Europa League Preview: Rovers set to earn their Spurs
Tottenham Hotspur face Irish opposition in Europe for the second time in their history as Shamrock Rovers travel to White Hart Lane on an action packed night of Europa League football.
Tottenham v Shamrock Rovers
The last time an Irish side faced Spurs in Europe was in the UEFA Cup qualifiers when Drogheda United narrowly lost on an aggregate score of 14-0 in 1983/1984 season. Tottenham went on to win that competition, beating Anderlecht on penalties after the scores were level after two legs were played.
We are offering an enhanced price that Shamrock Rovers (20/1) go one better than Drogheda United and actually score a goal, this price is 6/8, bumped up from 11/8. We also have enhanced the price that Spurs (1/8) do some real damage and score five or more goals from 7/2 to a massive 5/1.
Rovers first foray into the Europa league ended in a 3-0 home loss while Spurs were held to a scoreless draw away at PAOK. Tom Huddlestone will be out for the home side, however he may not have featured anyway as Harry is likely to field an under strength side.
Harry Kane featured in the first Europa League match, the 18 year old made his debut in the second leg match against Hearts when he won a penalty but missed it. He also featured in the 0-0 with PAOK and could easily play a part against Rovers. The teenager is 5/2 to score first and 4/7 to score anytime.
Gary Twigg may not be a name that springs to many people's mind, but the Scottish striker is by far one of the most potent in the League of Ireland. He will be leading the line for Michael O'Neill's team and is 16/1 to open the scoring, but at 6/1 to score anytime he might be worth a punt.
Celtic v Udinese
Neil Lennon's Celtic are looking for their first win in this year's Europa League after they lost 2-0 to Atletico in Madrid in game week one. The Bhoys are currently struggling, having lost to Rangers in the first Old Firm Derby of the season and a win here would greatly improve morale and their form.
Udinese won 2-1 at home to French side Rennes, however they will be taking a weakened side to Park Head which is reflected in the competitive betting. According to reports the Italian side will travel with no recognised striker and they are 23/10 to get the win while Celtic are 5/4.
Gary Hooper scored against Rangers and the striker is 13/2 to score first against the Italians while Anthony Stokes is 7/1 to score first and 2/1 to score anytime. Rookie midfielder Diego Fabbrini may be the lone striker for the travelling side, the 19 year old has made only one appearance for Udinese and he is 15/2 to open the scoring and 9/4 to score anytime.
Odenese v Fulham
Fulham may have one eye on their massive Premier League clash with QPR on Sunday, but first they have to try and overcome Danish side OB Odenese. The Cottagers drew their opening match 1-1 while OB were 3-1 winners away to Wisla Krakow.
The home side are 15/8 while Fulham are 6/4 and the draw is 11/5. Fulham are just above the relegation zone in the Premier League having failed to make a good start to the season. This will be a low scoring affair in my eyes and Under 2.5 goals at 13/20 seems short, but should come in. I fancy the home side to sneak at 1-0 win at 7/1. Peter Utaka has been the main target man for the Danes and he is 6/1 to score first.
Stoke City v Besiktas
Tony Pullis' team were denied what would have been a valuable away win at Dynamo Kyiv in the opening set of fixtures. They now face Turkish giants Besiktas in what should be a fiery encounter at the Britannia.
The Turks routed Maccabi Tel-Aviv 5-1 in the opening game week, Hugo Almedia nabbed a brace in that game and he is 9/1 to open the scoring at Stoke. Peter Crouch humbled Man Utd last week with a fantastic equalising goal. The gangly striker is 13/2 to open the scoring.
The English side are somewhat surprisingly odds on at 5/6 to get the win while Besiktas seem to be a big price at 7/2 to come away with all three points and the draw is 12/5.
This will be the first major European game for Stoke in their history and the atmosphere at the Britannia will be electric, this could be conducive to goals and both teams to score is 23/20.
NK Maribor v Birmingham
Championship side Birmingham will be more interested in promotion back to the Premier League rather than Europa League glory. The Brummies are unsurprisingly 5/2 outsiders to come away with a win while the Slovenian side are 11/10.
Birmingham lost 3-1 at home in their first Europa League match while Maribor were 2-0 losers away to Brugge. This could have draw written all over it at 23/10. I reckon the double result of draw/draw at 7/2 is worth considering.
If Birmingham are going to win then Zigic will be required to bag a few goals, he is 8/1 to score first and 11/4 to hit the back of the net at anytime.
But for me, I would be backing the draw in this game.