A night when nobody wants to win

After the excitement and thrills of some largely uninspiring Champions League ties, we’ve not got the excitement and thrills of some largely uninspiring Europa League ties to look forward to, with Spurs, Stoke, Shamrock, Birmingham, Celtic and Fulham all in action.

A night when nobody wants to win

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November 3rd, 2011

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It can be tough trying to get excited about a competition that the clubs themselves can’t get excited about. I mean, Fulham’s Zoltan Gera wanted to avoid playing in the Europa League so badly that he got himself sent-off on the last day of the season, just three minutes after coming onto the pitch. Unfortunately for him, Fulham’s fair-play record was still good enough.

In a similar vein, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has decided that he’d much rather be recovering from heart surgery than flying out to Kazan for Tottenham’s clash with Rubin.

Spurs, who are unbeaten in the competition so far despite not really taking it very seriously, could qualify for the next stage with a win tonight, and the frightful prospect of yet more Europa League football has prompted him to keep Scott Parker, Sandro, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric in London.

After defeating Rubin at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago, we think that Spurs will find it a bit tougher over in Russia. So much so, we’re taking the 20/21 being offered by Victor Chandler about a home win. Against a hostile crowd, the travel, the cold and with rested players, we think that Spurs might struggle against Rubin’s Champions League pedigree.

We’re also backing an English defeat in Israel, where Stoke will face Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi are second in the Israeli league, level on points with leaders and rivals Hapoel.

We can see another uncomfortable night for Tony Pulis’ side, who come into this game on the back of three defeats, and with Stoke facing a tough schedule back in the Premier League, we think that Pulis will rest players. City may have won 3-0 against Maccabi at the Britannia, but we think they’re facing a much tougher prospect tonight. We’re going even money about a home win with Paddy Power and Victor Chandler.

We’re going to make that a treble by backing Birmingham City to pick up a home victory against FC Bruges, with Victor Chandler going 13/10 on a City success.

Birmingham pulled off something of a shock by beating the Belgian side on their own patch a fortnight ago but Chris Hughton’s boys are in fine form.

Their last defeat came nine games ago, when they were dumped out of the Carling Cup by Manchester City whilst tonight’s opponents have lost three on the spin. We think that 13/10 represents value and we’re backing the Blues.

Our Picks:

Rubin Kazan vs Tottenham Hotspur: Rubin – 20/21 (Victor Chandler)

Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Stoke City: Maccabi Tel Aviv – eves (Victor Chandler)

Birmingham City vs FC Bruges: Birmingham – 13/10 (Victor Chandler)

Treble = approx. 12/1

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