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.

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

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