Spurs v Dinamo Zagreb: Focus on Europa After Positive Run

tottenhamFollowing a dismal run of results across January and February, four straight wins have improved the mood around the new White Hart Lane. While the calibre of the opposition wasn’t exactly the strongest, it’s good to finally see bright attacking football with few alarms at the other end of the pitch.

With Gareth Bale and Dele Alli seemingly fit and back in favour, Tottenham claimed their 100th goal in all competitions this season in the 4-1 win over Crystal Palace. Now, we move back to Europe with Thursday night’s Europa League tie against Dinamo Zagreb. Can we push on and progress calmly into the last eight or can the Croatians provide an upset?

Team News

We’ve got to an advanced stage of this competition and Jose Mourinho will need to choose his team wisely. Changes from the side that beat Burnley are inevitable and, while we’re strongly fancied to progress, Dinamo Zagreb will surely be stronger than our previous opponents Wolfsberger.

Gareth Bale had been an important fixture of the Europa League starting XI but he’s now needed in the EPL so he could form part of a strong bench. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min could also be kept in reserve in case things go wrong while Dele Alli seems more likely to start this one.

In regards to confirmed absentees, Jose has indicated that Pierre-Emile Hojberg will sit this one out while Giovani Lo Celso remains a doubt. Lo Celso could, however, be involved at some point as he’s believed to be close to a recall after a lengthy lay off.

Match Odds

Match result betting lists Spurs as clear favourites and the best industry odds on the home win currently stand at 11/25 with Novibet. The draw is the next option at a top price of 17/4 with MansionBet and SportPesa while victory for Dinamo Zagreb can be found at 13/2 with BetFred.

Those are the numbers for the result on the night and exclude any options for the second leg. If you’re interested, there is a separate To Qualify market where Tottenham are quoted at a best of 3/13 with VBet while the same bookmaker lists Dinamo Zagreb at 16/5.

Those numbers underline the relative strengths of the two teams and our form should hopefully deliver. It’s getting to a nervous point in this competition and Zagreb have the potential to produce a shock so we’re not getting over-confident here.

Side Markets

Picking the first goal scorer becomes a trickier option when you’re also trying to second guess the team selection. Harry Kane is an obvious favourite to open the scoring and, following his double against Crystal Palace, our main striker is available at best odds of 14/5 with Betway.

harry kane

Harry Kane

Carlos Vinicius is the next name on the list at a top price of 4/1 with Betway while Son Heung-Min can also be claimed at a best of 4/1 – this time with Unibet. Spurs players dominate the opening exchanges with Dane Scarlett making an appearance at best odds of 5/1 with GentingBet. Gareth Bale is next at a top price of 21/4, followed by Dele Alli at a best of 15/2 – both with Unibet.

Completing the list of more likely options are Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn who are both on offer at best odds of 8/1 with Betway.

From a Dinamo Zagreb point of view, Mario Gavranovic is the first name on the list at a top price of 11/1 with Betway to open the scoring. Gavranovic is a Swiss international who averages at close to a goal every other game for his current employers.

Moving away from individual markets and we’ll start with Both Teams to Score which is available for Thursday night at best odds of 19/20 with SportNation. Our opponents have found the net 12 times in their last five Europa League matches and, with BTTS returning against Crystal Palace, this looks a strong option.

Dinamo’s record in Europe this season also suggests that there could be a few goals in this one. A modest bet Over the 2.5 Total Goals line would currently return best odds of 3/5 with GentingBet and RedZone and we could push to Over 3.5 for a price of 31/20 with Unibet.

We’ll sign off, as always with a suggestion or two in the Correct Score markets. Those of us who are suddenly feeling more positive after our recent run of results could look to back the 3-1 home win which is on offer at 41/4 with Novibet. Alternatively, if you think that it’s all too good to be true right now then you could go for a 1-1 final scoreline at 17/2 with GentingBet.

Who are They?

Dinamo Zagreb shouldn’t be an unknown quantity to anyone who follows European football and the Croatians are regulars in the Champions League and Europa League. Spurs fans will know that they gave us Luka Modric and we should also remember our only previous head to head match. Back in 2008, a Darren Bent hat trick in the early stages of the Europa League led to a comfortable 4-0 win.

In 2020/21, We’ve already identified Mario Gavranovic as a potential dangerman: This season, the 31 year old has scored 14 goals in 30 games across all competitions and that’s typical of his usual ratio. The other man to watch is Mislav Orsic, a winger who has also scored 14 goals in this campaign – this time across 33 matches.

Verdict

dinamo zagrebLike many Europa League games, this is something of a step into the unknown but we should progress serenely if we can maintain our recent form. Team selection is clearly a question and, with the North London Derby coming up on Sunday, it’s likely to be a case of many changes to the starting lineup with a strong bench in reserve.

For that reason, we’ll avoid any of the usual suspects in the individual goal scorer options and start with Lucas Moura to find the net in 90 minutes. Lucas has looked lively in recent matches, both at home and in Europe and he should get enough chances to get on the scoresheet. We’ll round off with Both Teams to Score and Over 3.5 goals. Having assessed Dinamo’s strikeforce, along with their previous results in this competition, they should have plenty of threat up top.

Overall it should be comfortable but there could certainly be some threat in the opposition ranks. A high scoring home win would therefore do nicely ahead of the return in seven day’s time.

Best Bets

  • Lucas Moura to score at any time in 90 minutes at 9/4 with MansionBet
  • Both Teams to Score at 19/20 with SportNation
  • Over 3.5 Goals at 31/20 with Unibet

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