The Europa League | Match Previews & Betting Tips

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The magic of the Europa League returns to our screens on Thursday evening. Okay, it may not be the Champions League, but football's football. We love it, you love it, everybody loves it. We're here to highlight, preview and tip on five of the most intriguing clashes over two legs not the group stages are done and dusted. So without further ado, let's head to Germany...


 

BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH VS. FIORENTINA

Paulo Sousa takes his Fiorentina to Germany on Thursday night, aiming to get at least an away goal to take back to Florence for the second leg. However, Sousa’s side have lost four of their last six games on the road, and with Gladbach looking decent in the Champions League – who unfortunately for them they were in the same group as Barcelona and Manchester City – the Germans will fancy their chances of a decent run in the Europa League.

Gladbach are in great form and have won their last four games in all competitions. They also haven’t conceded in their last three games, which shows exactly what sort of task Fiorentina face on Thursday evening.

What We Sayin’?

We think this one will be comfortable for the hosts and 2-0 to Gladbach along with Andre Hahn to score first at 45/1 looks too good to turn down.


 

CELTA VIGO VS. SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Shakhtar come into this one on the back of a 24-game unbeaten streak and 11 wins on the spin. This may or may not be down to the Ukrainian Premier League being absolutely rubbish, but even so, that’s not a bad little run.

And that sequence of results is quite a bit better than hosts Celta, who have lost their last two games by the odd goal and have won once in their last five matches in all competitions. However, the Spanish side have never lost against Shakhtar, as the two meet for the first time since 2000, where Vigo triumphed in a 1-0 aggregate victory.

What We Sayin’?

Although Shakhtar have lost their stars from a few years ago, a few remain in Ukraine and the likes of Marlos, Bernard and captain Darijo Srna will be key if they are to get a result. We’re backing them  but also backing BTTS and Over 2.5 goals at 5/4.


 

KAA GENT VS. TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

English interest in this one as Gent play host to Champions League bottlers Tottenham in the competition. Spurs will be hoping to bounce back from the weekend defeat to Liverpool by taking an advantage – or an away goal – from Belgium back to White Hart Lane for the second leg.

These two have never played each other, and Gent are mid-table in the Belgian League, mainly due to their inconsistency. They’ve only won twice in their last nine games in all competitions and Spurs should have enough about them to ensure victory.

What We Sayin’?

It’s difficult to know whether Mauricio Pochettino will rest players or not, but until the teams are revealed, our top tip is Christian Eriksen scoring first in a 0-2 away win at 40s.


 

MANCHESTER UNITED VS. SAINT-ETIENNE

The worry about this one at Old Trafford is that there could be ‘dab’ galore in the north-west with the Pogba brothers – Paul for the hosts and Florentin for the visitors – both on the pitch, along with Paul’s  dab partner Jesse Lingard. Aside from that, this should be a close fought contest with both sides in decent form.

Whilst United are unbeaten this year, their French opponents have lost only once in their last nine games across all competitions. Jose Mourinho’s side were slow starters in the group stages before picking up and qualifying later on, and a draw really wouldn’t be a surprise here. Remember Ricky Van Wolfswinkel? He had a horrendous time at Norwich, but tonight plays against United. Bizarre.

What We Sayin’?

We’re behind the younger PogbaPaul – to score before anyone else at 7/1.


 

VILLARREAL VS. ROMA

For us, this is the battle of the round, with both Villarreal and Roma having great seasons in both Spain and Italy respectively. This is such a tough one to call, with Villarreal, at 8/5, starting as ever so slight favourites at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Visitors Roma have dropped off the pace domestically and are currently seven points behind leaders Juventus, which may mean attentions turn fully onto the Europa League and success in the competition for the first time since their 1991 UEFA Cup win.

What We Sayin’?

Like Vigo vs. Shakhtar, these two have never clashed before, and we’re behind the draw for this game in Spain. A 1-1 scoreline would be our tip, but getting on a plain, old draw at 23/10 looks the safest option.


 

*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.

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