ANOTHER busy night of Europa League action coming up. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) picks out his best bets.
St Etienne v Milsami | Thursday 18:30
What a great effort last week by Milsami to pick up a draw against St Etienne. I thought they were overpriced and managed to get stuck into the draw at 16/5 so it was smiles all round. I can’t really neglect them here even though they face a huge task.
Bookmakers have the Moldovans at 28/1 to win this game and while that’s surely beyond them I might have a semi-sentimental bet on them to score a goal at 5/2 with William Hill.
Milsami knocked out Ludogorets in the second qualifying round of the Champions League scoring in both legs and of course found the net against St Etienne last Thursday.
They generally average around four shots on target per game and you’d like to think they may get a couple of good opportunities. The nature of the tie means they have to score to stay in the competition and with the minnows having acquitting themselves very well in European competition this summer you can see them having a go.
St Etienne lost their home leg in the previous round to Romanian side Targu Mures and have conceded in four of their six matches this season so far.
It’s a fun bet to be honest so don’t go mad. Milsami have been a pleasure to follow over the last few weeks in Europe and while their adventure surely ends here I’ll happily invest a little bit more faith in them.
Rosenborg v Steaua Bucharest | Thursday 19:00
Rosenborg have been very impressive in Europe this season so far with six wins from their seven Europa League matches. Vikingur Gota from the Faroe Islands and Iceland’s KR were both dismissed in the opening two rounds without either of them scoring a goal against the Norwegian side.
These victories were followed up by an emphatic take-down of Hungary’s Debrecen in the previous round. A 3-2 win in Hungary in the opening leg was followed up by a 3-1 win on home soil to go through 6-3 on aggregate.
1986 European Cup winners Steaua Bucharest are their play-off opponents but Rosenborg have already near enough snuffed them out after a stunning 3-0 win in Romania last week. This Steaua side has very little in common with the 1986 vintage! They’ve already been dumped out the Champions League by Partizan Belgrade.
Will the motivation be there for Rosenborg on Thursday night? Well I’m willing to take that chance at odds of 10/11. They’ve won their last 12 matches and sit seven points clear at the top of the Tippeligaen. They’re not a side you’d want to face in the Europa League group stages.
Another factor to consider is their stunning home form in 2015 which reads: P23 W19 D4 L0. Their last home defeat in their domestic league was May 16th 2014!
The first leg scoreline may make it a risky punt but at 10/11 I’m happy to get involved with Rosenborg. They look an outstanding side and will want to continue their excellent form here.
Legia Warsaw v Zorya | Thursday 20:00
Another side who won their away match in the first leg but whom I fancy back at home on Thursday are Legia Warsaw, Legia have turned into a smart European unit in the last year or so. Last season they picked up 15 points out of 18 in their Europa League group and were unlucky to bump into Ajax in the Last 32.
This season they’ve negotiated the two previous rounds with aplomb. Botosani from Romania were beaten to nil home and away before the Albanian side Kukesi were overcome due to a combination of being a better side and their fans throwing stuff onto the pitch.
Their opponents Zorya may sound like a baddie in He-Man (ask your big brother) but they come from the Ukraine and blasted their way past Charleroi in the previous round.
They came unstuck last Thursday though when losing 1-0 at home to Legia and it’s put them in a tough position here. This is only Zorya’s third campaign in Europe and I feel Legia will be too smart, savvy and experienced for them.
St Etienne v Milsami – Milsami to score Over 0.5 Goals (5/2 William Hill)
Rosenborg v Steaua Bucharest – Rosenborg to win (10/11 Bet365)
Legia Warsaw v Zorya – Legia Warsaw to win (4/5 William Hill)
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