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Antony Heath 13th Dec 2011 - 19:54

Wednesday's Europa League Preview

Besiktas v Stoke - 18:00 - live on ESPN

Stoke City have taken to European football and are already in the mix for Thursday's draw, they round out their group E campaign in Turkey where Besiktas will be hoping to claim at least a point to join the Potters in the last 32.

Besiktas (10/11) look to be a good bet to take the three points as they roll out their first team against a Stoke (3/1, Draw - 12/5) side that will be resting a few players according to manager Tony Pulis.

Besiktas have been firing on all cylinders recently as they have notched up an impressive run of just 1 defeat in 11 games in all competitions. They are traditionally strong at home where a passionate home crowd at the Inonu Stadium has been clocked at a whopping 132Db! They have won both home games in this group stage and I certainly wouldn't back against them making it 3 from 3!

The Turkish club have been dealt a major blow as Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma is ruled out through injury however they should still have plenty left in the squad to get the result they need. Hugo Almeda bagged a brace on in their group opening 5-1 win over Tel-Aviv and can be backed at 11/2 first or 6/4 anytime to be on the scoresheet or if you fancy him to repeat his opening day antics 2 or more is a generous 7/1. They also have Roberto Hilbert (12/1 first, 7/2 anytime) and Edu (7/1 first, 2/1 anytime) that can pop-up in scoring positions and will cause Stoke some major problems.

At the heart of the defense Egemen Korkmaz has quickly established himself as a fans favourite and with his commited performances and the big defender is solid in the air - he has headed in 2 corners so far in this group phase - and is great value at 12/1 to get amongst the goals again.

Stoke on the other hand have nothing to worry about, after a stellar group phase they are already qualified and will be resting players in an attempt to avoid their poor performances after a European away trip.

Tony Pulis will be able to juggle his side and it would be no surprise to see Jon Walters (7/1 First, 2/1 Anytime) line up alongside Cameron Jerome (8/1 First, 11/4 Anytime) to lead the attack. Walters was on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture, a 2-1 home win for Stoke, and is the most likely candidate to net for them in Istanbul.

It's hard to fancy Stoke taking anything from the match in the hostile atmosphere and Besiktas to reverse the scoreline from the Britannia and win 2-1 @ 8/1 is the pick in correct scores. In our other markets both teams to score is a 19/20 (4/5 not too) shot and should be decent value as you'd still fancy Stoke to get at least one.

Top Bet

Besiktas @ 10/11

Value Bet

Egemen Korkmaz anytime @ 12/1


Fulham v Odense BK - 20:05 - live on Channel 5

The Cottagers head into this match with the Danish side Odense knowing that a victory will guarantee them a place in the last 32. They have made life difficult for themselves after the disappointing defeat in Krakow on match day 5.

Fulham (1/4) start as strong favourites and rightly so, apart from an opening day win in Krakow Odense (14/1, draw 4/1) have looked poor in the competition and will be out regardless of the result. In the return fixture Fulham battled to a 2-0 win courtesy of an Andy Johnson brace, however they will be without the suspended front man but should still have enough firepower to ease past the Dane's

Counteracting the loss of Andy Johnson being out is the return of Bobby Zamora (5/2 first, 4/7 anytime) who can be their difference maker. However the front man is unhappy with Jol and rumoured to be on the verge of asking for a transfer. Fulham will definitely be able to field Chris Baird and Damien Duff should the manager choose to after announcing "I will play different players but we will still put a strong side out". Should Zamora not play either then Fulham will be looking for other players to step up such as Clint Dempsey (7/2 first, 10/11 anytime), Damien Duff (11/2 first, 6/4 anytime) and even John Arne Riise (14/1 first, 11/2 anytime).

Odense's European jolly for this season will be coming to an end regardless of the result against Fulham. The Dane's few bright points from an otherwise disappointing group campaign has been the goals of Rasmus Falk Jensen (20/1 first, 7/1 anytime) and Baye Djiby Fall (14/1 first, 11/2 anytime) so if they are going to get on the board then it'll likely to be one of these that gets is at quite a big anytime price.

Fulham should run out comfortable winners and so there's value to be found by looking through our wide range of markets such as Fulham to keep a clean sheet @4/9, Fulham to win to nil @8/11, Fulham to win and over 2.5 goals @4/6 and also our special William Hill Match Winner offer of Fulham to win by 4 or more at an enhanced 5/1!


Best Bet

Fulham to win to nil @ 8/11


Value Bet

Brede Hangeland anytime @ 6/1



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