Monaco v Tottenham: Spurs can expose fragile hosts
Monaco v Tottenham
Thursday 1st October, 18:00
Live on BT Sport Europe
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Monaco and Tottenham are both trying to develop young talent, and Kevin Hatchard believes inexperience could lead to goals on Thursday evening…
One of the great things about football is that when things go wrong, an opportunity to put things right swiftly arrives. Having endured the ignominy of losing a League Cup tie at home to bitter rivals Arsenal, not to mention the embarrassment of allowing Mathieu Flamini to score twice (that’s the fourth sign of the Apocalypse), Tottenham bounced back by dismantling Manchester City 4-1.
After a run of four wins in five games, a stuttering start to the campaign is suddenly looking like a strong one, and the Lilywhites have only lost two of their first nine matches this term. Heung-Min Son has hit the ground running after his move from Bayer Leverkusen, and Harry Kane is finally off the mark after a goal drought that was starting to move past the “just a blip” phase.
A tricky test awaits at the Stade Louis II, but Monaco have stumbled off their starting blocks this term. Having flogged attacking tyro Anthony Martial to Manchester United and key defender Aymen Abdennour to Valencia, Monaco have won just three of their first eight matches in Ligue 1.
Abdennour’s absence is being keenly felt in defence – Monaco have shipped 13 goals in eight league games, including three in the weekend’s 3-3 draw at Guingamp, a game that saw Leonardo Jardim’s men blow the lead three times. Jardim has implored his players to concentrate more in defensive situations, but leaky rearguards usually take a long time to fix, and the coach has admitted that developing young players can lead to a fair few bumps in the road. Midfielders Jeremy Toulalan and Joao Moutinho are experienced hands who can help out, but neither is fully fit.
Goals a hefty price
Given Monaco’s defensive issues, I’m a touch surprised to see Over 2.5 Goals trading at a hefty 2.36. Four of Monaco’s five home games this term have featured at least three goals, and Spurs have failed to score in just two of their nine matches.
Spurs midfielder Ryan Mason is set to recover from a knee injury, but at time of writing Nabil Bentaleb was a doubt. If Kane is rested, Son could be moved forward to lead the line, or former Lyon striker Clinton N’Jie may be given a chance to shine.
Monaco got all the way to the Champions League quarter-finals last season, but their policy of selling their best players and replacing them with talents who need to be developed doesn’t make for a stable environment, and coach Jardim has admitted it is taking a frustratingly long time for his team to look as solid as he would like. I think Monaco’s price of 2.26 for the win is based on last season’s exploits, and not the team that scraped a 1-1 draw at Anderlecht two weeks ago. You could lay the hosts, or back Spurs on the Asian Handicap 0 & +0.5 at [2.05], which gives you a half-win if Spurs draw, and a full winner if Mauricio Pochettino’s side take all three points.
Back Over 2.5 Goals at 2.36
Back Spurs 0 & +0.5 on the Asian Handicap at [2.05]
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