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Thursday’s Europa League Tips: 7th December
by the Cheeky Punter
The final set of fixtures in the Europa League Group Stage takes place on Thursday night and for some teams, it is simply the final fixture to get out of the way before they concentrate on their domestic season having been eliminated. For others, it is the final group game before they go on to take place in the Knockout Phase in the New Year.
I’ve decided to focus on the two English teams with these selections, plus two matches between teams that will decide the winner of the group.
Here’s hoping that this selection of fixtures ends our Europa League group stage tips with a nice sizeable profit…
Football Betting Tips: Thursday 7th November
December 7, 2017
December 7, 2017
Apollon Limassol and Everton are both eliminated from Group E, with Atalanta and Lyon well clear of the two teams clashing tonight.
Everton have now appointed Allardyce as their new manager and he will no doubt use this game as a chance to evaluate his squad options.
Apollon managed to earn a draw at Goodison Park the last time the teams met back on Match Day 2.
Apollon have drawn both their home games in this tournament 1-1 against Lyon and Atalanta. Everton’s two away matches have both been 3-0 defeats.
Appollon fans will be hoping to claim a famous scalp if they can beat Everton on home soil. The Cypriots earned a fine draw away at Everton in the first game between the teams and they have held both Atalanta and Lyon on home soil.
However, they are a limited side and in truth, they have performed above themselves to earn those points against Lyon and Atalanta. I think this Everton side, now with Sam Allardyce as the manager, will be seeking to build on their better recent form and build some confidence especially away from home.
I do see Sam Allardyce ringing some changes here to give some squad players a chance and oddly enough, I think that improves Everton’s chances as players will want to impress the new boss and prove they are worthy of a regular place in the team.
As such, as crazy as this sounds given their form in the tournament so far and with this being a meaningless game, I think that is to Everton’s benefit so I’m backing them to win here.
Both teams have qualified from Group E already. Atalanta lead the group on goal difference from Lyon so this game decides the winner.
Lyon must win or achieve a draw, scoring two goals or more, in order to leapfrog Atalanta and finish at the top of the table tonight.
A win or draw of 0-0 or 1-1 will be enough for Atalanta to hold on to top spot in the group and claim a seeded position in the draw for the next round of the competition.
The game between the two teams played in Lyon on the second Match Day of the competition finished in a 1-1 draw.
The question I had to ask myself here about both these teams is whether the lure of a seeded position in the draw for the next round of the tournament is enough of an incentive for them to play strong teams in this match and given the strength of these sides and the fact that 8 Champions League third-place finishers will be dropping into the Europa League in the New Year, I feel that it is.
Atalanta hold the advantage here as they are at home for this final game and they also have a slightly better goal difference. With the teams drawing 1-1 in Lyon that means if Atalanta win, or draw 0-0 or 1-1, then they will go through as the first-place side in Group E.
To deny them that, Lyon need to win the game or draw it 2-2 or more. That is a big ask between two sides that have proven to be very adept at getting key results when required in this competition and who have been obdurate opponents, especially away from home.
With both teams unbeaten I find it hard to separate them here and I think a draw is certainly the most likely outcome, however I’m not sure which team will celebrate that result at the end of the game.
Arsenal have qualified from Group H with 10 points and will top the group regardless of the outcome of this game with BATE.
BATE are battling with Belgrade & Koln for a place in the KO phase and need a win in this game, plus the other teams to draw.
When the teams met in Borisov Arsenal came through convincing 4-2 winners on the second Match Day of the tournament.
Arsenal have consistently played a weaker team in this tournament and will likely do so again for their final game in the group stage.
Arsene Wenger has made it clear that the Europa League is not a top priority for Arsenal having played a weakened second-string side in all of their group games thus far. Even so, the Gunners have clinched qualification as Group Winners with one game to spare so the pressure is off the youngsters in this final home game of the campaign.
Oddly enough, the Gunners haven’t been that great at home so far. Koln gave them a scare before losing 3-1, while Red Star Belgrade provided an uncomfortable night when they held Arsenal 0-0 a few weeks back.
BATE were soundly beaten on the road in Koln 5-2 last time out but have earned a creditable point in Belgrade against Red Star and they are certainly a better side than the 4-2 home loss to Arsenal’s reserve team suggests.
That said, with the pressure off the young Gunners can enjoy this one and I think they have the quality to get a decent result here.
Both these teams have already qualified from Group L. Zenit are top by one point from Real Sociedad.
Sociedad’s only defeat in this competition was a 3-1 loss to Zenit in the second game of the groups.
Zenit are unbeaten having won all three of their home games, plus 5-0 away at Vardar Skopje. They also earned a point in a 1-1 draw at Rosenborg.
The winner of this match will be seeded in the draw for the Knockout Phase. If the teams draw, then Zenit will progress as group winners.
I think this has the potential to be one of the best games of the evening, if both sides are fully committed to winning the game. I can see Zenit adopting a more cautious approach as they only need a draw to win the group, so that puts the onus on Real Sociedad to try and push for the win.
The Spanish team are in decent form at the moment and that win in Norway last time out has bolstered their chances of winning the group. The Anoeta is a tough place for any team to go and win, although a draw should not be beyond a side like Zenit who have some talented players such as Aleksandr Kokorin, Christian Noboa, Yuri Zhirkov and Domenico Criscito.
Roberto Mancini will know that a seeded spot in the knockout phase is preferable to not being seeded, but getting the draw to secure that against a side like Sociedad who have a fine home record is not going to be easy.
I see this game as being close with just a few minutes to go and then the home side perhaps sneaking a goal to record a win, hence I am backing Sociedad to keep up their good form and snag the win here.
The Cheeky Punter is an ex 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.