Europa League Matchday 5: Celtic May Have To Settle For A Draw

Chelsea and Arsenal are comfortably through to the knockout rounds of the Europe League but Celtic and Rangers are still needing points to keep their qualifying hopes alive.

Chelsea v PAOK

 

Chelsea have been dominant in Europe this season and having won their opening four Europa League fixtures look set to win Group L. The Blues have been well backed to lift the trophy and having opened at 8/1 are now just 4/1. Admittedly it’s been a very weak section and with Champions League teams to enter that price makes little appeal right now.

The Greeks are top and unbeaten domestically but have disappointed with three defeats in Europe including a narrow 1-0 reverse against Chelsea on home soil. They still have chances to take runners up and will hope the Pensioners rest star men to give them a chance in London. However even with rotation I feel Chelsea carry too much weaponry and expect a comfortable evening at the Bridge in a 3-0 home success which can be backed at 15/2.

 

Tip: Chelsea to be leading at HT and FT at 20/23

Rosenborg v Celtic

 

Rosenborg won the Norwegian league with a comfortable seven point margin but have endured a torrid time in Europe where they have lost all four group games. Celtic will hope their hosts have now given up the ghost as the Scottish champions need victory in their chase for runner up in Group B. It looks a straight fight with German side RB Leipzig for that with Austrians Salzburg 6 points clear at the summit. However The Hoops have struggled on the road with losses at Salzburg and Leipzig and I think they may have to settle for just a point here.

A 1-1 draw is 7/1 and would still keep qualifying hopes alive ahead of a final game at Parkhead against Salzburg.

 

Tip: Both teams to score at 13/20

 

Vorskla Poltava v Arsenal

Arsenal have already qualified from Group E and are 1/100 to remain top. They travel to Ukraine to play Vorskla after winning the home leg 4-2 and are unbeaten.  The hosts are way behind Shakhtar Donetsk and remarkably have failed to register a draw from their opening 16 league fixtures. The Gunners should be far too strong here and a 2-0 away win at 8/1 looks a reasonable shout.

Like London rivals Chelsea, Arsenal have attracted attention to go all the way and lift the trophy and are currently 6/1 having been 10/1 when the market first appeared.

 

Tip: Under 2.5 goals at 21/20

 

Rangers v Villarreal

A sell out crowd at Ibrox should ensure a terrific atmosphere for this crucial Group G clash. All four teams remain in the hunt with only two points covering the quartet. The Gers picked up a great point in Spain following a 2-2 draw but a single point from their double header with Spartak Moscow has slightly derailed their hopes of further progress. Villarreal are having a very poor season and hover just above the La Liga relegation zone but are unbeaten in Europe although they only have three draws from their four outings.

It would be no surprise to see another stalemate which would suit the visitors and a 1-1 score is 13/2. The match odds look very short for an away success especially considering Villarreal have only tasted victory three times from thirteen attempts domestically.

 

Tip: Rangers and Draw Double Chance at 8/11

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Michael Owen

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Michael Owen is a former football player, played striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. He has represented the England national team at three World Cups and after his goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup was voted the 2nd best goal of the 20th century, he was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He is the last Englishman to win the Ballon d'Or, receiving the honor in 2001.

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