Tottenham Hotspur begin a gruelling set of Europa League qualifiers on Thursday evening with a trip to face Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv.
The hosts didn’t have an especially strong campaign in Bulgaria last year, finishing fifth in the Bulgarian top flight’s ‘Championship Round’ come the end of the season, but have made it into this competition by winning the Bulgarian cup - having beaten CSKA Sofia on penalties after a goalless draw in the final back in early July.
Bruno Akrapović’s men have had a mixed start to the new season, winning three out of five matches, losing the other two, and come into this fixture off the back of a 3-1 defeat to Bulgarian giants Ludogorets on Saturday, having squandered a one-goal lead going into the final half-hour.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho celebrated getting Tottenham into this competition on the final day of the last Premier League season, but the three rounds of qualifiers to get into the competition proper, as well as the early League Cup rounds - give him a real selection headache alongside the return of the Premier League, with the potential of nine matches in just over three weeks.
Having been beaten at home in their season opener, 1-0 to Everton, the pressure is already on - but the Portuguese is expected to prioritise the league campaign and name much-changed, second-string XIs for these early qualifiers, with the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min in line to be rested.
Still, Tottenham are strong favourites with the bookmakers here. Betfair Sportsbook back them at just 2/9 to get the win they need to progress, with the hosts a massive 19/2 to cause a major upset.
Given the uncertainty over personnel, we recommend taking advantage of Paddy Power’s Power Price promotion here, with boosted odds of a Tottenham win with both teams to score at odds of 9/5.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change
Tottenham to win and both teams to score - 9/5 (Paddy Power)