Lille v AC Milan | Thursday 26th November 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Lille and AC Milan are the two sides in the driving seat for qualification from Group H but the Italian giants could be out to gain some revenge after the 3-0 defeat at San Siro by tonight’s opponents.
23-year-old Yusuf Yazici stole the headlines bagging his second hat-trick in this year’s competition after achieving the feat against Sparta Prague in matchday one.
So, it’s two hat-tricks in three Europa League games for the Turkish international, while he netted twice in Lille’s 4-0 thumping of Lorient at the weekend. He’s 9/1 to open the scoring and 3/1 to find the net. Both look big prices given he’s averaging a goal every 40.5 minutes in the competition.
Those hat-tricks have come from 14 attempts, eight of which have been on target, so he’s got a fairly good accuracy percentage, which makes those prices look rather enticing.
But backing goals in this one does look the most solid option. AC Milan’s three Europa League games have averaged 3.3 goals per game, while Lille’s average 4 per game.
Both sides also average over 1xG per game, while between them there’s an average of around 28 shots per game. That should be more than enough efforts to point towards goals.
Milan’s last nine have all gone over 2.5 goals with them scoring 10 in their last five, while seven of the last nine for the French side have seen at least three goals.
When you’ve got the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović (11 goals in all comps), Burak Yilmaz (six goals), and the aforementioned Yazici, then there are plenty of goalscoring threats lining up.
A straightforward punt on over 2.5 goals at 10/11 looks the way to go with two forward-thinking teams.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv v Villarreal | Thursday 26th November 2020, 17:55 | BT Sport
Villarreal can progress to the next round with three points in Israel, and they could join Sevilla on 42 wins in the history of the competition, which would be the joint-most.
The Yellow Submarine won the reverse fixture 4-0 with a Carlos Bacca double after kick-off was delayed following a deluge at La Cerámica.
It was a game that saw Unai Emery’s side hit an expected goals (xG) of 2xG compared to Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s 0.2xG. A clear gulf in class on the night and the same could be the case here.
At the weekend, Villarreal earned a point with Real Madrid and they won the xG battle 2.0xG to 0.6xG on the night as well, so they could feel they deserved more from the game.
This season, the Spanish club have only lost once and that was at the hands of Barcelona. And in this competition, they’re the top scorers (12) and rank highlight for shots (50 – third) and shots on target (27 – second).
They also have created the highest xG in the Europa League’s three games so far with 8.8xG, well clear of any of the three other sides in their group, so you have to look towards the attacking threat of this Villarreal side getting the job done.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv are Europa League perennials but this could be their sternest home test since the mighty Stoke City came here and left with all three points back in 2011.
Joking aside, they are generally sound at Bloomfield Stadium, where they’ve won five of their last six home Europa League games – none of those opponents have been up to the calibre of Villarreal however.
Despite sitting second in Group I, Maccabi’s expected goals against (xGA) is higher than their xGF. There’s not much in it at 3.6xGF v 3.9xGA but it suggests they’ve ridden their luck at times.
But the way Villarreal have made an impression in La Liga makes them hard to ignore. Already in this competition, Paco Alcácer has four goals, while Carlos Bacca has three.
On top of that, they’ve had 11 shots on target between them, so the Maccabi defence could be kept very busy. But the threats come from elsewhere with Takefusa Kubo (three assists) and Samu Chukwueze (two assists) likely to cause havoc.
19/20 is a fine price for an away win, but Villarreal have scored 2+ goals in all of their eight wins this season, so boost the price by backing the Yellow Submarine to win with over 1.5 goals.
PSV v PAOK | Thursday 26th November 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
One of the more intriguing games tonight comes in Eindhoven, as PSV host Greek side PAOK.
Group E is shaping up to be three teams battling it out for two places. As it stands, PSV are the ones missing out after their 4-1 thumping in the reverse fixture a few weeks ago.
However, the Dutch club can reclaim that second spot with three points tonight. They’ve won four of five competitive home games this season, with that defeat coming at the hands of Granada.
With PSV having to go to Andalusia in the next round of fixtures, they’ll be eager to keep tabs on top spot, let alone just second place. So, that could mean this is quite keenly contested.
Both of these sides rank highly for fouls committed in this season’s competition. Somewhat surprisingly PSV have given away 49, while PAOK have committed 45, so not much between them.
Putting those two fouls committed averages together, then you get somewhere close to 31, which is quite a high number meaning a busy night for referee Andris Treimanis.
In three Europa League games last season, the Latvian official averaged 29 fouls and showed 12 yellows. Overall during the 19/20 season, he averaged 49.2 booking points across his 26 games.
And, already in one Champions League outing this season, he dished out 60 booking points in Man City’s 3-1 win over Porto last month.
So, he doesn’t mind dishing the cards out, and PAOK can collect them too. They picked up four cards in the game at Granada (60 booking points in total), while their last three league games have seen them collect a total of 100 booking points.
Some mathematical equations are tricky, but this one isn’t. It’s a tight group, these two teams are battling it out to progress, both of whom rank highly for fouls and a card-happy referee, so that should equal cards.
Only Sky Bet seem to have cards priced up with PAOK most booking points (EVS) looks fair, but 50+ booking points could be the way to go at a slightly bigger price.