By News Team
Last Updated: 15th September 2021
Thursday evening sees the return of the Europa League group stage and we are in for a treat as we see British sides take on some big names in Lyon and Napoli.
We take a look at the standout fixtures from game week one.
Leicester v Napoli
For the third consecutive season, Leicester City will play their European football in the Europa League and their first test of the 2021/22 campaign is a tough home fixture against Italian giants Napoli.
This is Leicester’s first ever match against Napoli in European competition and their first ever competitive match against an Italian side, but can the Foxes come out on top? Leicester head into this fixture as 5/4 favourites. A stat that will fill Leicester fans with hope is that they have only lost two of their 13 home matches in the European competition, with the most recent defeat coming against Slavia Prague last season.
This may be Leicester’s first competitive fixture against an Italian side, but Napoli are preparing for their 21st fixture against an English side in European competition. Napoli are looking to win their first ever away game in England having lost eight and drawing two in their previous 10 fixtures. Napoli head into this fixture as 21/10 underdogs to come away with all three points from the King Power Stadium. Would you like to work out your potential winnings? Try our online betting calculator.
Dinamo Zagreb v West Ham
For the first time in the club’s history, West Ham will take part in the Europa League group stages with their first fixture against Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday evening.
This will also be the first time that West Ham will face Dinamo Zagreb in competitive football, and only the second time that the Hammers will face a Croatian side in their history. The last time the Hammers faced a Croatian side was back in September 1999 where they defeated NK Osijek 6-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup first round. David Moyes will take charge of his first European fixture since 2014 with Manchester United and his side head into this one as 6/5 favourites to take home all three points.
Dinamo Zagreb have faced English opponents on 17 previous occasions in Europe, but they do not have the greatest record against them. Zagreb have lost 11 of these fixtures, although they defeated Spurs 3-0 in their most recent game in last year’s Europa League. Zagreb are unbeaten in their last four Europa League games and have only conceded once in their last eight games also. The Croatian side are 11/5 underdogs to defeat West Ham this time out.
Rangers v Lyon
Rangers are back once again in Europe having made the last 16 of the 2020/21 Europa League campaign, but can they get further this time round? They take on Lyon in a tough opening game at Ibrox.
Rangers and Lyon have faced each other previously in the 2007-08 Champions League group stages, but history does not shine a good light on Rangers with the French outfit coming out 3-0 victors on both occasions. As expected, Rangers are 13/8 underdogs going into this fixture. However, since a 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in 2019, Rangers have lost none of their last 10 Europa League group stage matches and they have also never lost a group stage fixture at Ibrox in the competition.
Lyon have only lost one of their 18 Europa League group stage matches with their last defeat coming in their previous group stage game against Atalanta in 2017. The French giants are priced at 8/5 to come away with all three points on Thursday.