Europa League Tips – Thursday 25th November
After the Champions League games earlier this week, the action turns to the other two competitions in Europe, the Europa League and the Europa Conference League and we are going to be focusing on the former of the two competitions for our second set of tips this week.
The new look Europa League has certainly seen an increase in the quality of games and the difficulty of the games for the teams and it is now very much a top European competition. I was a little skeptical about the changes to be fair, but as the season has worn on, I think the Europa League has the potential to become a very good competition to win.
I’m still not sure about the Champions League teams that finish 3rd in their groups dropping into the tournament after Christmas, I think those teams have enough of an advantage from the finance they get from being in the Champions League, I would like to see that phased out, but Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas so I can’t see that happening any time soon.
Anyway, there are some great games coming up in the Europa League this week. Leicester face a must win game at home to Legia Warsaw, West Ham can qualify with a win over Rapid Vienna in Austria, while Celtic (who face Leverkusen) and Rangers (who take on Sparta Prague) both also have must-win games.
A lot could be decided in the Europa League with this set of games and with only Lyon confirmed through as group winners, I expect there to be a few names joining them in the next round of the competition after Christmas following the games this week. Here’s my tips for the best of them.
Europa League Betting Tips: Thursday 25th November
It’s very hard to make a case for Celtic to get something from this game given how the German side completely dismantled the Scottish team at Celtic Park on Matchday 2. On home soil, you’d expect Bayer to put in a similarly high level of performance and as such, they start the game as the clear favourites.
Celtic’s form going into the first game between the two teams wasn’t great, but it has improved markedly of late, but I do feel that when Celtic step up against high calibre opponents, as Leverkusen clearly are, the Scottish side do tend to struggle.
That said, they did well last time out to earn a win in Hungary over Ferencvaros and I think that they will go for it here and may well grab a goal in Germany, but I can’t really see that being enough for them to clinch the win.
As such, I am going to back Bayer Leverkusen to come away with the win which will not only confirm their place in the Knockout Stage of the competition after Christmas, but could also see them confirmed as winners of the group, if Real Betis fail to win.
West Ham come into this game on the back of a loss to Wolves at the weekend, but David Moyes team remain in the top four and they have otherwise enjoyed a fantastic start to the season both domestically and also in their first European campaign in many years.
Three wins and a draw means that West Ham just need a point from this game in Vienna to ensure progress to the knockout phase, while a win will ensure them top spot in the group and a bye through the first round of Knockout Games in the Europa League following the New Year.
That will be a big incentive for the Hammers here, as will getting back to winning ways after the loss to Wolves. Manager Moyes won’t want his team’s superb start to the season being derailed by two successive losses.
With the Hammers picking strong teams in this tournament so far, I expect them to do so again here against a Vienna side that I think are very ordinary and I would be very surprised if the Londoners don’t run out 2-1 or even 3-1 winners here.
With their final group game away to Lyon, Rangers fans must feel that this is a game that their team must win and win by a better score than the 1-0 result Sparta Prague managed in the first game between the teams, if they are to stand any chance of reaching the next stage of the competition along with Lyon.
With Sparta Prague having their last game against Brondby, that should be a relatively comfy three points for them, so Rangers are going to need that three-point cushion, and a better head-to-head record, if they are going to qualify.
With four Sparta Prague key first team players a real doubt for this game, plus Rangers playing at home, I do think we can expect to see plenty of action at both ends, perhaps in contrast to the somewhat attritional battle we saw between the two in Prague.
Roared on by their home fans, I think Rangers have a point to prove here and they need to go for the win. I can see them conceding, but I can also see them scoring a few goals and that should be just enough to ensure they steal a place in the next round of the competition.
Quite simply, this is a game that Leicester City must win and ideally, must win by a large scoreline to bring themselves back into contention in the group. Strangely, even though they have won just one game in the group phase so far, if Leicester can win both their last two games, they will top the group.
That should be motivation enough for the Foxes to get back to winning ways as they have not tasted a win since a 2-1 victory over Brentford back in October, a penalties win in the EFL Cup over Brighton notwithstanding.
Legia’s form at the moment is shocking. Since beating Leicester, they have played eight times, losing seven and their only win came against a lower league team in the Polish cup. If Leicester cannot land the win that they so badly need here, then questions will be asked.
I do feel the Foxes will win this game and will win it very comfortably if they can play their best. I also feel that they will be well aware of the need to improve their goal difference, so I think that this will contribute to a game with plenty of goals.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.