Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: UEFA Europa League: Round of 16 (Second Leg) Preview

UEFA Europa League: Round of 16 (Second Leg) Preview

AC Milan host Man United in the pick of the ties with the score delicately poised at 1-1

The Europa League has proven itself yet again, with an action-packed Thursday evening in leg one of two. The level of competition is stiff, the goals are top-draw quality, and the big names are shining!

Arsenal have made sure to score three against Olympiacos in their backyard after last year’s early exit on away goals to Thrylos (Legend), and edge closer to revenge.

Harry Kane put two home goals on the score sheet to confidently go away to Dinamo Zagreb.

AC Milan welcome Manchester United to the San Siro with an away goal in hand, and the added boost of superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic on course to return for the second leg.

The Europa League takes centre stage again and all eyes focus on the beauty that is Thursday football! 

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Thursday 18 March

Arsenal 4/10
Draw 37/10
Olympiacos 58/10
(19:55)

Arsenal lead 3-1 on aggregate.

The early kick-off headline matchup sees Olympiacos travelling to the Emirates. The Greek giants have an immense task ahead of them needing three unanswered goals to progress. Olympiacos’ form guide has been immaculate in all competitions with the only loss in the past five coming to the hands of Arsenal. Pedro Martins has a full squad to choose from in the upcoming tie, and you can expect in-form attacker Yousef El-Arabi to head the charge having bagged 19 goals in all competition this season.

With Mikel Arteta’s biggest hope for European Football next season being Europa League victory, the trophy has two presents neatly wrapped up for him to attain. The Gunners are on the back of two fabulous victories in London being made Red after dismantling Tottenham, and the previous being leg one tie against the current matchup.  The Emirates outfit have been dealt a heavy blow after young star Bukayo Saka picked up a hamstring injury in the North London Derby.

After conceding three away goals, I see Olympiacos pushing for a goal, but not proceeding to the next round. Arsenal’s home record in European football this season is unscathed, so I back Arsenal to Win and BTTS at 21/10.

Dinamo Zagreb 9/1
Draw 5/2
Tottenham 1/1
(19:55)

Tottenham lead 2-0 on aggregate.

Kane bagged a brace at home last time out against Dinamo Zagreb that had no answer to Jose Mourinho as the Lilywhites dominated in every facet of the game.

After a disappointing loss in the North London Derby over the weekend, Mourinho turns his eyes once again to the Europa League where you can expect the Special One to go back to his roots in a defensive masterclass, sitting on a comfortable two-goal aggregate.

Jose Mourinho has a proven record in starting strong this season, having scored at least one first half goal in 83% of their UEFA Europa League games this season. Back Spurs Half-time/Full-time at 2/1.

Molde 2/1
Draw 47/20
Granada 13/10
(19:55)

Granada lead 2-0 on aggregate.

The two outsiders both came into the opening fixture dreaming of a place in the quarter-finals in leg one. The Spanish outfit Granada came out on top in their 2-0 home display against Molde and are now sitting comfortable as favourites to progress.

Going into the second leg, however, Granada are seriously depleted due to injuries and suspension with hopes of only Alberto Soro in full training to possibly make the bench out of a total seven players unavailable. Head coach Diego Martinez managed to take the win with the same injuries present in their last fixture and will be confident in doing the same a second time around.

After a defensive calamity giving way to the opening goal being conceded by Molde and a sloppy tackle giving way to a red card, Erling Moe will have to make sure his team are primed and focused as they welcome the second leg to the Puskas Arena in Budapest. Back Spanish Granada to do the double over Norwegian opponents.

Shaktar Donetsk 17/10
Draw 5/2
Roma 29/20
(19:55)

Roma lead 3-0 on aggregate.

This will be the eighth time that Shaktar Donestk face Roma, and the Ukrainians have won four of their previous meetings, so there is every chance that Luis Castro could bag a victory against the Italian outfit.

Shaktar Donetsk picked up a 4-0 victory in their domestic league over the weekend with Tete and Manar Solomon both scoring a brace each, and that should be a major confidence booster after they failed to convert their superior match stats in the opening leg.

La Lupa have a three-goal cushion and you can expect them to not ease up on the gas with their goal average per game for this season at 1.89 in all competitions. Expect more from the midfield in this matchup as Henrick Mkhitaryan and Frenchman Jordan Veretout sit on nine and 10 goals respectively outshining star attackers Eden Dzeko and Pedro.

Roma’s star-studded line-up will make light work of the Ukrainian team again, back the She-Wolf.

Villarreal 5/10
Draw 3/1
Dynamo Kyiv 52/10
(22:00)

Villarreal lead 2-0 on aggregate.

The Europa League wizard, Unai Emery, has his eyes set on a trophy that seems destined to be his after failing to secure his fourth title as runners up with Arsenal. Now back with a Spanish team at his disposal in Villarreal, he secured a seemingly easy away win against Dynamo Kyiv, who have secured seven home clean sheets this season (all wins).

DYN now travel to Spain in hopes of overcoming a two-goal deficit. The oldest coach left in the Europa league, Mircea Lucescu, at age 75, should not be short of ideas with the accolades he has acquired over the years, but the task at hand is still a tall order.

The 5/10 offer on the home win is short, so I would back Villarreal + Over 1.5 Goals at 17/20.

Rangers 12/10
Draw 9/4
Slavia Prague 47/20
(22:00)

All square from the 1-1 draw in the first-leg tie.

Having conquered Leicester in the round of 32, Slavia Praha had more British opposition in the form of Rangers FC and went into the tie on a 28-game unbeaten streak at their fortress, Sinobo Stadium.

The first leg played out to a 1-1 tie, and in the post-match interview, Steven Gerrard takes full responsibility for the stalemate stating, “I think we waited a bit too much; I think that part is on me.” Then proceeded to take comfort in the fact his boys managed to get an away goal to take home to Ibrox Stadium, which he labelled, “the minimum with a visit to Slavia Praha’s home turf.” Expect the second leg to spice up with Slavia flying out the blocks in need of a goal.

But at the end of the day, back Stevie G and the boys to secure a home victory at 12/10.

Young Boys 2/1
Draw 28/10
Ajax 11/10
(22:00)

Ajax lead 3-0 on aggregate.

After Ajax tasted defeat to Atalanta and swallowed the bitter pill of an early UEFA Champions League dismissal, they went on a hot unbeaten streak of three draws and 16 wins, also knocking out French Ligue 1 leaders Lille in the process.

Top of the Swiss Super League, Young Boys prove giants in their domestic league, but struggle to perform on the big stage. 

Young Boys had high hopes coming into their Round of 16 tie against The Sons of god and being dismantled 3-0 the trip back to Wankdorf Stadium becomes a massive ask. Get on the Dutch giants at 11/10.

AC Milan 47/20
Draw 24/10
Manchester United 11/10
(22:00)

All square from the 1-1 draw in the first-leg tie.

AC Milan came out of the blocks flying against Manchester United in leg one of this tie, having two goals overturned by VAR, and one of the two being a major talking point as a rather controversial overruling. Manchester United gained some confidence and the tie ended up fair in a 1-1 draw. This is without question the headline act of Thursday night, and has all the promise to be a cracking fixture in The Red Devils vs The Devil.

Stefano Pioli has had an amazing season thus far in Serie A and currently sits second on the table behind rivals Inter Milan and is well within qualifying for UEFA Champions League with 10 games left in the domestic league. After gaining an away goal in leg one, and coming breathtakingly close on several other occasions, Pioli will have boosted confidence in a more clinical finisher, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, back in the squad and should look for an early goal to put pressure on the visitors.

The Red Devils head to San Siro needing to win, or requiring a score draw of 2-2 or higher to reach the quarter-finals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must get his team selection right and doing so will not be straightforward. The selection calls are made tougher by a FA Cup quarter-final tie days later against Leicester. These are two games which could define United’s season. Luke Shaw or Alex Telles, Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, Dan James or Mason Greenwood or does young gun Amad Diallo keep his spot after securing the draw? As well as Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, and Donny van de Beek – a possible return for the matchup.

This is the most exciting tie in the second leg, and that makes it the most difficult to find a winner. Back United to steal the win at 11/10, or for the safe punters out there not seeing much change in the scoreline, back them on the Double Chance at 3/10.

TREBLE @ 15/1
Arsenal Win & BTTS 21/10
Roma Win 29/20
Ajax Win 11/10

Written by Joshua Gaillard