IT’S Europa League night and once again we have to consider team news and take into account the fact some sides have already qualified.
Let’s start in Group A where Feyenoord, Fenerbahce and Man United are fighting for the top two places. Fenerbahce are 4-9 at bet365 to beat basement boys Zorya and should do so.
United and Feyenoord face off at Old Trafford and while it’s tough to call I like the look of both to score at 23-20 with William Hill.
In Group B it’s looking good for APOEL and Olympiakos. A draw will be fine for APOEL away to Astana while Olympiakos should book their last-32 place by beating a Young Boys side who have struggled on the road with just one goal in their last six outings.
The one concern about backing a home at 7-10 with Coral is the fact the Greek League is suspended and Olympiakos haven’t played since November 6.
Anderlecht and St Etienne are locked at the top of Group C with Mainz two points behind and Qabala out of it on no points. Anderlecht will be looking at taking three point from their trip to Azerbaijan but it’s never an easy place to go and Mainz could win in France against a side with one win in four if they play their strongest side.
Group D has been dominated by Zenit who have won it with four wins out of four. They will rest players at home to Maccabi and best bet could be over 2.5 goals at 7-9 with bwin.
Dundalk and AZ have four points and the Irish must be the most under-rated side in the tournament. They’ve performed brilliantly and it would be some achievement if they qualified.
In Group E Roma and Austria Vienna will qualify with home wins against Viktoria Plzen and Astra respectively.
Group F’s the tightest of all with one point separating the four teams. Athletic Bilbao are 1-2 at Stan James to beat a Sassuolo outfit who have lost four of their last five matches.
Leaders Genk are at home to Rapid Vienna and both could score at 10-11 with bet365 as they did when they met in Austria.
Ajax with 10 points are at home to Panathinaikos who have one point in Group G. Pana have the same problem as the other Greek teams and while Ajax could rest players they should win at 4-5 with Unibet.
Celta Vigo are fighting for second spot with Standard Liege and I’m on both teams to score when they meet in Spain. That pays 13-15 at 188Bet.
Group H is another that’s been won with Shakhtar Donetsk on maximum points. You know what that means – a weakened line-up at home to Konyaspor but probably still a win.
The other match sees Gent take on Braga in the fight for second place. Tough to call but hopefully there will be goals.
Schalke have won Group I ahead of their home meeting with Nice who have an outside chance of qualifying.
Russians Krasnodar are in pole position for second though and can beat Red Bull Salzburg at home. The Austrians face a strong side without several players including star man Jonathan Soriano. Krasnodar are 21-10 and worth backing.
Fiorentina are fighting Qarabag for top spot in Group J and should clinch it by beating PAOK at home. The Italians are in fine form and again PAOK have been inactive in Greece. Fiorentina are good for accumulators at 8-13 with Betfred.
The top two in Group K meet in the Czech Republic with Sparta Prague a decent shout against Southampton. Saints have been poor on the road in Europe and the Premier League with one win all season.
I don’t see them winning in Prague so try Sparta not to lose at 5-6 with Coral.
Group L is another tight one with any two from four going through. Swiss second tier side Zurich face a tough test at home to Villarreal while Steaua entertain leaders Osmanlispor.
Bets to Consider
Man Utd v Feyenoord btts
Dundalk not to lose
Sparta Prague not to lose
Genk v Rapid Vienna btts