Europa League 2017/18 – Round of 32 (Leg Two)

Celtic v Zenit

Friday February 23, 5:00 AEDST

The Scottish champions have set themselves up nicely for the second leg as they avoided the perils of conceding an away goal in their 1-0 victory at Celtic Park. However, that was a poor display as far as Zenit are concerned, and they been far more impressive at home in Europe over the last few years. Zenit have led at both half-time and full-time in 10 of 11 matches at the Stadion Krestovskyi since 2015/16.  The sole exception came when hosting Benfica in the last 16 of the Champions League where they narrowly lost 2-1.

Despite Zenit’s level of dominance on home turf, we do still expect the Hoops to get on the scoresheet with the Russians conceding in five of the last six of victories, and we also like the 3-1 correct score that has been the outcome in three of the last four. Celtic have only failed to register a strike five times in their last 16 European away games since 2013/14 (against Bayern, Barca, Inter, Ajax and Milan), while since 2014/15 both teams have found the net in seven of their nine trips to those we have ranked beyond Europe’s top 10.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Both teams to score at 1.93

Ostersunds v Arsenal

Thursday February 23, 7:05 AEDST

Ostersunds couldn’t cope with Arsenal’s superior quality in the first-leg as they were 2-0 down inside the first 25 minutes, with their opponents coasting from there on in. Mesut Ozil added the third and final goal near the hour mark, but while he and other key players can expect to rest up for the second-leg, we certainly expect the Gunners to maintain complete authority. They’ve battered the likes of Ludogorets and Bate Borisov 6-0 at the Emirates since the start of last season, and in fact they’ve racked up a 15-0 aggregate win over three games hosting sides we have ranked outside Europe’s top 100 since 2015/16.

The Swedish minnows will be further hampered by a lack of match practice ahead of this clash, which will be just their third competitive game of 2018 as the Allsvenskan doesn’t even start until April. Ostersunds only finished 5th in a 16-team league last season, and having failed to register a goal at the best side they faced in the group stages, Athletic Bilbao, both the -2 handicap and the win to nil appeal. We’ll opt for the former in case of any lapses in concentration, with the Gunners’ firepower strong enough to cover any such slip-ups at the back.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal -2 handicap 2.63

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