WE got Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) to delve into the Europa League late games for us. He’s highlighted two bets for us.
FC Zurich v Apollon Limassol | Thursday 20:05
I’m always trying to find ways of getting with Cypriot sides in European competition due to their inflated odds, but it’s been a costly strategy recently. I fancied APOEL Nicosia to keep things tight against Barcelona on Tuesday night but they were beaten 4-0. I’m jumping ship tonight.
On Thursday it’s the side two points beneath APOEL in the Cypriot league, Apollon Limassol who take to the field. They’re in Switzerland to take on FC Zurich and I think they’ve got a tough match in store.
After a bright start to their Europa League campaign, (a 3-2 win against Zurich) they’ve followed up by losing three games in a row, conceding 11 and scoring none. Sobering stuff.
While Apollon have fallen apart since that September evening, Zurich have shown signs of progress. A home draw against Borussia Monchengladbach was followed by a poor defeat in Spain to Villarreal, but last time out they beat the Spanish side at home to keep their qualification hopes alive.
That excellent win has been followed up by two wins in their domestic league and I think they’ll be fired up for this clash on Thursday night. It’s simple really – they have to win. Paddy Power have them as 2/5 best price to take the three points, but I’ll be brave and back them conceding a goal on the handicap at 20/19 with Ladbrokes.
Asteras Tripolis v Besiktas | Thursday 20:05
Onto Group C and a chance for Besiktas to wrap up a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League. Their task is to win in Greece against Asteras Tripolis and I envisage a tough game.
This match was a 1-1 draw in Turkey when they met on the opening matchday back in September, and Asteras built on that result by beating Partizan Belgrade 2-0 at home in Greece. Since then though they’ve been beaten home and away by Tottenham and must win here to stay in the competition.
Besiktas have picked up seven points out of nine since that September evening. They secured a superb point against Tottenham at White Hart Lane and then beat bottom side Partizan Belgrade home and away with an aggregate scoreline of 6-1.
I think there are positives for both sides in this match. Asteras need to win so you can imagine an offensive approach. The Greeks are very much accustomed to that as they’ve notched in nine of their 10 Europa League games in 2014/15. Besiktas have performed better away from home so far in this competition and have scored in 13 of their last 14 matches in all competitions.
Naturally then, it’s Both Teams To Score for me. What a pleasant surprise to see it as big as Evens with Coral. I’m on!