Champions League football takes centre stage on Tuesday and Wednesday but it is the turn of the Europa League on Thursday night. With two Premier League clubs still involved as we enter the quarter-finals, there is still a significant British interest in the competition.
Arsenal were handed the short straw in the quarter-finals draw; Unai Emery’s side will have to get the better of Italian giants Napoli over two legs. The Gunners had been in great form before losing to Everton though and Arsenal fans will be hoping for a positive result.
Meanwhile, Chelsea face a tough trip to the Czech Republic. Slavia Prague sent shockwaves across Europe after beating Sevilla over two legs in the previous round and Maurizio Sarri’s side will be wary of another upset – Chelsea should prove too strong in this one.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at all four Europa League quarter-finals. Another huge night of European football awaits as the race for supremacy in the continent’s secondary club tournament heats up.
ARSENAL vs NAPOLI
Arsenal have been sensational on home soil for most of 2018/19 and the Gunners will head into this contest as slight favourites. 7/5 for Emery’s side to take a lead into the second leg is a solid enough price given their efforts in recent months.
Napoli have admitted defeat in the Serie A title race but Carlo Ancelotti’s men will fancy their chances of Europa League glory. The odds are stacked against the Italian outfit in Thursday’s first leg but the visitors have enough quality to score at the Emirates.
For me, both teams to score looks the best option at 11/20. It isn’t the most glamorous tip but it looks likely with so much offensive talent on display. Arsenal fans may be tempted by the 5/2 for a home win with goals at both ends…
TIP: Both teams to score @ 11/20
PREDICTED SCORE: Arsenal 2-1 Napoli (Priced at 15/2 with 888sport)
BENFICA vs EINTRACHT FRANKFURT
Benfica have been consistent players on the European stage for the best part of a decade – the Portuguese outfit will be quietly confident of reaching the final four. Victory in front of an expectant home crowd is a must; 13/10 is an outstanding price.
Eintracht are in red hot form though – the Bundesliga side are unbeaten in 15 competitive fixtures. With that in mind, opting for the visitors to avoid defeat once again might be the best bet. The 16/25 for Eintracht to pick up a positive result is worth considering.
European games can be cagey and this could turn out to be a relatively uneventful affair. The onus will be on Benfica to go forward but 23/25 for under 2.5 goals is a reasonable enough price ahead of what should be a close contest.
TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 23/25
PREDICTED SCORE: Benfica 1-1 Eintracht (Priced at 6/1 with 888sport)
Slavia Prague vs CHELSEA
Slavia Prague sent shockwaves across Europe after defeating Sevilla over two legs. The game on home soil was vital to the final result of the tie; the hostile crowd helping to unsettle the Spanish side from start to finish.
Chelsea are up to third in the Premier League table but the Blues will be targeting silverware in this competition. Currently 6/1 to lift the Europa League trophy next month, Sarri’s men know that a win in Prague will stand them in good stead to reach the semi-finals.
Punters should take the 13/20 available for Chelsea to win on Thursday night. The Premier League side should prove too strong for their opponents and the Blues can take a big step towards the final four with a comfortable victory away from home.
TIP: Chelsea to win @ 13/20
PREDICTED SCORE: Slavia Prague 0-2 Chelsea (Priced at 13/2 with 888sport)
VILLARREAL vs VALENCIA
At the time of writing, Villarreal are languishing down in the La Liga relegation zone and this competition might not be their top priority. In fact, avoiding the drop will be their main aim for the rest of the campaign but 8/5 for a home win here is still a good price.
Valencia are slight favourites at 11/20 to go through over two legs and avoiding defeat in the first leg will help their cause. The Spanish giants have previous in European competition and it would be great for neutrals to see Valencia reach the next round.
Two teams who know each other inside out, both teams to score looks well priced at 41/50. This could turn out to be a very tactical affair but Villarreal will want to make the most of home advantage in Thursday’s first leg.
TIP: Both teams to score @ 41/50
PREDICTED SCORE: Villarreal 1-1 Valencia (Priced at 5/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*