Europa League Tips – Thursday 15th September
After a mix up last week (my bad!), I didn’t get my Europa League tips posted up in time, so I am hoping that this week, not only do I manage to get them posted up on the site at the right time, but that they may also land us a winner or two!
Over the years, the Europa League has been pretty kind to me, giving me some of my best wins of the season and I’m hopeful that the new slimmed down tournament, which I think is much better and much stronger than it used to be, will still offer us the chance of some midweek profit at the bookies expense.
Last week we saw Manchester United defeated at home by Real Sociedad with manager Erik Ten Haag making a number of changes for that game, most notably giving first team starts to Harry Maguire, Casemiro, Fred and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While United lost to the Spanish side, Arsenal also rested a number of key players but still emerged triumphant with a 2-1 win away to Swiss side FC Zurich. The much-changed Gunners saw Marquinhos score on his debut for the team with Eddie Nketiah scoring what would prove to be the winner after FC Zurich equalised from the penalty spot.
AS Roma went down to a surprising defeat against Ludogorets while Lazio impressed in a 4-2 win over Feyenoord.
This week Man Utd fly to Moldova to take on Sheriff Tiraspol in a game that is now very important to them, especially given that Sheriff were 3-0 winners last week. Arsenal face PSV Eindhoven in what is arguably the pick of the games in the Europa League last week.
Let’s take a look at the tips I’ve put together for Thursday Night’s action.
Europa League Betting Tips: Thursday 15th September
There’s no doubt that teams don’t like playing away in countries like Turkey and Greece due to the incredible atmosphere the home teams can generate for these games. SC Freiburg are not one of the biggest names in Germany, but they will certainly feel the atmosphere when they travel to Athens to take on one of the stalwarts of European competition, Olympiakos.
The Greek side were unlucky to lose to a very late Nantes winner in their first game and their recent record suggests that they are a team that are hard to beat, but who also struggle to pick up the wins and that certainly seemed to be the case last week in France.
Freiburg battled hard to beat Qarabag at home last week, despite the Azerbaijani side having more of the possession and more shots in the game. However, that is a template Freiburg have used well to reach Europe last season in the Bundesliga and to be sitting at the top end of the table this season too.
With that in mind, I can’t quite see Freiburg having enough to win this game, but by the same token, Olympiakos form of late suggests to me that against a solid, well-organised and disciplined team, they may struggle to break them down. With that in mind, I think a draw does look by far the most likely result.
Manchester United find themselves under pressure in this game following their 1-0 home defeat by Sociedad. You may recall that I had that game down as a draw as I felt United were not as strong as their recent results suggested and that proved to be the case, only it was worse for United than I expected.
In contrast, Sheriff Tiraspol scored a comfortable 3-0 away win against Omonia Nicosia and they know that if they can pick up a win here, or even a draw, then they would be in a very strong position in this group, albeit with trips to the Anoeta and Old Trafford to come.
So while this isn’t quite a must win game for United, I do feel it is a must lose and with games off at the weekend, I think Erik Ten Hag may well decide to play more first teamers in this game and that may make things more difficult for the home side, as that United team is in very good form.
As such, while I can see Sheriff Tiraspol, who beat Real Madrid in the group stage last season, scoring a goal, I think United will do enough to win the game if, and this is key, they play their strongest, or close to their strongest team in the game.
Both Rennes and Fenerbahce started their Europa League campaigns with a 2-1 win, and both will know that avoiding defeat here would keep them in the top two positions in the group. I think both will also feel that these two games between each other may well be the toughest two games they face in the Group Stage.
With that in mind, I think the onus is more on Rennes here to get a result. I can see Fenerbahce being happy to sit back and absorb pressure and then try to hit the French side on the break. Rennes form this season has been inconsistent with 2 wins, draws and losses apiece in Ligue 1. Fenerbahce have been more consistent in the Turkish Super Liga but against generally weaker opponents.
Looking at these two teams, I think Fenerbahce may just have the edge in terms of personnel, but I think with home advantage and having a strong team mentality, Rennes should do enough to avoid defeat and as such, I think the draw is the one to go for here and I think given both teams tendency to score goals, a scoring draw is the most likely outcome.
Arsenal have begun this season very well and a win in Switzerland over Zurich, while giving a number of their first team regulars a rest, was the start that Mikel Arteta would have wanted. However, against PSV, who are likely to be their toughest opponents in this group, I think the Spaniard may elect to pick a stronger team for this game.
PSV started like a house on fire in the Dutch League scoring four, five, six and seven goals in amongst their first five games, but they were beaten by FC Twente recently and could only manage to pick up a draw at home against Bodo Glimt last week, which is a poor result by their standards.
With the Gunners having home field advantage here, I would expect them to have the most of the ball and given how PSV have been playing of late, I think they are going to struggle to keep the home side out in this game.
It’s hard to see PSV not scoring in this game given how prolific their attack has been, but even so I would still expect Arsenal to emerge as the comfortable winners here.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.