UEFA Europa League Expert Tips 2018/19

Betfair Soccer Experts, Football Form Labs are back to give their Europa League Predictions for the 2018/19 tournament. They will preview major games in each stage of the tournament and give their expert tips along the way.

Sevilla v Krasnodar

Friday 14th December

Sevilla have made this encounter a virtual must win if they’re to make the knockout stages., so Pablo Machin will hope to draw on their imperious recent record at home. They’ve won eight on the bounce here in all competitions, while in Europe alone, they’ve won their five matches this term by an aggregate scoreline of 19-1. Krasnodar may be unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions now, but eight of those came at home with the majority of them versus weaker Russian sides, while on the road they have won only one of their last four as they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet, losing to both Zenit domestically and Standard Liege in this competition. Indeed, those two defeats were only narrow 2-1 defeats, but Sevilla take no prisoners at home, with 5-1 and 6-0 victories over Standard Liege and Akhisarspor respectively in the group stages.

The visitors may have to deal without veteran striker Ari yet again too, and without him they have come up short in their last two – stalemates against Russian mid-table side Rostov and bottom-three outfit Ufa. He is their top scorer in this competition and joint top scorer in the league, so they’ll certainly miss him should he not be fit. Furthermore, Russian sides have lost 26 of their 37 visits to La Liga teams since 1998 in European competition, so all things point towards the hosts. Given a victory by a margin of two goals or more will be enough for Sevilla to secure top spot, we’re happy to back them on the handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sevilla -1.5 Asian Handicap at 2.0


Rapid Vienna v Rangers

Friday 14th December

Group G is incredibly tight with just two points separating first from fourth, though with leaders Villarreal hosting dead last Spartak Moscow, Rangers realistically need a win and have to go for it. They’ve certainly done that on their travels in Europe as they drew 2-2 at Villarreal and lost 4-3 at Spartak Moscow – despite having led three times against the Russians – and with none of these goals scored by Alfredo Morelos, Steven Gerrard can laugh of accusations that his side are reliant on the ill-disciplined Colombian striker.

The reverse of this fixture also saw four goals as Rangers ran out 3-1 winners at Ibrox. Meanwhile, seven of Rapid Vienna’s nine European outings this term (including play-offs) have seen at least three strikes, as four of these saw a minimum of four goals. Indeed, the two clashes with top dogs Villarreal were the only occasions where the Austrians failed to register on the scoreboard. However, as Rangers have responded well in Europe this term when the chips are down, we’d be bullish about their chances of delivering a goal or two as well. Given the group standings, no matter what happens one team or the other will need to go for it and so goals should be firmly on the agenda.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 1.74

Vorskla Poltava v Arsenal

Friday 30th November, 4.55am AEDT

Arsenal have already qualified form Group E and victory here would guarantee them top spot. Unai Emery hasn’t been afraid to play his best players in this competition and he may be forced to start Pierre Emerick Aubameyang with Danny Welbeck out for the season and Alexandre Lacazette not yet fully fit.

This only makes the case for the Gunners stronger and they should have no problem breezing past inferior opposition.

Vorskla Poltava have lost three of their four group stage matches, including both home encounters to Qarabag and Sporting. In fact, they’ve lost five of their last six on home turf in all competitions as they failed to score in four of these, while they’ve lost their last three across all venues without finding the net.

It seems unlikely they’ll be able to cause an upset as the Gunners have only failed to find the net once in their last 18 under Emery, and if they get ahead it’s difficult to see a way back for the Ukrainians.

We wouldn’t put anyone off Arsenal/Under 2.5 Goals with the likelihood they’ll take their foot off the gas with the North London derby on Sunday, but they look excellent value for the straight win. Indeed, they’ve won four of five away games in the Europa League group stage since the start of last season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal to Win at $1.84


Rangers v Villarreal

Friday 30th November, 7.00am AEDT

It’s very tight in Group G with all four teams within two points of each other as everyone has a chance of qualifying for the Last 32. No side has won more than once, but Villarreal are the only team not to lose with three draws and a win.

However, the Yellow Submarine aren’t enjoying the best of seasons, winning just four of 18 matches in all competitions as they’re down in 16th in La Liga. Furthermore, while Javier Calleja doesn’t change the whole starting XI, he uses the Europe League as an opportunity to rotate his squad with the main focus on improving their league stature.

They’ve drawn both of their away matches at Spartak Moscow and Rapid Vienna, meaning they’ve won just five of 17 away matches in this competition since 2015/16. This is despite reaching the semi’s in 2015/16 where they still only triumphed in two of seven road games that year.

Rangers managed an impressive 2-2 in the reverse fixture on matchday one and were unlucky to go down 4-3 in Moscow most recently. However, they drew with the Russian outfit back at Ibrox and convincingly beat Rapid Vienna as they still remain unbeaten at home under Steven Gerrard, winning 11 of 14.

The Liverpool legend is taking this competition more seriously than his counterpart and they appear excellent value on the handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Rangers +0.25 Asian Handicap at 2.12

Arsenal v Sporting

Friday 9th November, 7.00am AEDT

The Gunners confirmed themselves as credible top-four contenders with a stalemate hosting Liverpool at the Emirates, preserving their unbeaten streak which now stretches to 14 matches. That includes victories by two-goal margins in six of eight home games, as well as racking up twice as many goals as anyone else in Group E to date.

Sporting had to be patient as they had to wait until the second half to break the deadlock hosting Qarabag, before requiring two late goals to beat Vorskla Poltava 2-1, so they have plenty of convincing to do and it’s hard to see a way back for them if they concede first at the Emirates.

Arsenal will be further encouraged by a shoddy record in recent years of Portuguese teams travelling to England. Sporting, Porto and Benfica have trailed at both half-time and full-time in four of five winless road games to a combination of Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester and Man Utd since 2014/15. Even that sole exception came under mitigating circumstances, as Liverpool rested a couple of players having won the first leg 5-0 in Porto during last seasons’ run to the final.

Sporting haven’t had the best of times on the road domestically either, losing three of five winless away matches against Porto or Benfica since 2016/17. Meanwhile, they’ve lost three of their last six across all competitions ahead of this clash – including a 4-2 defeat away at bottom-half outfit Portimonense.

In fact, they’ve conceded first in four of their last five on their travels, including their sole road trip in the Europa League to date, while the exception came in the Taca de Portugal against third-tier outfit Loures.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal/Arsenal HT/FT at $1.91


Lazio v Marseille

Friday 9th October, 4.55am AEDT

It’s not been a stellar campaign for Marseille as they sit down in 6th domestically, with their 19 points just 53% of the total available as PSG have nearly doubled that tally already. They’re just W2-D1-L4 on their travels this season, while they’ve lost their last three home or away as they’ve shipped eight goals and netted just once.

One of those was a 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture as these two met a couple of weeks ago, leaving Rudi Garcia’s team with four defeats from their last five in Europe as they’ve conceded 12 times. Even including the qualifiers, Marseille are just W1-D4-L5 on their travels in Europe since the start of last season, with the stalemates coming over limited outfits Oostende, Domzale, Konyaspor and Apollon Limassol.

Lazio aren’t great on the road in Europe, evening losing half of their matches since the start of last season, but on home turf they excel, going W10-D2-L1 since 2015/16. They netted at least three times in six of those victories, while they’ve scored 13 goals across the last four since the knockout rounds commenced last term.

The hosts have won nine of 12 matches across all competitions since a pair of early season defeats to Napoli and Juve, including five of six at the Stadio Olimpico – with the exception against a an impressive Inter. With that in mind, Simone Inzaghi’s men are all set to secure qualification and make it a straight battle between themselves and Eintracht Frankfurt for top spot, while we wouldn’t put anyone off a repeat of the 3-1 these two played out last time.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Lazio to win at $1.79

 BACK – Lazio 3-1 correct score $12.5

AC Milan v Real Betis

Friday 26th October, 3.55am AEST

AC Milan won 1-0 at Luxembourg minnows Dudelange in their Group F opener and they can take a firm grip of the pool with another three points here.  Since losing 3-2 at Napoli, Milan are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions with four wins.

Olympiakos will be without Konstantinos Tsimikos after the defender saw red in their opening 0-0 stalemate against Betis.  The Greeks are regular features in European competitions. They’ve played in either of the Champions League or Europa League in each of the last eight seasons but they typically find life very tough on the road. Last season they lost all three of their away matches and since 2011/12 they’ve lost 13/21 in the Group Stage including both of their games in Italy.

Last season, AC Milan won five of their seven home matches in Europe before losing to Arsenal in the Last 16 of the Europa League. The hosts aren’t the force they used to be but they continue to prove their dominance again lesser opposition.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – AC Milan Win $2.00


Sporting CP v Arsenal

Friday 26th October, 3.55am AEST

Arsenal stretched their winning streak to 10 matches with victory over Leicester on Monday night but while they’ve always been strong in the comforts of the Emirates, their away victories were against three of the current bottom-four of the Premier League and the woeful Qarabag.

They’ll be severely tested travelling to a Sporting side whose only defeat on home soil in all competitions since the start of last term was to Barcelona in last year’s Champions League group stages.

The Portuguese outfit only lost to the Catalans 1-0 while they also held Juventus 1-1 and beat Olympiakos in their other home group matches. Furthermore, they went on to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League where they even beat Atletico but were unable to turnaround the 2-0 deficit from the away leg.

The Gunners have won five of their eight away matches in the Europa League since the start of last season, but four of those were against minnows Qarabag, Ostersunds, Red Star and FC Bate, while they’ve drawn at CSKA an lost at Atletico and FC Koln in this time.

Additionally, the ‘Big Six’ from the Premier League are a rather average W9-D5-L9 when travelling to face Sporting, Benfica or Porto since 2003/04, so Sporting look excellent value +0.25 on the Asian Handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sporting +0.25 Asian Handicap at 2.19

AC Milan v Olympiakos

Friday 5th October, 2.55am AEST

AC Milan won 1-0 at Luxembourg minnows Dudelange in their Group F opener and they can take a firm grip of the pool with another three points here.  Since losing 3-2 at Napoli, Milan are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions with four wins.

Olympiakos will be without Konstantinos Tsimikos after the defender saw red in their opening 0-0 stalemate against Betis.  The Greeks are regular features in European competitions. They’ve played in either of the Champions League or Europa League in each of the last eight seasons but they typically find life very tough on the road. Last season they lost all three of their away matches and since 2011/12 they’ve lost 13/21 in the Group Stage including both of their games in Italy.

Last season, AC Milan won five of their seven home matches in Europe before losing to Arsenal in the Last 16 of the Europa League. The hosts aren’t the force they used to be but they continue to prove their dominance again lesser opposition.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – AC Milan Win $1.51


Spartak Moscow v Villarreal

Friday 5th October, 5.00am AEST

This match is one of the most evenly rated by the odds-makers in this slate of games but we think the edge lies with the visitors.

Spartak Moscow have won just two of their last 10 home matches in Europe including losing four of their last nine. In attempting to qualify for the Champions League proper they went down 3-2 on aggregate to PAOK as they failed to net at home when needing to score after losing the first leg. In their opener against Rapid Vienna, the Russians lost 2-0.

Villarreal have much better European pedigree. They’ve avoided defeat in the seven of their last eight on the road with three wins from their last five. Crucially, they’ve netted in eight of the games and one goal may well be enough to secure all three points in the Russian capital.

Spanish sides have won six of their last 10 trips to Russia in this competition and the Yellow Submarine have what it takes to make it seven in 11.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Villarreal Win $2.60

PAOK Salonika v Chelsea

Friday 21st September, 2.55am AEST

Chelsea have surprised most pundits with their excellent start in the league and they should have no problems starting their European campaign off with victory here – where they look a generous price to do so. PAOK have won only one of their last nine Europa League home games, failing to score in six of these, though they did prove tough to break down as five of these saw fewer than two goals whilst they trailed at the break in just two of these.

This is Chelsea’s first ever Europa League group stage campaign but if we exclude teams we have ranked in Europe’s top 20 then they’ve won seven of their last 11 European away games, keeping a clean sheet in seven of these matches.  Indeed, 13 of Chelsea’s last 16 European away victories have been without conceding and so whilst Chelsea look fair value in the match outcome market, we’re going to boost that price by backing Sarri’s men to win without conceding.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Chelsea Win to Nil at $3.2


Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava

Friday 21st September, 5.00am AEST

Excluding when Atletico visited in the semi-finals, Arsenal made light work of the majority of their opponents at the Emirates in this competition last term, winning four of their first six home games by more than one goal. They kept only two clean sheets in their seven home games and they’ve struggled defensively under Emery too as they’re still searching for their first clean sheet in the league.

That’ll give Ukrainian outfit Vorskla some encouragement as they compete in the Europa League group stages for only the second time and the first since 2011/12. They picked up only two points from their six games then and after a slow start domestically, we don’t expect them to cause the Gunners many problems. They’ve failed to score in three of their five away games in the Ukrainian Premier League and so this looks like an excellent opportunity for Emery’s men to record their first clean sheet of the season.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Arsenal Win to Nil at $1.66


Related Articles

UEFA Champions League 2018/19: Outright Preview

Football Form Labs give their preview of the UEFA Champions League, picking out their two best selections to win ...

EPL Predictions Model

Betfair’s internal team of Data Scientists have created an EPL Predictions Model. The EPL model automatically pulls data dating back ...

Your Expert Soccer Predictions for EPL 2018/19

They’re veterans of the Betfair Hub and we’re happy to announce that Football Formlabs are giving their Soccer Predictions for ...