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There is everything still to play for in Group D, with all four teams capable of advancing
Tottenham Hotspur lead the way but they need to avoid defeat in the south of France
Marseille must beat Antonio Conte’s side to take their place in the round of 16
The odds for Marseille vs Tottenham Hotspur are taken from the Caesars sportsbook, where you can get up to $1250 in free bets after creating an account.
Marseille will look to make a quick start to put the pressure on Tottenham Hotspur, and we fancy their chances of breaking the deadlock in this one. (+114)
The Champions League group stage concludes this week, a month earlier than usual because of the need to find space in the calendar for the 2022 World Cup. We have been treated to some dramatic moments so far in Europe’s leading competition, but many groups are already done and dusted heading into matchday six on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Napoli and Liverpool are going through in Group A, while Club Brugge and Porto will advance from Group B. Bayern Munich and Inter have already secured the top two spots in Group C, as have Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica, in Groups G and H respectively. There are thus only three groups with something on the line.
The most open of those is Group D. Not only has no team secured a place in the round of 16 yet, none have been eliminated either. Tottenham are top and Marseille are bottom, but just two points separate the sides that will meet at the Stade Velodrome on Tuesday. Sporting CP face Eintracht Frankfurt in a winner-takes-all encounter on the same night.
Tottenham are guaranteed to finish in the first place if they win at the Stade Velodrome. A draw would also be enough for Antonio Conte’s team to progress, although they would finish as runners-up if they pick up a point in France and there is a winner in Sporting CP vs Eintracht Frankfurt.
A second-place finish could lead to a tougher game in the last 16, although that is not a given. Only one thing is for sure: plenty of drama is guaranteed as Group D comes to an end this week.
Marseille’s position could not be clearer: they simply must beat Tottenham to finish in the top two of Group D and advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Their five games up to now have yielded six points from home-and-away victories over Sporting CP (4-1 and 2-0). But Marseille lost both of their meetings with Eintracht Frankfurt and were beaten by Spurs in north London on matchday one.
Igor Tudor’s side have hit a sticky patch at just the wrong time. Marseille briefly went top of Ligue 1 with a 3-0 defeat of Angers at the end of September, but they have since dropped out of the top four after taking just one point from the last 12 available. That run includes a narrow defeat by PSG, but results against Ajaccio (1-2), Lens (0-1), and Strasbourg (2-2) will have been more concerning.
Marseille exceeded expectations by making such a strong start to the season, so recent results may just represent a reversion to the mean. But a loss of form just before this pivotal Champions League match is not good news for Tudor.
Marseille will have to dig deep to beat Spurs, but it is far from an impossible task. That is in part because their opponents have not really been convincing this term, more on which below. It also has to do with the Velodrome itself: under the floodlights for a big match, few stadiums in Europe are capable of generating a better atmosphere.
Tottenham could potentially find themselves in a tricky predicament on Tuesday. Because they only need a point to progress to the round of 16, there is a danger they could be caught in two minds: should they go all-out for a win, or should their principal aim be to keep things tight at the back? That dilemma will be amplified as the game wears on - unless, of course, Spurs have already opened up an unassailable lead.
Conte will certainly hope for a less stressful match than the one his team contested at the weekend. Tottenham went 2-0 down to Bournemouth and looked to be on their way to their fourth defeat of the top-flight season - and one which would have put a large dent in their Premier League title ambitions, even at this early stage of the campaign.
But Spurs came roaring back after the interval, and goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Ben Davies, and Rodrigo Bentancur turned the match on its head. It is notable, however, that Conte’s team have now conceded the first goal in each of their last three Premier League fixtures and in both of their last two outings in the Champions League.
The fact that Tottenham are slow starters, combined with Marseille’s probable determination to make a fast start in front of a raucous home crowd, means it is worth backing the hosts to score the first goal of the game on Tuesday.
|Teams||Marseille vs Tottenham Hotspur|
Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France
Tuesday, 1 November 2022, 15.00 PM EDT
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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