It will be interesting to see whether Tottenham take this competition seriously, considering that Harry Redknapp was keen to emphasise the difference between landing a place in the Champions League and Europa League.
While Spurs made marvellous progress in the former tournament last season, there is every chance that the north London side will play weakened teams in this competition and it might be worth waiting for team news if you are considering the 3/4 (Blue Square – £10 free bet) about the visitors winning at Tynecastle on Thursday.
Perhaps Redknapp will send out his strongest team in a bid to warm up for what will be the team’s Premier League opener, with Tottenham’s game against Everton postponed on Saturday. Rafael van der Vaart was often the player who found the breakthrough in the Champions League last term and the Dutchman is 5/1 (Paddy Power – £100 free betting) to open the scoring.
Hearts finished third in the Scottish Premier League last season and got off to a bright start this campaign when drawing 1-1 at Ibrox, although it wasn’t enough for Jim Jeffries to keep his job and Paulo Sérgio is the latest manager to try and stay onside when it comes to owner Vladimir Romanov.
The home side beat Aberdeen 3-0 on Saturday and can be backed at 9/2 (William Hill) to claim a first leg victory which will be needed if they are to qualify at White Hart Lane next week.