Weblog: The football punter

Motivation may not be enough for Partizan

So Partizan are 13-1 shots to win at Spurs tonight yet manager Marko Nikolic reckons he's hit on a way to get his players up for the game.

"It will be a great pleasure playing in Europe in a country where it all started," he said in a press conference this week.

"The ambience at White Hart Lane will surely motivate my team and this will be another opportunity for us to prove ourselves against one of the best Premier League clubs."

Leaving aside the fact that White Hart Lane was barely two-thirds full for Spurs's last Europa League home match, can we really believe that teams from mainland Europe really get themselves up for matches in England because that happens to be where the game was born? I'd want a better reason than that for lumping on a 13-1 shot.

Spurs aren't yet assured of qualifying and with a tricky last game in Turkey they won't want to slip up, though 2-7 isn't a price that gets the pulse racing.

Still, it's interesting that Nikolic has raised the whole issue, because at this stage of the Europa League motivation, or to be more precise the lack of it, is everything.

Tottenham aren't top of their group but there are a couple of top against bottom clashes, where the team at the foot of their group are away from home with nothing to play for.

I'll take Dynamo Moscow to beat Panathinaikos and Dynamo Kiev to see off Rio Ave in a double that pays around 6-5.

That sounds like a Dynamic double that can save me.

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Match in Focus

20:05 TODAY ITV4

Tottenham v Partizan

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Partizan have not won a European group-stage match in their last 16 attempts
Expert verdict
Partizan are the only team to have stopped Tottenham scoring on their travels this season but they are unlikely to repeat the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane. Partizan have mainly been outclassed in European competition in recent seasons and a comfortable Spurs win looks the most likely outcome even if the hosts rotate heavily.