Olympiacos vs Tottenham: Spurs keen to avoid another slow start in the Champions League

Matthew Crist believes that Tottenham can't leave it so late this time as they try to reach a second Champions League final in two seasons.

Matthew Crist

Tottenham make their first Champions League appearance since losing in the final to Liverpool back in May and will be keen to begin this campaign stronger than they did the last.

Spurs may have progressed to the showpiece in the Spanish capital some four months ago but their route to the 2019 final was far from an easy ride and that’s because their group stage campaign got off to something of a stuttering start.

They lost their opening two games in this tournament last year against Inter and Barcelona, meaning they had their work cut out in order to progress; something which Mauricio Pochettino will be keen to avoid this time around, and will be keen to justify their price of 2.85* to top the group.

With Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade the other teams in Group B, Spurs will be eager to open-up a three-point advantage over Olympiakos after game one which should settle any early nerves ahead of the visit of the German champions on matchday two.

A 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace at the weekend will no doubt give the North Londoners plenty of confidence as they travel to Greece with Poch likely to freshen things up from a second win of the season which sees them currently sitting third in the Premier League.

Dele Alli and Eric Dier were unused substitutes at Selhurst Park and could return to the starting XI for the trip to Athens, while Kyle Walker-Peters remains a doubt with a hamstring injury which has seen him miss the last two matches.



Serge Aurier impressed on his first appearance of the season against Palace and could well deputise with Juan Foyth once again likely to miss-out with an ankle injury which has plagued the full-back all campaign, meaning there could be a number of defensive worries for the Lillywhites.

In the opening game of last season’s campaign Spurs went down in agonising fashion thanks to a late comeback from the hosts in the San Sirro, while a high scoring defeat at the hands of Barcelona put them firmly behind the eight-ball and they will be keen to avoid the uncertainty and pressure a slow start can bring with it.

Of course, a dramatic draw in Barcelona did see Pochettino’s side progress into the knockout stages where they rode their luck somewhat by overcoming Manchester City and Ajax as they reached the first final in this competition in the club’s history.

Tottenham will be wary of their opponents, however, who currently sit top of the Greek Superleague having won all three of their games so far this season, including a convincing 5-0 victory over newly promoted Volos so perhaps don’t justify their price of 4.45* to win at home.

As well as finding the net on seven occasions in their domestic league, Olympiacos are also yet to concede, demonstrating a defensive stability which is sure to make them a difficult opponent in this season’s competition, especially at home, and the Greek champions are 6.50* to win to zero here.

No doubt they will be well aware that Wednesday’s opponents pose a significant step up in class compared to the opponents they have faced to date, but a Spurs side who have looked vulnerable at times in the early stages of the season, who may also be forced to make defensive changes, certainly can’t take anything for granted here.


*Odds subject to change


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