With most of the attention on the Champions League earlier in the week, the Europa League takes centre stage on Thursday evening. Manchester United and Arsenal will represent the Premier League while Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers will fly the flag for Scotland.
As is the norm in Europe’s secondary club competition, the first batch of matches will get underway at 5:55pm with the next set of fixtures taking place at 8:00pm. The Europa League offers fans approximately four hours of exhilarating football.
Enough chitchat, let’s get down to the best Europa League bets of the week. With the two Premier League clubs featuring near the top of the outright tournament odds, we could see big performances from United and Arsenal on matchday one. Watch this space...
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Arsenal
Eintracht have won all five competitive home games this season and a sixth could be on the cards when Arsenal visit the Commerzbank Arena on Thursday evening. If everything goes to plan, the Bundesliga outfit could be celebrating come the final whistle.
Arsenal have been very hit and miss in recent weeks – Unai Emery has come under scrutiny for some of the performances. The Gunners have picked up eight points from a possible 15 in the Premier League but a run of results in Europe could lift the mood in north London.
Both teams to score (12/25) looks like the way to go here. Eintracht have been solid on home soil but Arsenal have the quality to punish the German side. The opening goal of this one could turn out to be decisive.
TIP: Both teams to score (12/25)
Rennes vs Celtic
Currently second in Ligue 1, Rennes have enjoyed lots of success in the early stages of the 2019/20 campaign. Julien Stephan’s men defeated the mighty Paris Saint-Germain just a couple of weeks ago and the hosts will fancy their chances of claiming three points here.
Celtic are three points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a perfect start to the season. The Bhoys have failed to inspire confidence away from home in European football in recent years but Brendan Rodgers’ side will be quietly confident of springing a shock.
Punters should take the 11/10 for Rennes to open their Europa League campaign with a win on Thursday night. Confidence is high in the French camp ahead of this year’s competition and we could see a strong performance from the hosts.
TIP: Rennes to win (11/10)
Rangers vs Feyenoord
Rangers have lost just one of their last 12 home games and Steven Gerrard will be urging his side to attack Feyenoord from the off. The Scottish side have kept three clean sheets in four Europa League games so far this season – a good omen for their chances here…
Feyenoord are unbeaten in nine matches in 2019/20 and the Eredivisie side will fancy their chances at Ibrox on Thursday night. Scoring goals comes naturally for Jaap Stam’s men, with Feyenoord topping over 2.5 goals in three of their last four games.
With that in mind, over 2.5 goals looks overpriced at 26/25. An early goal could set the tone for the rest of the evening and this could turn out to be one of the games of the round. This has all the makings of an open and exciting game of football.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals (26/25)
Manchester United vs Astana
Man United laboured to a 1-0 victory over Leicester City in their most recent Premier League game but the Red Devils will take that at this moment in time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team selection will be very interesting indeed ahead of the visit of Astana on Thursday.
The visitors are massive underdogs to win at Old Trafford but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Astana cause problems for Man United. With the Kazakhstan domestic season now in the business end of the campaign, Astana will be 100% match fit and ready to play.
There is next to no value in backing the hosts to win but the 3/4 for United to score in both halves is worth considering. If Solskjaer wrings the changes, United’s youngsters and fringe players could put on a show as they look to impress the Red Devils boss.
TIP: Man United to score in both halves (3/4)
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Matt Dunham / AP Photo*