By News Team
Last Updated: 20th February 2020
As we come back from the winter break, we waste no time in getting back into the swing of things with a week jam-packed with footballing delights. The three English clubs in this year’s Europa League enjoyed fruitful group stages which saw all of them progress into the next round. Now onto the round of 32, teams will compete over two legs to see who goes through.
We’ve taken a look at a selection of Thursday’s matches
Club Brugge vs Manchester United
Manchester United take on Club Brugge having struggled to get going in the Premier League, so winning the Europa League may be their only hope of competing in Europe next season. Having said that, the Red Devils did impress in a 2-0 win away at Chelsea on Monday. This could be the kick-start they’ve needed for a while that sees them jump into a decent run of form.
Club Brugge are top of the Belgian league having only lost one game in the competition. They’ve had a handful of draws in their last few fixtures, but a win last time out has set them back to winning ways. The Belgians dropped out of the Champions League at the group stages having not won a game while contending against Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but with three draws they performed better than Galatasaray.
Club Brugge shouldn’t be underestimated, but United have, by far, the superior quality on the pitch and on the back of that Chelsea win can take this at 13/10.
Olympiacos vs Arsenal
Mikel Arteta’s men go into this game unbeaten in 2020 having thrashed Newcastle 4-0 in their last fixture. The Gunners have been improving under Arteta, but they are nowhere near yet capable of what they were in the Arsene Wenger glory days.
Olympiacos also go into this fixture in strong form. They currently sit undefeated in the Greek Super League and boast a strong home record, only losing to Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stages.
Wolves vs Espanyol
Wolves have continued to impress since getting promoted from the Championship a couple of seasons ago. They have built themselves into a top Premier League side and one which can compete on the European stage as well. They are enjoying another solid campaign in the Premier League while juggling this competition and don’t look to be prioritising one over the other.
Espanyol, on the other hand, are having a horrific season. They sit rock-bottom of La Liga having only won four of their 24 games in the league. They may be focusing more on survival than they are progressing in the competition, which could leave the door wide open for Wolves.
Wolves are unsurprisingly the 4/7 favourites for this one and given Espanyol’s struggles, you’d expect a pretty straightforward night for the hosts. Backing them -1 on the handicap at 7/5 looks the best bet here.
Copenhagen vs Celtic
Celtic are in the familiar position of being on top of the Scottish Premiership and enjoy a nice cushion from second-place Rangers. They will be looking to go far in this renewal of the competition and a draw against Copenhagen could be the start of just that.
The outfit from Denmark are second in their league and have recently had a winning streak ended. You can never be too confident backing an away side in Europe, but Celtic should prove too strong here. They’ll be hoping for a good performance from Odsonne Edouard, who has scored four in his last four. Celtic to win and Edouard to score at 7/2 with William Hill’s enhanced odds is a worthwhile punt.
Rangers vs Braga
This is the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides. Rangers have entertained Portuguese sides before and haven’t lost a game against them. They most recently beat Porto 2-0 in the group stages. This will give Rangers a huge boost as Porto sit above Braga in their league by a comfortable margin. Braga have also lost both of their previous away games to Scottish opposition
Braga are in fine form, however. They are unbeaten in 13, while they have scored 29 goals in total across those fixtures. They will be bringing the fight to Scotland and Rangers cannot underestimate their opponents.