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Nic Ladds 16th Dec 2008 - 19:25

Tottenham to show Russia no love

Tottenham are warm 7/10 favourites to beat 4/1 underdogs Spartak Moscow and coast through to the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup.

Spurs lie second in their group needing just a point to ensure qualification in second place which will pit them against a team that has been knocked out of the Champions League.

Should group leaders Udinese slip up against Dutch side NEC and Spurs win then it is possible for them to finish top of the group which will be an added incentive for the London side to really go for it.

A full strength Spurs team is expected to start and none will be looking to impress more than Darren Bent. The striker who is 9/2 to score first has recently lost his place to Roman Pavlyuchenko. With the Russian cup-tied this is the perfect chance for Bent to shine.

Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone both had golden opportunities to score against Man Utd last weekend and the pair will be looking to make amends.

Modric is 15/2 to find the net first while Huddlestone whose starting place isn't assured can be backed at 6/1 to score anytime as he is likely to feature at some point.

Tottenham will expect to win and win well as Spartak's one victory was a 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb who Spurs demolished 4-0 and the Russian side have lost to the poor Dutch outfit NEC whom Spurs comfortably disposed of.

With NEC unlikely to beat Udinese a point could suffice for Spartak to progress and there is a chance they will set out their team to play for a draw which is available at 13/5.

Spurs have often started their matches slowly this season and should Spartak start out defensively it could take Harry Redknapp's boys a while to break down the Russians. If this is the case then draw half-time/Tottenham full time at 3/1 looks a decent bet.

A threat for the Russian side could come from Ivan Saenko who scored the winner for Spartak against Dinamo Zagreb and is a threat from midfield. He is chalked up at 10/1 to stun Spurs and score first.

Tottenham should coast through to the knockout stages and even with a slow start will be confident of putting a few past the Moscow side.

It may come to the point where the Russians decide they have to go for it which may see them snatch a goal but will leave them exposed at the back giving the likes of Aaron Lennon and David Bentley acres of space to take advantage of.

A correct score of 3-1 at 11/1 or 4-1 at a massive 25/1 both look like decent wagers.

Tottenham have an excellent home record since Redknapp has been at the helm and they look an excellent prospect to continue the trend and take a step closer to the European glory the fans so desperately want.

Recommendation:
Draw half-time/Tottenham full time - 3/1
Tottenham to win 3-1 - 11/1

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