AZ ALKMAAR vs LYON
Lyon will be quietly confident of coming out on top against a spirited AZ Alkmaar side in the first leg on Thursday night. The French side slipped up last time out against Guingamp but should have enough quality to beat their Dutch opponents.
Alexandre Lacazette has notched 11 goals in his last ten appearances at club level and the France star could break the deadlock here. He has scored important goals on European nights before and he might be the difference maker again.
Alkmaar, currently fourth in Eredivisie, have won just one of their last four league games and all signs point towards a difficult encounter for the hosts. If Lyon go for the jugular, the visitors should take an advantage back to France ahead of the second leg.
TIP: Lyon to win @ 8/9
OLYMPIAKOS vs OSMANLISPOR
The Greek side have an excellent home record in European football and I’m backing Paulo Bento’s men to continue their fine form in this clash. Olympiakos have dropped just nine points in the league this season but also look set to push for Europa League glory.
Fans were disappointed with Olympiakos finished second to APOEL in the group stages but it all worked out fine when the Greek side were paired up with Osmanlispor. The visitors are notoriously poor away from home and Olympiakos will be confident of the win.
Bento’s side will want to take a decent lead into the second leg in Turkey; Osmanlispor is a very hostile place to visit. Should Olympiakos play at their best, I can’t see past the home side getting off to a positive start on Thursday night.
TIP: Olympiakos to win @ 13/20
MANCHESTER UNITED vs ST ETIENNE
Jose Mourinho may roll the dice and make a few changes ahead of Thursday’s clash with St Etienne but the Manchester United boss will be keen to maintain momentum ahead of the business end of the campaign.
United, who are on a 16-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League, have climbed the table in recent weeks but now turn their attention to a run of cup fixtures; including two Europa League games, an FA Cup clash and an EFL Cup final at Wembley.
St Etienne aren’t a bad side by any stretch of the imagination but United are probably the strongest side left in this year’s competition. With the Red Devils full of confidence right now, it is hard to see past a home win – I’m backing United to be leading at half-time.
TIP: Manchester United to win at half-time @ 39/50
VILLARREAL vs ROMA
Goals could be on the cards when Roma visit Villarreal – both teams are more than capable of hitting the back of the net. The hosts netted nine goals in the group stages whilst Roma managed 16 in just six games; an impressive feat.
Villarreal have struggled for form this season but you’d always fancy them to net at least once on home soil. One defeat in their last nine league games shows just how difficult they are to beat and the visitors will have their work cut out in this titanic battle.
Meanwhile, Roma are dangerous in attack and the likes of Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah can both flip a game on its head in a matter of moments. It is tough to predict a winner and that is why I’ve gone with both teams to score at a very appealing price of 4/5.
TIP: Both teams to score @ 4/5
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