Rome Sweet Rome For Under Pressure AVB?
In the penultimate week of Europa League group fixtures, all three English teams have fixtures that could go a long way in deciding their fate within their respective group and within the competition as a whole.
We'll start with the first kick-off of the evening, and possibly the most explosive tie of the round. Tottenham Hotspur travel to Rome with their qualification from Group J still in doubt but you'd like to think that three points from their final two matches would be enough to see them progress.
In what affectionately will be known as the ‘Paul Gascoigne Derby', Spurs will leapfrog their opponents with a win. Lazio's general manager, Maurizio Manzini has invited the 45 year-old to Rome as a guest, to watch over two clubs where he enjoyed cult status.
These two teams played out a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane in the corresponding fixture at a time when Lazio were second in Serie A. The Italians may have slipped to fifth place in the League since, but they are still only nine points behind leaders Juventus, who emphatically dispatched of European champions Chelsea last night.
The match betting for this clash sees the hosts installed as 7/5 favourites while the visitors from North London can be backed at 21/10. The bookies are obviously expecting a tight, edgy game with such close odds and a single goal could be the difference.
If a repeat of the 0-0 draw at Tottenham were to be replayed, you'd find odds of 21/10 for the draw and 17/2 for the 0-0 correct score.
Neither team has any substantial injury worries and with qualification to the Europa League knockout stages on the line, Andre Villas Boas and Vladimir Petkovic are expected to name very strong line-ups.
The two men that are expected to be leading the lines for Lazio and Tottenham are Miroslav Klose and Emmanuel Adebayor. Legendary German goalscoring international Klose is, despite his advancing years, enjoying a rich vein of form for both club and country. The former Bayern Munich frontman has seven goals in his last nine matches and grabbed a goal at the weekend as Lazio defeated city rivals Roma 3-2. Klose can be backed at 5/1 to open the scoring and 5/4 to notch anytime.
Spurs were also involved in a derby clash at the weekend but fared less successfully than their Italian counterparts. They went down 5-2 to deadly rivals Arsenal and the aforementioned Adebayor was at the centre of a controversial opening to the match. The Togolese striker scored the opener ( 7/1 here) before being red carded for an ugly looking lung on Santi Cazorla ( Red card in the match 5/2).
These two strikers are also the focus of the William Hill Headline offer for the game. For Klose to find the back of the net in a home victory, we have enhanced the price to 3/1. Conversely, for Emmanuel Adebayor to score anytime in a Tottenham win can be backed at 6/1.
The handicap market for this match has Lazio -1 at 19/5 - Spurs +1 at 1/2 and Lazio +1 at 4/11 - Spurs-1 at 5/1.
In what could turn out to be a really exciting, fast paced clash, I would go for a HT draw, with the result being decided in the second half. In the double result market Draw/ Lazio is priced at 5/1 while Draw/Tottenham can be backed at 11/2.