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Spurs have made a competitive start to the season, prompting questions over their title challenging capabilities, though if the last few matches are anything to go by, they’ll be scrapping their way to the top if at all.
Narrow and hard-fought victories against Burnley and Brighton on the domestic front sandwiched a shock defeat to Antwerp in their most recent Europa League clash, and while Jose Mourinho’s men have put in convincing displays against Man United and Southampton, they’ve been few and far between as they seek some level of consistency.
Since losing on the opening day of the season, Ludogorets have made a strong start to defending the title they’ve won every year since 2011/12 by winning seven of their subsequent nine unbeaten matches.
However, they’ve not been as dominant on the continental front having lost out on a Champions League place to Midtjylland before tasting defeat in each of their opening two group games here.
They now face a double header with Tottenham, and you get the impression a failure to pick up a point from either of those games would spell the end for the Bulgarians in this group.
This is the fourth consecutive year in which Ludogorets have failed in their Champions League qualifiers and dropped down into Europe’s second tier competition, though they’ve progressed from their group in two of those three previous campaigns.
In that time, the best sides they have faced have been Inter and AC Milan, losing all four games against those sides and considering their recent form in this group, that’s enough for us to get behind the visitors.
Spurs -1 Handicap
We’d expect Mourinho to ring the changes again here, though even a makeshift Spurs side consisting of Gareth Bale, Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn should have enough about them to forget last week’s result and get back to winning ways in this group.
Welshman Bale scored his first goal since returning to the club when he headed in the winner against the Seagulls at the weekend, and that should alleviate some of the pressure on him.
He’ll almost certainly be starting here as his manager has outlined that they are using this competition to get him back up to full fitness, though considering he’s only scored in three of his last 31 appearances in club football, he looks a tad short at slight odds-against to score anytime.
It’s difficult to gauge how well Spurs will perform here considering they’ve been playing Champions League football in recent years and therefore haven’t fielded weakened sides in Europe with any regularity.
That said, they should have too much quality for the Bulgarian outfit and taking them on the handicap looks a good way to get value on the English side this time round.