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Rennes v Tottenham
Thu, 17:45 BST
Live on BT Sport 1

Form concerns for both sides

Ten-man Tottenham were dreadful at the weekend but on Thursday night they face a side with major problems of their own.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s team crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon and that meek performance has raised questions about Spurs’ chances of picking up points from their opening Europa Conference group game in north-west France.

Conceding three goals in the final 20 minutes has raised questions about Tottenham’s mettle, and rightly placed doubts in the minds of their fans ahead of this Brittany trip.

Yet Rennes also lost at the weekend, slumping 2-0 at home to Reims on Sunday afternoon. After the game manager Bruno Genesio – appointed in March this year – described it as his side’s worst performance since he took the job and was scathing about his players’ lack of energy and motivation.

Rennes: strong home outfit

Look back further than last weekend and it’s Spurs that have made the stronger start of these two teams to the new season.

Tottenham won their opening three league games of the 2021-22 campaign, each by a 1-0 scoreline, as they saw off champions Manchester City (h), then Wolves (a) and Watford (h).

Their 1-0 defeat at Pacos Ferreira in the Europa Conference Play-off first leg on August 19 is a minor concern, although Spurs fielded a weakened line-up for that side.

In contrast to Spurs’ fine league form, Rennes have suffered two consecutive league defeats heading into this game: before the Reims loss, they were beaten by Angers (a) by the same 2-0 scoreline.

Rennes’ home form is generally a positive, however: before their 2-0 home defeat to Reims on Saturday, Rennes were actually unbeaten in seven games at home (W4-D3-L0) under manager Genesio since his appointment six months ago.

Rennes will also be able to count on excellent support. Their Roazhan Park home venue has a 30,000 capacity and close to a sell-out crowd is expected to attend this fixture.

The hosts will be without Belgium winger Jeremy Doku, the ex-Anderlecht starlet who caught the eye during his country’s run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals. Rennes will lack pace and penetration on the flanks without him.

No.1 goalkeeper Alfred Gomis is also out through injury, while first-choice left-back Birger Meling – a consistent performer since his arrival over the summer – is a major doubt.

Tottenham have team news problems, too, with Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso unable to take part because of quratantine regulations.

Son Heung-min and Eric Dier are also unlikely to play any part because of injury, meaning the visitors will be under-strength in some positions.

Stalemate the value choice

Rennes are 2.8615/8 to win, with Tottenham 2.546/4 and The Draw 3.259/4. As the outsider of the three, The Draw is the most appealing ahead of a game between two sides that look likely to be well-matched on the night.

At full strength, Tottenham would be the better of the two, but team news may marginally favour Rennes when the line-ups are announced shortly before kick-off.

Tottenham have generally better form this season, but Rennes’ 2021 home record should not be ignored, with the hosts having shown over a long period of time that they can be difficult to beat when they play in front of their own fans.

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