Mark O’Haire’s Europa League Tips
This is the fifth successive season Tottenham have played in the Europa League group stages – and it shows.
Anderlecht v Tottenham, Thursday 22nd October 2015, 18.00, BT Sport Europe
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have looked pretty comfortable so far in Group J with four points from six to their name.
An opening matchday 3-1 win over Qarabag should not be underestimated as the Azerbaijani outfit have been improving year-on-year in Europe while a draw in Monaco three weeks ago was fair reward for the efforts they put in.
Their opponents on Thursday are Belgian side Anderlecht and their campaign in this secondary European competition hasn’t started as fluently as that of Spurs. A home draw to Monaco was followed up two weeks later by a defeat in Baku to Qarabag.
Although they sit third in the Belgian Jupiler league they’ve only managed to win six of their 11 domestic league fixtures this season.
It’s tempting to get with Spurs in this match but at 7/5 there are better options elsewhere. The draw looks a decent shout at 11/5 with Spurs only winning one of their three Europa League away group stage matches last season but as a saver it might be worth siding with a single goal Spurs win at 3/1.
Arsenal managed a narrow one goal win in Anderlecht last year so Spurs can definitely aspire to that kind of result.
Draw @ 11/5
Tottenham to win by exactly one goal @ 3/1
Liverpool v Rubin Kazan, Thursday 22nd October 2015, 20.05, BT Sport 2
A new era at Anfield begins on Thursday night as Jurgen Klopp takes charge of Liverpool for the first time at the famous old stadium. Expect a raucous atmosphere!
While his side can feel encouraged by taking a point away from White Hart Lane on Saturday, that match did prove that there’s lots of work to be done at the club and any thoughts of an overnight transformation should be completely dismissed.
Step 2 on the Klopp journey is this match against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League.
After finishing fifth in the Russian league last season, it’s gone horribly wrong for Rubin so far this season as they lie down in 12th place in their 16-team domestic league.
Victories have been hard to find at home and indeed in the Europa League where they’ve lost in Switzerland to Sion and been involved in a home goalless draw with Bordeaux three weeks ago.
Liverpool themselves need to find that elusive victory after two draws so far in Group B and that should be achieved on Thursday night. At 40/85 they’re not a rich man’s price so take the best price 5/4 on Klopp’s side winning to nil.
On Saturday they managed to shut out a Spurs side who had smashed four past Man City just three weeks earlier so a clean sheet is achievable here.
Liverpool to win to nil @ 5/4
Molde v Celtic, Thursday 22nd October 2015, 20.05, BT Sport 2
There’s a new face at Anfield on Thursday night and a returning one in Molde as former saviour Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to the dugout of this Norwegian side.
That is sure to affect the game on Thursday night and if anything it increases the temptation to back the home side here.
If you compared the European records of these sides this season you’d find little to separate them. Celtic squeezed past Qarabag and were beaten fair and square by Malmo in the Champions League while Molde suffered away goal heartbreak to Dinamo Zagreb in the third qualifying round of that competition.
Drawn together in Group A it’s Molde who top the table after a fantastic 3-1 win in Turkey against Fenerbahce before drawing at home with Ajax. Celtic couldn’t beat the Turks at home but did manage a draw in Amsterdam against Ajax.
It’s an uncertain time to be having a strong view on this game with a former regime back in charge at Molde but they look the value at the prices and at 21/20 Draw No Bet looks an attractive investment.
Molde Draw No Bet @ 21/20
*Prices correct at time of publication