ANOTHER intriguing tie from the Europa League this Thursday night as Sevilla host Zenit. How does Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) see it going?
Sevilla v Zenit St Petersburg | Thursday 20:05 | Setanta Ireland
Remember back in the late-80’s/early-90’s when Nottingham Forest used to go far in the League Cup every year? They seemed so fitted to the competition, and that’s the same with Sevilla in Europe’s secondary tournament.
The Spanish side have won it three times in the last decade (including last season) and are general second favourites to follow up behind Wolfsburg.
Unai Emery’s side have been in great form of late, they went into the weekend on the back of seven wins in a row. Their opponents on Saturday were Barcelona and when they went 2-0 down all hope seemed lost; but this Sevilla side have guts and they managed to fight back to secure an impressive 2-2 draw.
Sevilla remain unbeaten at home this season and have won 19 of their 22 matches at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Their last home defeat came 13 months ago against Real Betis in this competition. You have to go back to January 2014 for their last home league loss. Astonishing!
So where does that leave their opponents Zenit on Thursday then? They sit eight points clear at the top of the Russian League and entered this competition at the Last 32 stage after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen.
One theme that I’ve noticed when analysing their results is the drop of form away from home they’ve suffered this season. In seven European away matches they’ve lost four including to minnows AEL Limassol. Add that to the fact that they have a host of injuries and suspensions and this looks a tough test for Andre Villa-Boas’ side.
This is certainly factored into the odds though; Sevilla are as short as 4/7 in places. That’s something I just can’t get involved with so I’ll look to the goals markets instead.
As I’ve ascertained, Zenit have a host of absences, they’re playing against arguably the strongest home side in Europe and they’ve failed to score away in the Champions League/Europa League this season on four occasions, so I’m relying on them to fail to score here.
Under 2.5 Goals is a decent shout but I’ll be more ambitious. Sevilla to win to nil at 13/8 appeals, but it’s the Correct Score route I’ll take and back Emery’s men to win 1-0 or 2-0 at handsome odds. If either of these cop it would pay more than a single bet on the win to nil.
Sevilla v Zenit St Petersburg – Sevilla to win 1-0 (6/1 BetVictor)
Sevilla v Zenit St Petersburg – Sevilla to win 2-0 (7/1 BetVictor)
1-A Piece Refund
Back any of Chris’s bets here and if the game ends 1-1 Betfred will refund you. Good eh?