The final week of the Europa League group stages takes place tomorrow night, and with Arsenal and Chelsea already qualified, the impetus is on Celtic and Rangers to make it a quadruple of British teams that qualify for the last-sixteen of the competition.
Our football betting expert looks ahead to the action and gives us his best bets for all the matches involving the British sides.
Arsenal vs Qarabag FK
Arsenal remain unbeaten in the competition this season, and they secured their place in the knockout stages with an easy 3-0 win away to Vorskla Poltava in Ukraine.
Unai Emery’s side continue their unbeaten run, and while they are likely to field youngsters and squad players tonight to give their first choice stars a rest ahead of key domestic fixtures, they remain favourites to win this one.
The north London side are 1/5 to win, with Qarabag going into the contest big underdogs at 10/1. While the result isn’t too important for Arsenal, they will be keen to keep their momentum up and make a statement in the competition. I expect a comfortable night for the Gunners and fancy a 2-0 victory at 13/2.
MOL Vidi v Chelsea
Chelsea travel to Hungary having already qualified for the knockout stage following their 4-0 victory over PAOK Salonika at Stamford Bridge. With their place in the next round assured, the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are likely to start, having blossomed in the competition with four goals between them. Sarri’s men have conceded just once in this year’s European campaign and another clean sheet against this MOL Vidi side looks likely.
Chelsea can be backed at 4/6 for this one, with the home side going in at 4/1 underdogs. The group still looks interesting with the remaining three teams still in with a shout of qualifying. The Hungarian outfit need a result here, whilst also relying on PAOK Salonika to get a draw or a victory against BATE Borisov. Despite not having anything to play for in this group, whichever team Chelsea field are likely to be stronger than their opponents. I expect MOL Vidi to come out fighting, but to unfortunately come up short. A 2-1 Chelsea win at 7/1 looks good value to me.
Celtic v FC Red Bull Salzburg
Anything but a defeat for Celtic would see them progress to the next round of the competition. In their way are table toppers FC Red Bull Salzburg, who have won every game within the group. With Celtic’s domestic form picking up after a 5-1 thrashing against Kilmarnock last time out, replicating this form into Europe should see them have enough to progress. The bookies have found it difficult to split these two teams with Rodgers’ men going in slight favourites at 6/4, with the Austrian side 7/4.
Unbeaten in all competitions, Red Bull Salzburg seem to be flying under the radar and an win away at Celtic Park would be a real statement of intent. A 100% winning record in the group will motivate them, but I expect the home crowd to play a part in this match so I’m backing Celtic to win 2-1 at 17/2.
Rapid Vienna v Rangers
Group G is wide open with all four teams still in with a chance of qualification. Rangers face the tough task of going away to Rapid Vienna in a game they must win in order to progress to the next round. Gerrard and his men should be going into this one confident, following their 3-1 victory against the Austrian side in the home fixture. Getting a result here would be a massive achievement for Rangers, having not reached this stage since 2011, however, at 2/1 the bookies place them as underdogs.
Rapid Vienna have struggled domestically but with only a draw required here to progress, the Austrian outfit must fancy their chances. I think Gerrard’s men will come up just short and at 5/2, a draw looks a good bet to me.
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