Two picks from Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) on the early Europa League kick-offs.
FK Krasnador v Wolfsburg | 23rd October 2014 | 17:00
No side will relish a trip to Russia on a Thursday night in this season’s Europa League and because of that FK Krasnador will be a hard nut to crack. Aleh Konanaw’s side have started the campaign with a draw in France against Lille, followed by a 1-1 draw against Everton on home soil. Before that in the qualifying rounds, they won their home ties 11-0 on aggregate, disposing of Real Sociedad with ease 3-0 in the final qualifier at home.
Wolfsburg are more than likely a better side. They currently sit fifth in the Bundesliga after three wins in a row but there’s a suspicion that they’re not taking this competition as seriously as their Russian opponents. A 1-1 home draw against Lille was preceded by a 4-1 spanking by Everton at Goodison Park. Now they face a long trip to Russia to meet a side battle-hardened after eight Europa League games under their belt.
I have to be with Krasnador here due to their home advantage and (I feel) greater desire to succeed in this competition than their opponents. 8/5 with Bet365? Fantastic!
Slovan Bratislava v Sparta Prague | 23rd October 2014 | 18:00
I’ll be honest guys, this is a bit of a shot in the dark. A grasp at glory. An attempted educated guess. At the heart of it, is an awareness of European politics. Is it ridiculous to suggest that this will be a massive match for both clubs considering they were based in the same country 25 years ago?
I’d like to think Slovan will be desperate to beat their Czech neighbours. There must be a feeling of rivalry between Slovakian clubs and Czech clubs and with the game taking place at Bratislava, Slovan might be a bet at a chunky 100/30 with BetVictor.
On paper Sparta Prague look a much better side. They won the Czech Gambrinus league by 13 points last season and beat Young Boys 3-1 in an earlier Europa League game. Slovan lost 5-0 to Young Boys in their opening Europa League encounter, so collateral form suggests Sparta have something in hand here.
But that’s reflected in the prices with Sparta odds-on across the board. Can Slovan raise their game against their neighbours and reward those brave backers like me who want to get involved with them and their partisan crowd at odds of 100/30 with BetVictor? Let’s hope so, eh?