Andrew Delaney has given us his best tips for the UEFA Europa League on Thursday 3rd December. Back his three early kick off tips at 8/1, and his three late kick off tips at a promising 15/1, including some Italian giants, free-scoring Germans, and impressive Belgians on BTTS, handicap result and over/under markets.
Europa League – Antwerp vs Ludogorets [17:55 GMT]
Belgian cup holders Antwerp can secure their passage into the knockout stages of the Europa League with a win over Group J’s whipping boys’ Ludogorets on Thursday evening. A point may also be enough if LASK fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur, but Ivan Leko’s side will be confident given their strong start, sitting top of the group. They have won three of their four group games so far, but they have all been relatively low-scoring affairs as just seven goals have been scored in their four games, all witnessing under 3.5 goals.
Ludogorets are already eliminated, with their fate settled after a toothless display in North London last week, which sees them still on zero points. Their attentions will turn back to winning a tenth consecutive Bulgarian league title this season with European football in the new year now unattainable. The previous meeting on matchday one saw Antwerp run out winners in a match which saw under 3.5 goals.
Europa League – AC Milan vs Celtic [17:55 GMT]
A disjointed, woefully out of form Celtic side travel to San Siro to face AC Milan with their elimination already confirmed after just four games in Group H. A win for the Rossoneri on Thursday may be enough to see them through as long as Lille can beat Sparta Prague in France, and the form of these two sides suggests that the result in Italy will be a formality. Milan have been exceptional since football restarted in the summer. Stefano Pioli’s men have still not lost domestically since March, a run now spanning 22 games, and they sit five points clear of Inter and Sassuolo at the top of Serie A.
Celtic are in crisis with manager Neil Lennon hanging onto his job by the most slender tether possible after back-to-back 4-1 defeats to Sparta Prague and a shock 2-0 loss to Ross County in the Scottish League Cup at the weekend, equalling their worst ever showing in the competition they have won for the last four years. Celtic have lost five games in the last six weeks and they have all been by a +1 handicap, meaning an in-form Milan outfit may fill their boots here.
Europa League – Red Star Belgrade vs Hoffenheim [17:55 GMT]
The two big favourites to progress from Group L meet at the Rajko Mitic Stadium on matchday five with goals expected from two of the most entertaining sides in this year’s Europa League. Hoffenheim have scored in all 18 European matches in their history, and in this season’s campaign, they have been averaging over three goals a game. Welcoming back striker Andrej Kramaric is a big bonus to their attacking threat, as the Croat has scored 15 in his last nine appearances. The German side are also on a great scoring run away from home, netting in all of their previous 15 matches on the road in all competitions.
Red Star Belgrade have been in great form results-wise and in front of goal, as they look to seal a ninth consecutive win in all competitions here. That run has seen them score 25 goals, nine of which came in this competition. Their only defeat this season came against Hoffenheim on matchday one, but they are 21 games unbeaten at home, so the respective stats in favour of both sides will make this a fascinating encounter. Hoffenheim are already through, and Red Star are highly likely to join them regardless of the result in Serbia this Thursday.
Europa League – Cluj vs CSKA Sofia [20:00 GMT]
Former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu was sacked as Cluj manager after their defeat in the cup at the weekend, so with the club lagging behind slightly both domestically and in Europe, the change of manager could see a reaction for the visit of CSKA Sofia, as a win would set up a winner takes all clash on matchday six with Young Boys. The Romanian champions are often involved in tight encounters. Both teams have scored just eight times in their last 24 matches, and in their 16 competitive wins since football restarted in the summer, 12 have been to nil, including the reverse fixture in Bulgaria.
CSKA are the lowest ranked side in this season’s Europa League and they have earned just one point so far meaning they are already out of contention, but amazingly, that single point came away to group leaders Roma, the only points the Italians have dropped in the group. They have been very goal-shy in this competition though, still failing to break their duck four games in, while just two of their last nine games have seen BTTS, including their last three defeats, which all came in this competition. CSKA have won just one of their last nine against Romanian opponents, and they have also won just one of their last 21 Europa League group stage matches, losing 15 in that run.
Europa League – Roma vs Young Boys [20:00 GMT]
Despite a remarkable hammering at the hands of Napoli on Sunday, Roma have been impressive for most of the season, with former Premier League trio, Edin Dzeko, Pedro and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all in superb form. Roma’s five matches preceding the Napoli match saw them win all of them with a -1 handicap and even when they have not been winning this season, they have still been finding the net regularly, including in 2-2 draws with Juventus and Cagliari and a 3-3 draw with Serie A leaders AC Milan.
Young Boys have been in pleasant form in Switzerland, but that level is significantly below the standard set in UEFA competition as the only elite side they have faced this season was Roma on matchday one at home, and they lost. They now travel to the Stadio Olimpico, which Roma have turned into a fortress both domestically and on the continent. The Giallorossi are unbeaten in ten at home and they have never lost a Europa League tie in the Italian capital.
Europa League – Nice vs Bayer Leverkusen [20:00 GMT]
Avoid a battering on the Cote d’Azur and Leverkusen will progress to the Last 32 of this season’s Europa League. Their back-to-back wins over Hapoel Be’er Sheva means the Israelis cannot leapfrog the Germans now, and their 6-2 win over Nice on matchday one means Les Aiglons need to win 4-0, 5-1 or by a 5+ margin to have any chance of finishing above Peter Bosz’s side. This should lead to a very offensive mentality from the outset by Patrick Vieira’s men, which may play right into the hands of a Leverkusen side that have been free scoring of late.
They have scored four goals on four occasions in their last six matches, and scoring six in that tie with Nice and seven against Norderstedt in the DFB-Pokal, as the side are the Europa League top scorers with 14 goals in four games. Only Celtic and Ludogorets have conceded more than Nice’s 12 in this season’s group stage. They are also on a rotten run, which has seen them lose four in a row, but they enjoy a goal-fest just as much as their German counterparts, with eight of their last ten games seeing over 2.5 goals.
*Odds as of time of writing (Wednesday 2nd November 2020) and subject to change
Europa League MW5 Fixtures
Group A: Roma vs Young Boys, CFR Cluj vs CSKA Sofia
Group B: Arsenal vs Rapid Wien, Molde vs Dundalk
Group C: Slavia Praha vs Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Nice vs Leverkusen
Group D: Benfica vs Lech Poznań, Rangers vs Standard Liège
Group E: Granada vs PSV Eindhoven, Omonoia vs PAOK
Group F: AZ Alkmaar vs Napoli, Real Sociedad vs Rijeka
Group G: AEK Athens vs Braga, Zorya Luhansk vs Leicester
Group H: AC Milan vs Celtic, LOSC Lille vs Sparta Praha
Group I: Qarabag vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor vs Villarreal
Group J: LASK vs Tottenham, Royal Antwerp vs Ludogorets
Group K: CSKA Moskva vs Wolfsburg, Feyenoord vs Dinamo Zagreb
Group L: Gent vs Slovan Liberec, Crvena Zvezda vs Hoffenheim
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