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Europa League Tips: Thursday April 13th
by the Cheeky Punter
The Europa League has provided us with some good returns over the last couple of seasons and I’m hopeful that my good form, which has seen me land a couple of accas and a number of single bets over the last couple of weeks, will continue into tonight’s set of fixtures.
This set of games is the first leg of the quarter final of the competition and Manchester United are the team most British fans will be interested in as they take on the famous Belgian side Anderlecht. Here’s how I think these first leg games will go.
UEFA Europa League Predictions: 13/04/2017
April 13, 2017
April 13, 2017
Ajax overturned a 2-1 deficit in the first leg of the Round of 16 against Copenhagen.
Schalke 04 shocked many pundits with an away goals victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the last round.
The two teams have never met in European competition before.
Ajax lie 2nd in the league while Schalke are languishing in 12th place in the Bundesliga.
Ajax vital win over Feyenoord at the weekend kept them in the title race and puts them in a great frame of mind for the visit of Schalke 04. The Dutch side have lost just three times this season and have an excellent home record.
Schalke’s form in Europe has been better than their league form which sees them lying a disappointing 12th in the table, however Ajax are a class above most of the teams that they have faced already in the competition.
Given their home form, I’m backing Ajax to take a narrow lead into the second leg in Germany.
Last met in 2001 Champions League group stage, Utd winning 5-1 at Old Trafford and 1-2 in return leg.
United have not lost a league game since October 23rd but did lose twice away in group stages.
Anderlecht defeated Zenit St Petersburg and Apoel Nicosia to reach the quarter finals.
Manchester United beat Saint-Etienne and FC Rostov to earn a quarter final spot.
United’s away from in the Europa League this season hasn’t been great, and they face an Anderlecht side who are top of the Belgian Jupiler League and who have lost just one game in their last ten.
The Belgian side came through comfortably against Apoel Nicosia in the last round, but their opponents in the quarter finals will be a class above any team that they have faced in the competition this season and it will be a real test for this talented, but inexperienced side.
I fancy United to earn a draw here and then get the job done in the second leg at Old Trafford.
Genk won 2-0 away from home and Genk won 5-2 away from home to make quarters.
Iago Aspas, a flop at Anfield, has found his form this season for Celta scoring 21 in 38.
Genk lie eighth in the Belgian Jupiler league on 44 points from 28 games.
Celta Vigo are currently 10th in La Liga on 41 points from 28 games.
Both these teams have saved some of their best performances in this competition for their away games so I’m not expecting this to be quite as straightforward as the bookmakers are predicting it will be for the home side Celta.
Genk, as they showed against the likes of Athletic Bilbao and Gent in the last round, are certainly no mugs and they have some talented players who seem well-suited to playing on the counter attack and I think they have the ability to cause a little bit of a surprise here.
I’m backing the draw here which will set things up very nicely for the second leg next week.
Besiktas are five points clear at the top of the Turkish Super Lig, conceeding only 20.
Besiktas entered the Europa League as a third place finished in the Champions League.
Lyon are 3rd in Ligue 1, 20 points behind leaders Monaco and 16 behind Nice.
Lyon earned a Europa League spot from finishing third in their Champions’ League group.
Lyon surprised many by dumping AS Roma out at the last stage of the competition and likewise Besiktas came through well against an Olympiacos side that many expected would offer a greater challenge than they posed.
Besiktas are a side that traditionally don’t travel well in Europe, though they have become much harder to beat. Both these sides entered this competition after finishing third in their Champions’ League Group, so both should be battle ready here.
I think Lyon have the edge in terms of quality and I’m backing them to take a narrow lead to Turkey.
The Cheeky Punter is an professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for a number of top bookmakers including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. He's also written for a number of leading news outlets including the Guardian, i (newspaper) and Soccer Lens. More about him here.