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Stuart Dalgleish 2nd Nov 2011 - 16:23

Europa League preview

Rubin Kazan v Tottenham - 17:00 live on ITV4

Tottenham (4/1) can qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League with a win over Rubin Kazan (8/13, draw 3/1)

Spurs have sent out inexperienced teams in all of their games so far, and this match in Russia should be no different; Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric are all unlikely to be involved, Roman Pavlyuchenko (15/2 first goal) and Giovani (8/1) will expect minutes though.

Pav has scored in his last two European appearances, and was the difference in the match between these two at the Lane as he smashed in a rocket in a 1-0 (12/1) win.

Rubin played well on the day though, and the Spurs goal led a charmed life, I think with the fact that the Londoners will easily be able to qualify even if they lose in Centralni it is worth getting involved in the home team.

Aleksandr Ryazantsev (7/1) was lively in the first match and has scored a few recently in the league, it's 11/4 that he scores anytime and Rubin win in our anytime goal wincast market.


Maccabi Tel Aviv v Stoke - 18:00 live on ESPN

Stoke (6/4) have performed brilliantly in Europe this season, and they too look like a good bet to qualify for the next round after winning two and drawing one of their three games so far.

The Potters head to Israel though in a poor run of form having lost their last three games in all comps.

Maccabi (9/5, draw 11/5) are in no great shakes either as they've only won two of their last six in the league and are winless in Group E of the Europa League.

It could point towards a low-scoring game at Bloomfield Stadium, as neither team is full of confidence at the minute.

The unders is priced at 10/11 on 2.5 goals, and both teams to score is 11/10 for no.

Stoke have some very winnable games coming up in the league, and I would expect them to rotate their side for this European clash - the draw no bet on the Israeli side is Evens and a 1-0 home win is tempting at 8/1.


Fulham v Wisla Krakow - 20:05 live on Channel 5

Fulham (1/3) have work to do if they're to qualify after winning just one of their three games so far.

The Cottagers were beaten 1-0 by Wisla (9/1, draw 7/2) in the reverse fixture, but Fulham were without Bobby Zamora (10/3 first goal), Clint Dempsey (7/2) and Danny Murphy (12/1) for one reason or another and they will prove too strong for the Polish opponents in London.

While it's fair to say that Martin Jol's side have not set the world alight this season, they haven't been outplayed by many teams either, and more often than not they are tough to beat on their own patch.

The QPR game aside, they are not the most prolific in front of goal, so while I expect them to beat Krakow, I think a 2-1 (15/2) sort of score would be a sensible bet.

Andy Johnson (3/1) has scored all of Fulham's goals in Europe this season, and is again likely to lead the line as Moussa Dembele will serve a suspension after his red card in the previous match.

David Biton (8/1) was the hero in that game, and he will be a real threat having scored nine goals in his last nine games.

Our Match Winner offer is for there to be any red card in the match at 9/2, enhanced from 7/2.


Celtic v Rennes - 20:05 live on ESPN

Celtic (11/8) are having a tough time of it domestically, and they're also struggling in Europe having not won in their three games so far.

Admittedly, the Bhoys have played better than their results suggest; they looked good at Atletico Madrid after conceding an early goal, they then scored an early goal themselves against Udinese before being stung in the last few minutes by a soft penalty, and at Rennes last time out they had their chances to win it.

Because the group is still fairly open, the Scottish side can still qualify but they will need to win at least two of their next three games.

Rennes (2/1, draw 11/5) are certainly beatable, they're good going forward but concede a lot of goals, if Celtic can get on top early doors then the Celtic Park roar could really play a pivotal part in the game.

By the same token though, some of the fans are growing restless in Glasgow, they are well off the pace in the league and are not killing teams off as you would expect, draw no bet on Rennes at 5/4 could be worth a few quid, and if it's 0-0 at half-time (7/4) then betting In-Play on the French team wouldn't be a bad idea.


Birmingham v Club Brugge - 20:05 live on ITV4

Birmingham (13/10) have taken everyone by surprise in the Europa League this season, after losing their first game you would've thought that would be it for the Blues, but two fantastic come-from-behind wins on the road have put them on top of their group.

The spirit of Chris Hughton's team is there for all to see, after a really tough pre-season where a host of players left it would've been easy for them to accept a season of transition, but make no mistake about it this could be a really special season for City on two fronts.

They are on the cusp of the play-offs and have several games in hand on the teams around them, while a second win over Club Brugge (2/1, draw 23/10) and they'll have one foot in the knockout stages.

It will not be easy for the Championship outfit, Brugge have goals in them and have only lost three times in all competitions this season.

Over 2.5 goals is a 10/11 shot and worth investing in, as is Chris Wood (11/2 first goal), the young striker has been a class act for the Blues this season and he and Chris Burke (11/1) have combined well.



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