The Europa League continues this week with a full set of fixtures set to come your way on Thursday.
There weren’t really too many surprises during the Europa League matchday with most of the big teams cruising to victory.
This week will see Manchester United head into the maelstrom that is the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium to face Fenerbahçe while managerless Inter travel to England’s South Coast to take on Southampton. Surprise Ligue 1 leaders, Nice are also in action as they welcome Red Bull Salzburg to the Allianz Riviera.
Fenerbahçe 22/10 | Draw 9/4 | Manchester United 12/10
Following a pretty dire start to the season, Fenerbahçe have just started to come alive in the Turkish Süper Lig. Undefeated in six and coming into this game off the back of a 5-0 thumping of Karabükspor, the Yellow Canaries will be keen on exacting revenge following their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United in the last round of the Europa League.
United had a weekend to remember as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley at Old Trafford. Despite completely and utterly dominating the game with 72% possession, 37 shots and 19 corners; the Red Devils were unable to beat Tom Heaton on the day. Things are going from bad to worse for Mourinho at United – he has now officially had a poorer start to the season than David Moyes had a few years ago. He’ll also now have to serve a touchline ban following his furious tirade at Mark Clattenburg last weekend.
The Special One will likely need to focus on the Europa League now as his chances of finishing in the top four in the Premier League are looking slimmer by the week. Expect a strong United side to make the trip to Turkey on Thursday evening.
While everyone always harps on about the atmosphere in Turkish stadia, home teams don’t usually do well against English opposition. Mourinho – despite his public slating of the competition – knows that his best route into next season’s Champions League is through the Europa League. As such, United have to be respected at 12/10 – get on!
Nice 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Red Bull Salzburg 32/10
If you told me Five years ago that Mario Balotelli would be leading the line for a club sitting atop the Ligue 1 standings, I’d have probably believed you thinking he’d be at PSG. However, things don’t always work out the way that they should. The Italian ace revived his career at Nice following his Anfield nightmare where he failed to live up to his star billing.
He’s now reinvented his career in the south of France looking to fire Nice to their first Ligue 1 title since 1959. The French side haven’t been able to recreate their home form in continental competition yet, although they did get their first win of the competition last time out as they beat Salzburg 1-0. The French side need to win here if they realistically want to advance to the next round, although I’m sure Lucian Farve won’t mind his team bombing in the first round so that they can focus on the league.
Red Bull Salzburg are all but out of the Europa League having not won a single point in this year’s competition. I feel that Oscar Garcia Junyent will field a weakened side, with the likes of Jonathan Soriano and Takumi Minamino out of the team, so that they can focus on the Austrian Bundesliga instead.
Nice are on fire at the moment and should be backed to win at 8/10. Their squad is far superior to that of Red Bull Salzburg and should be backed as such.
Southampton 13/20 | Draw 26/10 | Inter Milan 17/4
The Saints would have been disappointed after losing 2-0 at home to Chelsea at the weekend. Having said that, Chelsea put in one of their best performances of the season (not counting the 4-0 drubbing of United) in order to do so.
I was quite surprised when Claude Puel’s side went down against Inter during the last Europa League matchday as Antonio Candreva grabbed his first goal for the Italian giants. Having said that, Southampton missed several opportunities that should have seen them wrap the game up before Candreva sweetly-hit strike found the top corner.
Inter Milan will head to the South of England without a manager and in complete turmoil. 12th in Serie A and dead last in their Europa League group, they need a massive improvement if they are to salvage what has been a disastrous season to date. The captain falling out with the fans, managerless, rudderless and without a clue – I don’t seem them coming to St. Mary’s and getting a win.
Southampton were unlucky not to have won at the San Siro and will be keen to put things right in front of their own fans. Back them at 13/20.
Treble at 11/2
Man United: Win 12/10
Nice: Win 8/10
Southampton: Win 13/20
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.