Mark O’Haire’s Europa League Tips – ThursdayStats
Liverpool just need to take a point in Thursday night’s fixture with Sion to secure top spot in the group having already secured progression to the Last 32.
Sion v Liverpool, Thursday 10th December 2015, 18.00, BT Sport Europe
The Swiss side are also chasing a draw to book their place in the knockout stages and therefore incentive for either club to chase three points might well be lacking.
The Reds have been held to stalemates in three of their previous five (W2-D3-L0) in Europe this term as well as eight in their most recent 17 Europa League ties. The Jurgen Klopp era began with three consecutive draws but the guests haven’t shared the points in nine outings and are perhaps now overdue.
Backing both teams to share the spoils is a 21/10 shot and looks just the ticket considering Liverpool have lost just four times this term but are still searching for consistency under their charismatic new boss ahead of a busy Christmas schedule.
The Reds have blown Southampton, Chelsea and Man City away in recent weeks but also dropped a few clangers against Crystal Palace and Newcastle. The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Jordon Ibe have all been ruled out for the midweek trip; Divock Origi is likely to lead the line with Jordan Henderson pushing for a start.
With four wins from five on the road, Liverpool will have their backers considering Klopp’s unlikely to set his stall out to consolidate but Sion are dogged opposition. Defeat for the Swiss side, coupled with a Rubin Kazan win in Bordeaux will see the hosts knocked out.
The home side sit sixth in the 10-team Swiss Super League and have tasted victory just once in seven. A last-gasp leveller was required in Bordeaux, they were far from convincing when scraping past Rubin and a touch lucky to pick up a point in Anfield in the previous head-to-head.
Further back it’s just three victories in 14 for the hosts. Prolific forward Moussa Konate is injured, as is Martin Zeman, Vero Salatic and Gregory Karlen whilst Birama Ndoye sits this one out through suspension. Nevertheless, Sion can dig their heels in and grab the point they require against a weakened Liverpool side that has their sights set on Sunday’s return to Premier League action.
Draw @ 21/10
Fenerbahce v Celtic, Thursday 10th December 2015, 18.00, BT Sport 2
Things could have been very different for Celtic in the Europa League this season had they not twice thrown away winning positions at Ajax on Matchday 1. Instead, Ronny Delia’s troops have been eliminated having shipped at least two goals in each of their five group-games and are yet to pick up maximum points.
That sloppy streak is unlikely to come to an end on Thursday night as the Bhoys make the trip to Istanbul for a Group A contest at Fenerbahce. The Scottish champions may take this opportunity to blood a collection of youngsters in the squad as they focus their attention on Sunday’s league trip to in-form St Johnstone.
So although the Bhoys have bagged victories in five of their most recent six on their travels, Celtic are unlikely to lay a glove on the Turks who’ve improved as their European campaign has progressed. The Yellow Canaries require a point to progress but having notched just six goals in their previous five, have yet to cut loose on the continent.
In the Turkish Super League, Fenerbahce have scored just 23 in 14 but seven clean sheets in ten suggests they’re well adept at shutting opposition sides out.
With Celtic admitting they could have done without the long journey this midweek and Fenerbahce unwilling to flex their muscles to the maximum, backing a relatively comfortable home win looks a decent proposition.
Entering the correct score market, a 2-0 Fenerbahce win can be snapped up at 6/1 with a 3-0 success chalked up at 8/1. Both bets are worth pursuing.
Fenerbahce to win 2-0 @ 6/1
Fenerbahce to win 3-0 @ 8/1
Tottenham v Monaco, Thursday 10th December 2015, 20.05, BT Sport Europe
Spurs are already assured of qualifying from Group J and they need just a point from their White Hart Lane date with Monaco to take top honours on Thursday night. The visitors need to better Anderlecht’s result with Qarabag to join them in the Last 32.
Mauricio Pochettino may well opt to rotate his team with a busy festive season on the horizon but even so, the Londoners should field a strong enough side to at least be competitive and grab a goal on home soil. The hosts have W5-D2-L0 in their last seven European fixtures at the Lane and W6-D4-L1 of 11 when entertaining in all competitions this season.
Both Teams To Score is the bet that stands out and it’s focussed around the principality club’s requirement to go on the offensive. Leonardo Jardim’s men, who are fourth in Ligue 1, have struck in all five of their Europa League matches as well as in all 13 on their travels this term.
In fact, no side in France can match Monaco’s average of 1.89 goals-per-game away from home with just three blanks recorded in 26 in 2015/16.
The visitors have found the back of the net in 17 of their last 18 outings
…and can also call-upon the returning Portuguese playmaker Joao Moutinho to help unlock Spurs’ defence.
However, only twice have Monaco managed to keep clean sheets on the road whilst Valencia, Bordeaux, Guingamp and Marseille have all struck at least three goals when entertaining the principality club. Injuries have robbed the travellers of Fabio Coentrao, Guido Carillo, Ivan Cavaleiro and Jeremy Toulalan with suspension ruling out Andrea Raggi and Fabinho, further weakening their brittle backline.
Spurs’ second-string will be out to impress and so with the guests looking to keep their European status intact with front-foot football, I’m hopeful these two can throw up a decent encounter with goals arriving at both ends.
Both Teams To Score @ 4/5
*Prices correct at time of publication