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David Thompson 3rd Oct 2012 - 19:47

Thursday's Europa League previews


Europa League Previews:

Panathinaikos v Tottenham

18:00 - live on ITV4

Tottenham Hotspur FC will be on a high after their first win at Old Trafford since 1989, and travel to Greece to face Panathinaikos in their Group J UEFA Europa League match. Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas will come up against his predecessor at FC Porto Jesualdo Ferreira. Ferreira won an unprecedented three successive Liga titles at Porto from 2006 to 2010, whilst AVB led the same side to a domestic double and the UEFA Cup in 2010/11.

The sides are meeting for the first time, with Spurs the favourites at Even Money and Panathinaikos 11/4. Despite the outsiders tag the Greek side are relatively experienced at this level. This is Panathinaikos's fourth UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, and they have successfully reached the knockout phase of the competition in all of their previous efforts. However they do have a poor record against English sides, which reads; W1 D5 L10.

In Matchday One Tottenham were happy with their goalless draw against Lazio at White Hart Lane, and Villas-Boas will want to add three points in Greece to put them in a prominent position in Group J. This will be Spurs fifth time in the competition and including their 2010/11 UEFA Champions League campaign, they have reached the knockout phase in four of their five previous UEFA group stage attempts. However they did miss out in last year's competition, but the manager will want to prove his experience gained at Porto will have some impact on the side.

One big positive for Spurs in Europe has been their away form. Tottenham have conceded just once in their last four European away games, which have included 4-0 and 5-0 wins. With that in mind the 5/2 available about Tottenham -1 goal in the Match Handicaps markets should be a bet well worth a look. In addition to that over 2.5 goals at EVENS should be a winner in this one.

For the Headline Offer our focus in on none other than Gareth Bale. Sensational last season in European football the Welshman has been enhanced to 4/1 from 16/5 to score any time in a Tottenham win.


Liverpool v Udinese

20:05 - live on ITV4

Brendon Rodgers continues his first campaign in Europe at Anfield with the Reds hosting visiting side Udinese. This will be the first time that the two sides have met in a UEFA competition with Liverpool odds-on favourites at 4/6 and their opponents 9/2 outsiders.

Rodgers has started well in Europe, going unbeaten in his first five games and sitting top of Group A after their Matchday One 5-3 win away at Young Boys. Rodgers will be wary of Italian side Udinese on Thursday night, they finished a matching club-best third-placed finish in Serie A last season and are unbeaten in last four European encounters. This will be their 50th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League fixture, and they will be looking to take advantage of a Liverpool side that has got off to a sluggish start in the Barclays Premier League.

Despite his domestic ban after a red card he received for 50-50 challenge against Manchester United's Jonny Evans, promising youngster Jonjo Shelvey is available for Brendan Rodgers. His two goals helped Liverpool to their 5-3 win in Switzerland and the manager has shown faith in him ever since joining the club. Shelvey is the focus of our Headline Offer: can the midfielder score anytime in a Liverpool win at 6/1, originally 9/2?

For Udinese Antonio Di Natale is their go to man. The Italian international has scored 137 goals in 267 appearances for his side and if the Italian outfit wins at Anfield with Di Natalie scoring any time, you can receive a return at a massive 9/1, enhanced from 7/1.

With Liverpool having conceded six goals in their six home Premier League games this season, the bet that stands out in this fixture is the 19/20 about Both Teams To Score.


Newcastle v Bordeaux

20:05 - live on ESPN

Alan Pardew's Newcastle have started their 2012-13 season well following high expectations after last season's heroics that saw the Magpies boss pick up the manager of the year award. They lay tenth in the Barclays Premier League table following a 2-2 draw away at Reading on the weekend whilst a 0-0 draw away in Portugal against Maritimo has left them in a good position in Group D of the UEFA Europa League.

These two sides will meet at the Sports Direct Arena on Thursday night for the first time in UEFA club competition with Newcastle available at odds of 13/10 and French side Bordeaux 21/10.

Bordeaux are involved in their second UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, and despite European inexperience they will set a tough test for the Magpies at home. They have enjoyed an encouraging start to the season domestically, remaining unbeaten in their seven matches so far to sit fifth in the Ligue 1 table. Added to that Francis Gillot's side are unbeaten in four European games and kicked off the group stage with a 4-0 victory against Club Brugge KV.

One encouraging statistic for Pardew is Bordeaux's record against English sides. The French club in eight games reads W0 D2 L6.

Team news for Newcastle could be an issue for the manager with both centre backs Steven Taylor (calf) and Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring) likely to be missing the tie. Positive news will be that Senegalese striker Demba Ba will be on the teamsheet. His two goals against Reading secured a point for the Magpies and he is enhanced to 3/1 from 11/5 in our Headline Offer in this one!

Considering the French side's form and the fact that this could have the feel of a Ligue one tie considering the amount of French speakers in the Newcastle ranks, my tip would have to go on the 11/10 about Bordeaux Draw Not Bet.



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