European football continues with the Europa League on Thursday with the final games of the group stages.
Both Wolves and Manchester United have qualified, while Arsenal will still be looking for a result to go through, and will be fancied in the betting to do so, although we feel they might struggle to get the win away from home.
Our football betting expert previews all three ties.
Arsenal to beat Standard Liege at 21/20.
Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar to draw at 11/4.
Wolves to beat Besiktas at 1/2.
Standard Liege Vs. Arsenal
Arsenal look to qualify from the group stage of a European competition for the 17th consecutive year as they travel to Belgium to face Standard Liege. Arsenal are still highly likely to advance, but you can’t help but think that they’ll be desperate for a result.
They were victorious for the first time under Freddie Ljungberg with a 3-1 away at West Ham Monday, and that will only boost their confidence going into this fixture. We are yet to see how Freddie sets his side in a cup fixture as important as this, so it will be interesting to see if he rests a few of the players who started on Monday.
Standard Liege have an impressive home record which could cause problems for the Gunners. Including qualifiers, they are 11 unbeaten at home in European competitions (W7 D4) and have won the last five consecutively. They need nothing less than a win in this fixture to keep their hopes of progressing alive and will hope to put Arsenal to the sword.
However, I don’t think the home form alone will be enough here. Arsenal should clinch this in a cagey affair at 21/20.
Manchester United Vs. AZ Alkmaar
What has happened to Manchester United over the last few games? They look like a completely different team. They may not be showing the most dominant displays in their history but beating Tottenham and then going on to win the Manchester derby within the space of four days is no fluke.
Marcus Rashford is having a fantastic season, which has led Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to compare him to Cristiano Ronaldo, and recent form in the Premier League has led United back up to fifth position.
The only time previously that these two sides have faced each other ended in a scoreless draw where United failed to register a shot on target. AZ Alkmaar are also undefeated in the group but sit one point behind United as they have drawn three and won one.
Both teams here have already qualified so we could see plenty of key players rested. A start for Mason Greenwood is to be expected, especially if Ole chooses to rest Rashford. I would back the draw (11/4) as both teams may prefer to focus their efforts on domestic form, seeing as they have already qualified to the next stage of this competition.
Wolves v Besiktas
Wolves’ first European campaign for 39 years was extended into the spring after matchday five of the Europa League. They can take their foot off the gas this week against a struggling Besiktas, who just haven’t seemed to have got going in Europe despite great league form.
Nuno Espirito Santo would ideally like his team to finish the group stages top, but it’s almost a certainty that he’ll be resting players for the Premier League. It’s also almost a certainty that Besiktas manager Abdulla Avci will also rest his players, as they have nothing to play for and are currently on a great run in the Turkish Super Lig.
I still believe it’s a safe to say that Wolves have a better squad depth with more quality. I think they’ll win comfortably at 1/2.
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