We believe strongly in a regulated, safe and fair environment for gamblers. At CheekyPunter.com we pride ourselves on our independent and impartial reviews. Reviews are our own personal opinion and we do not accept financial compensation to influence the ratings included. We do however earn money from traffic referred to betting operatiors.
Europa League Tips: Thursday 14th February
by David Lenton
It is going to be a busy few weeks for teams in the Europa League. While the Champions League Round of 16 will see the two legs for each of the 16 teams drawn out over a five-week period, in the Europa League, the successful teams from the two legs of the Round of 32 taking place this week and next week, will then face a further two legs a short time later as the Round of 16 takes place.
That means the likes of Celtic, Chelsea and Arsenal could face an additional four fixtures on top of their domestic and other cup commitments in the coming weeks, which will certainly put their squads to the test.
We’ve had some good weeks in the Europa League with our tips over the last few years and I am hoping that the rest of the competition can be equally profitable for us too, starting with this selection of tips.
Footie Tips: Thursday 14th Feb
February 14, 2019
February 14, 2019
BATE Borisov finished second to Chelsea in their Europa League Group L. They ended up with nine points winning and losing three games apiece.
Arsenal were easy winners of Group E in the league stage, finishing with 16 points from their three games, three ahead of Sporting Lisbon in second.
Arsenal are currently in sixth place in the Premier League. Borisov are the 2018 Belarus Champions, but their 2019 League Season is not yet underway.
The teams last met in the Europa League group stage in 2017, their only two clashes to date. Arsenal winning 4-2 in Borisov and then 6-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal will have good memories of the last time these two teams met at the end of 2017, the Gunners smashed in ten goals over the two legs of the Europa League Group Stage clash, conceding just two and in truth BATE were outclassed on both occasions.
It is hard to see how this game is going to go much different for the Belarus Champions, who are in the middle of their pre-season and I think that is a real disadvantage against an Arsenal team who are fully fit and firing on all cylinders. Even at their best BATE would find this touch but with their fitness levels likely to be lower, this could be a real test.
Home advantage is going to be their best chance of getting a goal and they did make life difficult for Chelsea (who won this fixture 1-0 in the group stage) and in truth, that is the kind of result I can see Arsenal eking out here.
I am backing the Gunners to win to nil and to take a one or two goal lead back with them to the second leg in a week’s time in London.
Lazio finished second to Frankfurt in Group H to earn a place in the next phase. They ended up with nine points from their three games.
Sevilla finished top of Group J thanks to a better head to head record than Krasnodar. They won four and lost two of their six matches.
Both teams lie in fourth place in their respective domestic leagues, Lazio with 38 points from 23 games, Sevilla with 36 points from 22 games.
This encounter will be the first time that the two teams have faced each other in European competition.
As the stats above suggest, this looks like being one of the most evenly contested ties of the Round of 32 in the Europa League. In terms of their domestic records, both teams have very similar performances over the season and even their Europa League records are not markedly different, especially considering Sevilla arguably had the easier group.
What cannot be overlooked is that of the two teams, Sevilla have by far the stronger record in this competition than Lazio, or indeed than any other team in recent years. That’s no guarantee of success of course, but it does mean that they know exactly what is required to go all the way in this competition.
Lazio have flattered to deceive a little in contrast in the Europa League and in truth, their recent form doesn’t suggest to me a team that has the ability to earn a win in this fixture either at home or away from home.
Still, I also feel on home soil, Lazio are very tough to beat so I think a draw is the most likely result which will set up a massive second leg in Seville in a weeks time.
Celtic did well to qualify from Group B knocking out Red Bull Leipzig to claim second spot behind Salsburg. They are currently top of the Scottish League.
Valencia finished third in their Champions League group to drop into this tournament in the New Year. They are mid-table in La Liga having drawn 12 games so far.
Celtic have not conceded a goal in any of their last six games, winning all six. Valencia have lost just once in their last seven games.
The teams have met twice previously in the 2001-02 Europa League, both legs finished 1-0 to the home side, with Valencia progressing through thanks to a 5-4 penalty shootout victory.
Celtic had Rosenborg to thank for reaching this stage of the competition as the Norwegian’s unlikely victory over Red Bull Leipzig in the final group game meant that despite defeat to unbeaten Group winners Red Bull Salzburg, Celtic made it through to the next stage.
However, they drew a very tough Valencia side, who drew at Old Trafford and beat Manchester United at the Mestalla in the Champions League Group Stage earlier this season and despite being something of draw specialists in La Liga (they have drawn 12 games so far this season, by far the most of any team in that division), they will be confident of getting a result against Celtic.
The Scottish Champions may dominate domestically but as they showed in the group stages of this tournament, they tend to be found out against better quality opponents from across Europe and Valencia are a step up from the likes of Leipzig, Rosenborg and co.
As such, while Celtic Park will have a white-hot atmosphere, the quality of Valencia’s players in midfield mean that I can’t see the Spaniards losing this game. A draw is possible if Celtic play to their best, but I still feel an away win is the most likely outcome.
The Swedish season does not get underway until late March which means that this is essentially a pre-season game for the Swedish team.
Chelsea came through their group phase easily winning their group at a canter and they currently lie in fourth place in the Premier League.
On loan striker Gonzalo Higuain will be able to play for Chelsea thanks to a rule change last summer which means he is no longer cup-tied having already played for Milan this season.
This will be the first time the two teams have met in European competition.
Malmo sprung something of a surprise in Group I when they pipped the much-fancied Besiktas to the second place spot in the group behind Belgian side Genk. While there is no doubt Besiktas under-performed, with just one defeat from their six games, you cannot deny that Malmo deserved their place in the Round of 32.
Chelsea romped home in Group L with 16 points from their six games, seven ahead of BATE Borisov in second and in truth, Mauricio Sarri’s men will be very confident of picking up the win here. Thanks to a rule change coming into force before the start of the season, Gonzalo Higuain, who has already played for Milan in this competition this season, will be eligible to play for Chelsea if selected.
Chelsea’s biggest concern may be the amount of fixtures they have coming up over the next few weeks and as such, they could rest some key players for this game and that may be a bigger danger to them winning than anything Malmo, who are still in pre-season, will offer.
That said, even a Chelsea side minus a few key men should have more than enough quality to get the job done here and it is difficult to see Malmo managing to find the net, even on home soil.
David 'the Cheeky Punter' Lenton is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has also worked for a number of top bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. With such a long time spent dedicated to the gambling industry no one is better placed when it comes to advising punters. Follow on Twitter @thecheekypunter