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Tottenham can cement Europa League top spot by beating Besiktas

| 11.12.2014

While Tottenham, 5/2 favourites with Coral to triumph, and Besiktas, have both already qualified for the last-32 of the Europa League, there is still much to play for.

Spurs take a two-point advantage into their final group game, but their position as pool leaders is far from secure.

Turkish big-guns Besiktas are also chasing a plum draw by toppling Tottenham from their throne, and are 11/10 to win Group C.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men could be tempted to take their foot off the gas with safe passage already assured but, as the next round takes shape, troubled Tottenham may want to avoid the likes of Everton, Inter Milan and Fiorentina.

The north Londoners are still unbeaten in Europe, having conceded just three goals in their past five games, despite often using the opportunity as a way to give fringe players game time.

For Pochettino, the Premier League is understandably Spurs’ bread and butter. However, the under-fire coach and below-par squad may now need their European form to see them through tough times on the home front.

When Besiktas paid a visit to White Hart Lane earlier this season, they gave the hosts a torrid time before securing a 1-1 draw, and even looked upon the trip as two points wasted after their impressive performance.

Ex-Croatia coach Slaven Bilic will now return Tottenham’s hospitality, with the Turkish giants formidable opponents on their own turf.

After winning five of their last six matches, in-form Besiktas are 23/10 to split the spoils once again in Istanbul, or 9/2 to score three or more.

Former Chelsea and Newcastle United frontman Demba Ba fired home a spot kick equaliser at White Hart Lane last time these two teams met, but will miss this encounter with a toe injury.

The Senegal striker will be a big miss after netting 16 in 18 games, so the likes of Cenk Tosun (7/4 to score anytime) and Chelsea academy product Gokhan Toure (11/4) are expected to step up.

Three wins in a row, including an inspired outing against Everton, led to talk of a Tottenham turnaround. A subsequent defeat to Chelsea and draw against Crystal Palace has seen Pochettino put under the microscope again, with the Argentine in need of a victory.

With Spurs 12/1 joint-favourites to win the tournament, a decision to rest key players ahead of a weekend duel with Swansea City could prove detrimental to their long-term chances of lifting silverware this season.

‘Hurricane’ Harry Kane seems to have finally forced his way into the forefront of Pochettino’s thinking and, with Emmanuel Adebayor on personal leave, is 6/4 to net anytime.

With his exemplary record on the continent, scoring seven in as many games, England Under-21 international Kane is also 11/2 to strike first.

Wingmen Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli could also feature after starting from the bench at the weekend, and are 6/1 and 2/1 in the anytime market respectively.



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.