Tottenham Hotspur v Crvena Zvezda – Champions League Betting Preview and Prediction
Round three of the UEFA Champion League is upon us and with it another two days of exciting football fixtures, featuring only cream of the crop of European football. With stacked tournament which is bound to see teams putting up their best show, there is no lack of close encounters, crushing defeats and most importantly upset wins. We have seen more than a handful such results so far, yet it will be Tottenham, who will do their best to avoid ending on the wrong end of the stick as they look to claim their first three points in group B, on Tuesday, October 22, when Pochettino’s men host 1990/1991 UCL champions, FK Crvena Zvezda.
Do-or-die situation in Northern London
Tottenham are limping into round three of UCL group stage following their 2:7 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the previous round. To be fair, we cannot take any positives from that fixture and a simple look at the final score reveals why. It was not a fluke, nor bad luck that contributed to a 2:7 trashing, but outright poor display from Pochettino’s side. What makes the whole ordeal even worse is the fact that Spurs have also dropped points against Olympiacos on the road (2:2) in game one of the UCL group stage. That ultimately means Tottenham are entering round three with one point to their name, which is a far cry from what we expected to see from Tottenham (by the way, 2018 UCL runners-up).
As far as Pochettino’s side EPL campaign is concerned, they are doing slightly better, but not by much. As it stands now, Tottenham are sitting firmly at the seventh spot in their domestic league with a 3-3-3 record to their name, which again is far from the expectations put on London’s outfit. Looking back at their last five fixtures they have defeated Crystal Palace (4:0) and edged past Southampton (2:1), which are the only two wins Tottenham achieved in last month. On the other side, Spurs painfully lost to Leicester (2:1) and Brighton (3:0), following which Spurs produced an underwhelming 1:1 draw with Watford, barely three days prior to their European responsibilities, which suggests Tottenham will not face Belgrade’s outfit in the best spirit. With poor results also come internal turmoil in the squad, with recent reports suggesting Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose, Cristian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld all made it clear they want out of the club, whereas Mauricio Pochettino is the one who could be flying out of the door in not so distant future. On a more positive note, the two attacking stars Kane and Heung-Min Son seem to remain loyal to the club and are eager to save the situation.
Crvena Zvezda hold fond memories of the 1990/91 season
It’s been almost 19 years since the golden age of Crvena Zvezda, when Ljubomir “Ljupko” Petrović’s men claimed the European throne by defeating Marseille at Stadio San Nicola, Bari. And while the memory of that night is still very much alive among Serbian fans, the Belgrade outfit will most likely need at least an additional 19 years before they can start thinking about repeating their success on the European stage.
As it stands now, Crvena Zvezda sit second in group B with three points. In round one of the UCL group stage, Crvena Zvezda kneeled down to Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena (3:0), where they proved they are no match for the German champions. That said, the Serbian squad crushed Olympiacos on home soil (3:1) to claim a much-needed three points that now put them above both Olympiacos and Tottenham. Another win this Tuesday would put them in an excellent position to get out of the group stage, however, they are well aware, the Tuesday’s visit to London will not be a walk in the park.
Verdict & Prediction
Crvena Zvezda play like a solid unit and they look to be a very organized team. That being said, they are far from a team we could rank as a serious contender to make anything happen in the Champions League. They deserve all the praise for qualifying for the most prestigious football tournament in the world, however, they are set to face a team which is a class or two above them. While it’s hard to praise Tottenham too much for their “achievements” so far this season, they are still a team that has far superior quality to Crvena Zvezda in all aspects of the game. Pochettino’s men might be in a slump entering the Tuesday’s fixture, however, they know they need to win. Anything less than all three points will be viewed as a disaster and Pochettino knows well, he can’t afford another disaster, especially not at a brand new home stadium in front of furious home fans.
Prediction: Tottenham -1.50 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.81 SBOBET