Tottenham Hotspur vs Dinamo Zagreb
Thursday, March 12th, 4.00 PM EST
This Thursday afternoon, Tottenham Hotspur will host the Croatian league leaders, Dinamo Zagreb, in the first leg of their Round of 16 meeting. The two teams have only met once in Europe prior to this match, back in the 08/09 season which Spurs won 4-0.
Both sides have cruised through the Europa League this season with little resistance. Zagreb are unbeaten in 8 games, and have won their last 6 games, they have also conceded the fewest goals in the tournament from the teams who played all stages, with just 4.
Spurs have a record of 9-1-1 across their 11 games, winning their last 3 in a row, they also boast the second most goals scored in the competition with 24, an average of 3 goals per game.
Carlos Vinicius was the main man for Spurs in the lead up to the Round of 16, scoring 6 times, tied in 2nd for goals scored, but it will be Harry Kane who leads the Spurs attack from here on in as they push to win the tournament.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 9, 2021
Zagreb are winning their domestic league, and are favourites to win their 4th consecutive league title, but they are in a tight race with second place Osijek, who are just two points behind.
They have not fared as well in European competition though, having never made it past the Round of 16 in their history, and they have only won 1 game in their last 10 matches against English teams.
They are going up against a Spurs side that has found their feet again in what has been a turbulent campaign for the London club. Having just won their 3rd consecutive game in the Premier League, the Spurs seem to be back to their best, and Gareth Bale is hitting the form that was expected of him when he made his return, scoring 5 goals over his last 4 games.
If this match were taking place 2 months ago, then Dinamo Zagreb would have a better chance, however, the Spurs team they face on Thursday is completely different, playing confident, attacking football, they should have no problem winning this home leg.
Slavia Praha vs Rangers
Thursday, March 12th, 1.55 PM EST
Slavia Praha welcome’s the Rangers to the Eden Arena for the first ever meeting between the two sides in European competition, and on paper, it looks like one of the best fixtures of the lot.
Slavia Praha are so far undefeated in their domestic league with a record of 18-4-0, and in the Europa League they have lost just two, picking up massive wins against the likes of Nice and Leicester City along the way.
The Rangers have fared even better, recording one of the best ever seasons in European football, they have already won the league with a record of 28-4-0, conceding just 9 goals all season.
What Steven Gerrard has done with this team has been nothing short of incredible, securing the Gers’ 55th Scottish Premier League title and returning them to their powerhouse status.
🏆 We Are Rangers
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) March 7, 2021
Both forces in their respective leagues, this meeting should be a good one, Slavia have lost just 1 game from their last 10 home games in the Europa League, a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea back in 2019.
This will be their greatest challenge of the tournament though, the Gers’ are undefeated in the tournament so far whether they are home or away, and have scored the third most goals in the competition.
Regardless of their dominance in their domestic competitions the two sides have never faced each other, with 2 similar styles of play it is an intriguing matchup. Praha has shown that they can go up against the best of the best, and have done so with some big score lines in recent weeks.
Both teams are so finely tuned defensively, however, the Rangers are a stronger side going forward, and having just won the league they will have their full attention on this match.
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*Odds correct at time of publication, thanks to Bet365.
Image by: Wikimedia Commons