Aston Villa vs Zrinjski MostarUEFA Europa League Conference, KO: 20:00 Oct 5, 2023, Villa Park
ASTON VILLA will be looking to kick-start their Europa Conference League group stage campaign with victory against Zrinjski Mostar at Villa Park on Thursday night.
After hammering Hibernian by an 8-0 aggregate scoreline in the playoff round, Unai Emery's side were caught cold in a 3-2 loss at Legia Warsaw in their opening Group E encounter.
However, the Villians have responded to that setback in pretty impressive style with a 1-0 win at Chelsea before battering Brighton 6-1 at home on Saturday.
Back on home turf this midweek, Villa now switch their attention back to continental matters when they welcome Zrinjski Mostar.
The Bosnian outfit made it clear to the rest of the section that they are not here just to make up the numbers when staging a miraculous second-half comeback to defeat AZ Alkmaar 4-3 on matchday one.
Last time out, Krunoslav Rendulić's side moved up to fourth place in Bosnian Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win at Igman Konjic.
Aston Villa are red-hot 1/8 favourites with Bet 365 to bounce back from their opening night defeat against Legia Warsaw.
Despite upsetting the odds with their aforementioned victory over AZ, visitors Zrinjski Mostar are massive underdogs at 28/1 (Ladbrokes) while the draw is also deemed unlikely at 7/1 (Ladbrokes) with the same firm.
Given the lowly odds about an Aston Villa win here it's a case of having to get creative to eke out backable price with a view to getting the hosts onside.
I'll therefore head to the Bet Builder market and combine Aston Villa to score in each half and Aston Villa to score 3 or more goals during the match at 11/10 (William Hill)
Following their shock opening night setback, Aston Villa can ill-afford another stumble here but they should make no mistake against a Zrinjski Mostar side that are the bottom seeds in the section.
Granted, Krunoslav Rendulić's upset AZ Alkmaar in their curtain-raiser, however they did lose away from home in Europa qualifying to lesser lights Breiðablik and LASK Linz, which doesn't augur well ahead of a visit to Aston Villa.
Unai Emery will demand a response following his sides' wobble in Warsaw and given they strength in depth the Villa boss has at his disposal his side should be able to overcome the Bosnians with room to spare.
This bet would have paid out in both of Aston Villa's qualifying win over Hibernian and I see no reason to oppose the same formula here when faced with a similar standard of opposition.
Team news permitting, I'll also have small play on Aston Villa's Jhon Durán to either score or assist at 8/11 with Bet 365.
The highly-rated Colombian striker has notched in each of the two European games he has started for Villa term and he looks nicely priced to continue that trend at home to group underdogs Zrinjski Mostar.
This UEFA Europa League Conference match between Aston Villa and Zrinjski Mostar will be played on Oct 5, 2023 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Aston Villa vs Zrinjski Mostar prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.