By William Hill
Last Updated: 6th November 2019
The Europa League returns with Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers all on the road on Thursday, while Celtic and Arsenal play host to travelling sides. We preview all five fixtures involving British clubs.
Man United to end troubles on the road
It’s hard to see how Manchester United are heading into their away clash with Partizan Belgrade second place in Group L – even by Europa League standards, they’ve been dealt a favourable hand in the competition this year with AZ Alkmaar and Astana among the other sides in the group.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a problem: his team are lacking a method to score goals consistently, having netted just one in Europe from two games this season – Mason Greenwood’s winner against Astana at Old Trafford.
The subsequent 0-0 draw at AZ Alkmaar underlined the doubts in United’s attacking resources, but an away trip to Partizan on Thursday offers a chance to all but secure a place in the knockout stages as they can pull three points clear of the current group leaders.
Greenwood will be keen to make a further impression on Solskjaer, who will be without David de Gea and Paul Pogba among others, and United should have enough to grab the victory – and their first away from home in 11 matches – which is priced at 6/5.
Arsenal formidable on Thursday nights
It’s no surprise Unai Emery has won the Europa League three times while reaching the final on a total of four occasions, with Arsenal top of Group F after two wins from two this season.
The Gunners are no doubt a step above in quality compared to most teams that enter the group stages of the Europa League, but they also have a certain ruthless streak in this competition, particularly at home.
Emery’s second-string outfit put Standard Liege to the sword 4-0 last time out, with Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock and Dani Ceballos all getting deserved goals.
The trio will likely line up alongside each other again on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium for what promises to be another enjoyable evening for the home fans, as Arsenal play host to Vitoria de Guimaraes. You can back Arsenal to score three or more goals at an enhanced price of 11/4, while Martinelli is 5/1 to score two or more goals, with Arsenal 1/4 for the win.
Wolves to stamp their authority in Group K
What a few weeks it’s been for Wolves. Just four weeks ago they were hovering above the surface of the relegation zone in the Premier League and had lost their first game of the Europa League group stage to Braga at home.
Since then, however, victory at home to Watford, a last-gasp winner in Istanbul against Besiktas, and a 2-0 shut-out at the home of Premier League champions Manchester City has put Nuno Espirito Santo and his side back on track for another landmark season.
Thursday’s opponents Slovan Bratislava are no pushovers, sitting one point ahead of Wolves at the top of Group K, but the English club should be fit to continue their ascendancy and take victory, which is priced at 3/4, to leapfrog their opponents.
Celtic Park crucial in Lazio test
Lazio travel to Glasgow to face Celtic in a turbulent run of form. They’ve won just one of their last four in Serie A, but will be buoyed by their victory against Rennes in the Europa League last time out, a side who took the scalps of both Real Betis and Arsenal in last year’s knockout stages.
Celtic are top of Group E, however. Their 1-1 draw at Rennes was hard-fought before securing victory at Celtic Park against Cluj – and their home support could prove pivotal against Lazio on Thursday, knowing a win will see their chances of knockout football swing firmly in their favour.
Can Rangers upset the party?
Rangers travel to Porto with Group G poised on a knife edge. All four sides in the group, which also includes Feyenoord and Young Boys, took a win and a defeat in the first two fixtures, and there is nothing to separate the sides heading into the third round of fixtures.
A victory for Steven Gerrard could see his team sit top at the half-time interval of their Europa League group-stage campaign, with two of the three fixtures remaining to be played at Ibrox.
They’ll be facing a Porto team who have won nine of their last 10 games, however, with their only defeat in that run coming against Feyenoord in the Europa League earlier this month. There may be little to split the two on Thursday, with the draw at 10/3 and the score-draw at 14/1 – a result that could prove pivotal in Rangers progressing to the next round.