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Weblog: The football punter

Trip into the unknown likely to be tricky

YOU can’t keep carrier bags out of the news these days.

Shoppers were hit with the hammer blow of having to pay five pence for carrier bags earlier this year and now Qarabag are making a bit of a splash in the Europa League.

Qarabag have competed well in the competition, although it does help being able to play home matches somewhere near Saturn with Monaco held to a 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan and Anderlecht beaten 1-0.

Now it’s Tottenham’s turn to make a 12-hour round trip to Baku and back but at least the Premier League have aided Spurs by scheduling their next Premier League match for noon on Sunday.

That’ll help no end against Chelsea.

Mauricio Pochettino is already without Nabil Bentaleb, Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard, while Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele must have been pleasing the manager in the Premier League because they have been left at home.

Harry Kane and others have been punished by making the trip but I can’t see Spurs being off a yard and fancy a bet on Qarabag and the draw in the double-chance market.

Talking of teams not being off a yard, Borussia Dortmund have rested a few of their stars names with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa not travelling to take on Krasnodar so I will take the Russians to win that one, while Napoli are resting a load for the long trip to, er, Belgium.

There’s no Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol, Jorginho, Pepe Reina, Manolo Gabbiadini or Dries Mertens and Club Brugge can take the victory in a game being played behind closed doors which is still  better than playing in Baku.