Tottenham’s hectic schedule continues as they travel to northern Belgium to face competition debutants Royal Antwerp. Both sides are seeking a second win in the group after both recording opening day wins in the UEFA Europa League. Andrew Delaney previews this early kick off fixture in the UEL and provides his best betting tips.
Who is playing?
Antwerp vs Spurs
What competition are Antwerp and Spurs playing in?
UEFA Europa League
When is Antwerp vs Spurs?
17:55 GMT, Thursday 29th October 2020
What stadium is hosting Antwerp vs Spurs?
Bosuilstadion, Antwerp, Belgium
What channel is Antwerp vs Spurs on?
Antwerp vs Spurs Summary
The two early front runners in Group J meet on Thursday in Belgium, and English side Spurs will hope the result is like when England met Belgium earlier this month at Wembley and won by two goals to one. Antwerp should not be underestimated though, especially after coming from behind to defeat experienced European outfit Ludogorets in their opening group encounter and Europa League debut.
While the Belgians may see progression through the groups as success, Spurs fans will expect a deep run in this competition, as they aim to end a trophy-less run dating back to 2008, and with serial winner Jose Mourinho at the helm, better showings in cup competitions will be a specific target, after disappointing exits last season to Leipzig, Norwich City and Colchester United. Antwerp, in comparison, qualified for this competition by winning the domestic cup in Belgium last season.
Antwerp Team News and Form
As we mentioned in our Europa League Preview prior to last week’s opening fixtures, Lior Refaelov and Dieumerci Mbokani were the two danger men to monitor, and they have proven this over the past seven days. Refaelov scored the winner in Bulgaria as they came from a goal down to beat Ludogorets last Thursday, before scoring and assisting in Antwerp’s 3-2 win over Germinal Beerschot in the league on Sunday, with Mbokani scoring a second half winner, as they moved to the top of the Pro League, ten games in.
Ivan Leko has more of a healthy contingent to choose from after failing to fill their substitute bench last week, with only Alexis De Sart and Didier Lamkel Ze missing from the group of players who played regularly last season. Romelu Lukaku’s brother Jordan has joined on a season-long-loan from Lazio, but has still yet to feature after picking up an injury shortly after joining. Mbokani should return after serving a European suspension against Ludogorets.
Spurs Team News and Form:
Jose Mourinho is likely to tinker with his starting eleven once more for this European fixture after doing so last week in their 3-0 win over LASK in North London. Gareth Bale was given a first start in his second spell at the club, claiming the assist for Andres Andrade’s own goal, while Joe Hart, Erik Lamela and debutant Carlos Vinicius were given starts, with the latter impressing many because of his interchanging play which led to two assists.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both on the bench against LASK and despite Son coming on to score, it will be unlikely to see them used here in an away fixture, considering their recent trip to Burnley on Monday and subsequent match with Brighton on Sunday, Mourinho will be keen to utilise his squad depth as much as possible in order to avoid conflicting interests in either competition.
Antwerp Last 5 Matches
- Germinal Beerschot (H) 3-2 Pro League win
- Ludogorets (A) 1-2 Europa League win
- Zulte-Waregem (A) 1-3 Pro League win
- Mechelen (H) 4-1 Pro League win
- Kortrijk (A) 1-3 Pro League win
Spurs Last 5 Matches
- Burnley (A) L-L Premier League
- LASK (H) 3-0 Europa League win
- West Ham (H) 3-3 Premier League draw
- Manchester United (A) 1-6 Premier League win
- Maccabi Haifa (H) 7-2 Europa League Qualifier win
This will be a first ever meeting between the two clubs, but the last time Antwerp faced English opposition, Newcastle beat them heavily home and away in 1994, losing 10-2 on aggregate. Spurs have likewise had difficulty against Belgian clubs, winning just one of their last five. The most notable was crashing out of the competition in 2017 to Gent over two legs, a 2-2 draw at Wembley saw them eliminated after losing 1-0 in Belgium.
Antwerp Top Scorers
Dieumerci Mbokani (4 Goals) – The Congolese forward has had a wide-ranging career, but he has always produced his best form in Belgium, representing Anderlecht and Standard Liege, winning league titles with both, and he may have an outside chance with Antwerp too if they keep their current form up.
Lior Refaelov (4 Goals, 1 in Europe) – The Israeli is now 34, but is showing form on par to that which he showed for years with Club Brugge, where he spent seven seasons, and even though Antwerp love to share their goals all around the team, most attacking play goes through Refaelov, he is the main threat.
Spurs Top Scorers
Harry Kane (10 Goals, 5 in Europe) – Kane was unused against LASK, and it is not clear whether he will be used here, but his form in qualifying was ruthless, scoring important goals against Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Shkendija when Spurs ran into all sorts of trouble were just as impressive as his hat-trick against Maccabi Haifa in their 7-2 win.
Son Heung-min (9 Goals, 2 in Europe) – Son was used more sparingly in qualification but did score in his 30-minute cameo against LASK last week, but like Kane, may also start on the bench again in order to manage Spurs’ packed fixture list, after starting against Burnley.
- This is the first ever meeting between the clubs
- Antwerp were formerly a feeder club to Manchester United, with the likes of Johnny Evans and John O’Shea playing on loan there.
- No player scored more goals in Europa League qualifying than Harry Kane.
- This will be Spurs’ 13th scheduled fixture already, just six weeks into the season.
Andrew’s Betting Tips
Over 2.5 Goals
The Belgian Pro League is often notorious for its high volume of goals, and Antwerp are no exceptions, in all competitions, there have been over 2.5 goals in all of their last seven matches and the same can be said about Spurs as that feat has been seen in seven of their last nine.
Spurs + BTTS
Spurs’ defensive frailties were brought to the forefront of discussions after capitulating at home to West Ham, throwing away a three goal lead to draw, and despite keeping their first clean sheet of the season’s at the 11th attempt against LASK, Antwerp will offer a greater attacking threat as opposed to the Austrians. But on paper, Spurs look capable of beating the Belgian league leaders, with Bale, Lucas Moura and Carlos Vinicius expected to start.
Lior Refaelov is the man in form and the talismanic figure in Antwerp’s attack, if they are to penetrate a leaky Spurs defence, expect the Israeli to play a key role in doing so. He also has a good eye from a set piece and being the side’s penalty taker and Spurs have conceded four penalties in their eight games.
*Odds as of time of writing (Monday 26th October 2020) and subject to change
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