK Suduva before edging past Finnish side HJK. Then it was Copenhagen in the third round, and the final hurdle was Young Boys of Switzerland in the play-offs, but they cleared that as well. In this group, they were beaten in Munich by 3-0 and managed to regain some confidence by winning at the Rajko Mitic stadium against Olympiacos by 3-1, and they actually sit above Spurs with three points to their name.

Despite losing to arch-rivals Partizan Belgrade, Red Star top the Serbian Super Liga at the moment with 30 points from 11 games, which means the Belgrade Derby was the only contest they’ve failed to win so far domestically. That doesn’t say much though, given the vast difference in quality between the Serbian top tier and the Premier League, and they won’t be going to North London as favorites by any means. Nonetheless, they have been known to produce unexpected results through hard work and high spirit, as Champions League holders Liverpool would confirm, but that kind of showing comes almost exclusively when they play at home.

Team News

Coach Vladan Milojevic will be without the services of midfielder Branko Jovicic who suffered knee ligament damage during the summer, as well as defender Milan Gajic.

On the other hand, former Chelsea playmaker Marko Marin will be there, and if there will be any kind of respite from the visitors, it’s likely to happen with him in the spotlight.

Conclusion

It’s not very likely that Red Star will be able to resist the attacking line consisting of players like Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli for 90 minutes in North London. It may happen when the two sides meet again, in Belgrade, but it just doesn’t seem feasible here. Kane, wearing the armband in the absence of Lloris, will certainly try and get on the scoresheet, and it’s very questionable if the visitors’ defence can stop him. In fact, his name will likely be the first on that list.

Verdict: Harry Kane to score first

Best odds: 9/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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