Tottenham’s defeat at Antwerp last week was their first since the opening day against Everton. They next travel to Bulgaria to face European regulars Ludogorets Razgrad, aiming for a return to winning ways on the continent. Andrew Delaney previews this early kick off fixture in the UEL and provides his best betting tips.
Who is playing?
Ludogorets vs Spurs
What competition are Ludogorets and Spurs playing in?
UEFA Europa League
When is Ludogorets vs Spurs?
17:55 GMT, Thursday 5th November 2020
What stadium is hosting Ludogorets vs Spurs?
Huvepharma Arena, Razgrad, Bulgaria
What channel is Ludogorets vs Spurs on?
Ludogorets vs Spurs Summary
Two sides who suffered defeat away from home on game week two in Group J of the Europa League meet in Razgrad as Spurs look to revive their European adventure after limping to a deserved loss in Belgium against Antwerp last Thursday. Ludogorets are still yet to get going in the group, as a home loss to Antwerp was followed up by a dreadful start in Linz against LASK which saw them 4-1 down, before a late fight back saw them reduce that deficit of defeat to just one goal.
Jose Mourinho will target this competition as one Spurs can definitely win this season, but if he continues with his rotation policy during their hectic run of fixtures, he will need to see better performances than what his side produced against Antwerp. Ludogorets will aim for a tenth consecutive Bulgarian Parva Liga title in just ten seasons in the top flight, while they will see any success them achieve in Europe as a welcome distraction from domestic matters.
Ludogorets Team News and Form
Ludogorets look on course to be champions of Bulgaria once again, despite being three points behind Lokomotiv Plovdiv currently, they have two games in hand on the league leaders. After a stuttering start on the continent though, they will need a big turnaround to recover from two opening defeats in a very tough group, LASK reached the Last 16 last season, Antwerp are in incredible form both domestically and in Europe and Spurs are always going to be an extremely tough test.
After being used sporadically since joining in the summer, Elvis Manu’s hat-trick against LASK means he will be certain to start here, but influential Brazilian-born Bulgarian international Wanderson has still not featured for Ludogorets this season and has been a big miss. Top scorer Higinio went off injured in their league match with Montana ten days ago and has not featured since either. Another Brazilian-born Bulgarian dual national, Cicinho, can offer more of an offensive threat from right-back than going the other way.
Spurs Team News and Form:
It will be interesting to see whether Jose Mourinho opts to heavily rotate his starting eleven once more for this European fixture after it backfiring against Antwerp. Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn, Carlos Vinicius and Giovani Lo Celso were all hooked at half time after a lacklustre first half display, but even with his main men on the pitch, Mourinho did not see much of an improvement as Antwerp strolled to victory.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both on the bench again for the second European game in succession, but were both brought on and if Mourinho wants to make sure of a straightforward win here, he may start the duo who have been in unstoppable form in the Premier League.
Ludogorets Last 5 Matches
- Levski Sofia (H) 1-0 Parva Liga win
- LASK (A) 4-3 Europa League loss
- Montana (A) 1-3 Parva Liga win
- Antwerp (H) 1-2 Europa League loss
- Tsarsko Seto (H) 1-1 Parva Liga draw
Spurs Last 5 Matches
- Brighton (H) 2-1 Premier League win
- Antwerp (A) 1-0 Europa League loss
- Burnley (A) 0-1 Premier League win
- LASK (H) 3-0 Europa League win
- West Ham (H) 3-3 Premier League draw
This will be a first ever meeting between the two clubs, but Ludogorets have a good amount of recent experience against English clubs, including Spurs’ North London rivals Arsenal. They took a 2-0 lead against the Gunners in Bulgaria in the Champions League group stage but lost 3-2 before going down 6-0 at the Emirates in 2016.
Two years previously, in the same competition, they scored a 90th minute equaliser at Anfield and still lost, but managed a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at home. Spurs have only faced Bulgarian opposition once before, and it was just six weeks ago, when they narrowly beat Lokomotiv Plovdiv 2-1 in qualifying for this competition.
Ludogorets Top Scorers
Higinio (7 Goals, 2 in Europe) – The Spanish frontman joined this summer on a free from Numancia and has hit the ground running in a drastically different environment, scoring seven goals in his first 12 appearances for the club.
Elvis Manu (6 Goals, 4 in Europe) – Manu is another new arrival, this time returning to Europe after a brief spell in Chinese football with Beijing Renhe, and the former-Brighton and Huddersfield man almost single-handedly sparked a remarkable comeback against LASK, scoring a hat-trick in their 4-3 defeat.
Spurs Top Scorers
Harry Kane (11 Goals, 5 in Europe) – After the second-string starting eleven flattered to deceive against Antwerp in the first half, Jose Mourinho put on all of his big guns to no effect. He will debate using the likes of Kane though, as a defeat here could be costly. Kane scored in Spurs’ trip to Bulgaria in September against Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
Son Heung-min (10 Goals, 2 in Europe) – Son was unable to score for a fifth game in succession when brought off the bench in Belgium, but with Dele Alli, Gareth Bale and Steven Bergwijn out of form, Son may be used from the outset.
- This is the first ever meeting between the clubs.
- Spurs are two-time winners of this competition, in 1972 and 1984.
- This is the first time an English side will go to Razgrad, as both previous English clubs faced Ludogorets when they were forced to play home matches in the capital Sofia.
- Ludogorets have qualified for the Europa League knockout round more often than any other Bulgarian side.
- Ludogorets currently have no permanent manager, after the sacking of Pavel Vrba last week.
Andrew’s Betting Tips
Despite their goal fest in Linz last week, games in Razgrad rarely see many goals scored, with nine of their last ten home games seeing under 3.5 goals scored. Tottenham’s last four games have all seen the same feat, including their two European encounters so far.
Spurs have only received one yellow card in their last six matches, for Erik Lamela’s scuffle with Anthony Martial in their 6-1 win at Old Trafford, while Ludogorets have only been given over two bookings in two of their last six games, a clean encounter could be in store here.
If Mourinho opts for rotation again, Spurs may struggle to get going from the start in Bulgaria and the first half may pass by with little goalmouth action. As Ludogorets tire from the expected lack of possession and Mourinho starts to put on more of his first team players, expect Spurs to find a winning goal in the second half.
*Odds as of time of writing (Monday 1st November 2020) and subject to change
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