Crunch time is getting nearer in the battle for Champions League spots.
Tottenham will be hoping they can call on key players like Rafael van der Vaart to beat Swansea City at White Hart Lane on Saturday and keep the daylight between them and fifth-placed Chelsea.
Now he is enjoying an extended injury-free run in the side, the Dutch maestro is temptingly priced at 11/2 to open the scoring.
At his prolific best, that would seem a bargain price for a world-class playmaker with a sharp eye for goal. It has been some time since Van der Vaart and Tottenham have been at their fluid best though.
Depressingly for their followers, Van der Vaart is Spurs’ only league goalscorer so far in March – netting a late equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with Stoke.
After five winless Premier League matches, Spurs are boosted by a decent cup quarter-final win over Bolton. Van der Vaart looked distinctly lively in that game, rattling the crossbar and offering up an assist.
Spurs’ chances are probably improved further by playing a Swansea side that refuses to approach any match negatively.
That could leave space for the hosts to unleash the free-flowing football that once upon a time saw them move into contention for the title.
Club top scorer Emmanuel Adebayor is another man likely to benefit from that, and the Togo front man is a fair 4/1 shout to open the scoring on Sunday.
Of course, that is assuming his head is not turned by his contract negotiations with the club reportedly falling through this week.
Should Spurs be off-colour again, Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea will gladly inflict another setback to their flailing bid for a top-four finish.
The South Wales side have won three of their last four away ties as they become increasingly sure of their place in the top flight.
The odds against the Swans taking another huge scalp with a win at Spurs are certainly generous enough at 7/1 to eye them for bargains in the goalscorers’ markets.
Gylfi Sigurdsson must have a smile as wide as the Severn Bridge in anticipation of another away game – the loan signing has scored five in his last four matches on the road.
For that reason alone, he is decent value at 10/1 to score first.
The precocious midfield talent has become an important fulcrum of the Swansea side in almost no time at all since arriving from Hoffenheim and Scott Parker will have his hands full attempting to contain him.
Sigurdsson’s goal run has come exactly when top scorers Scott Sinclair and Danny Graham have begun to falter in front of the target, with no goals in seven and five matches respectively for these two other 10/1 shots.
So while there is decent value to be found in the away ranks, a sense that Spurs have to win makes a bet on Van der Vaart more likely to pay dividends.
Recommended bet: Rafael van der Vaart to score first @ 11/2
Outside punt: Gylfi Sigurdsson to score first @ 10/1
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