Europa League : Feyenoord v Man United preview

naijbet.com

Manchester United have left a host of first-team personnel at home for their trip to the Netherlands to take on Feyenoord in the Europa League.

After losing 2-1 at home to Manchester City on Saturday, United will be looking to get back to winning ways on their Europa League group stage bow.

It will be strange for United followers to see their side enter the competition at this stage with the 20-time English champions more accustomed to the Champions League for so many years.

 Nonetheless, Jose Mourinho has insisted his side are in the competition to win it, and is adamant he will be fielding a strong side in Rotterdam on Thursday night. Naijabet

Changes are afoot, however, with Wayne Rooney not taking part having been left at home. Marcus Rashford is in line to start.

Opponents Feyenoord have plenty of familiar foes in their ranks, with former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt certainly recognisable to United fans, while coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst is also a figure fans will easily identify.

The former Arsenal defender is aware of the task at hand and has singled out Rashford as “one of the biggest threats in England”.

Team news

Rooney is not the only player to be left back in Manchester, with Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw also not named in the squad to travel to the Netherlands.

The trio trained on the eve of the match but have been rested for the Group A clash, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Phil Jones stayed put through injury.

The latter was substituted at half-time of Saturday’s derby defeat to City along with Jesse Lingard, who has also not travelled to Holland.

Van Bronckhorst confirmed he has a fully fit squad and no players will be rested ahead of a crucial weekend clash with PSV.

Opta stats

United have won both of their previous meetings with Feyenoord, in the 1997-98 Champions League group stages (2-1 home and 3-1away).

Feyenoord have won only one of their last seven meetings with English opposition (D1 L5), 1-0 at Newcastle in the 2002-03 Champions League.

This is only Feyenoord’s second season in the competition since it becamethe Europa League – they were eliminated by Roma in the last 32 in 2014-15.

The last time United played in the first round of the UEFA Cup/Europa League was in 1995-96 – they were knocked out on away goals by Rotor Volgograd.

Feyenoord have won four and lost four of their last eight home games in European competition (excluding qualifiers).

Manchester United have lost six of their last seven away European games, drawing the other (excluding qualifiers). Indeed, they’ve lost their last three European away games – they’ve never lost four in a row.

NAIJABET ODD

Favourites Feyenoord are 4.08 with niajabet to make a winning start to their Europa League campaign, with Manchester United  1.84 outsiders while the draw is priced at 3.45

 

Celtic Vs Ajax: Betting Preview

Ronny Deila’s men are rock-bottom of Group A but the midfielder is confident that they can spring a surprise and progress to the knockout stages in the coming weeks

Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic remains hopeful the Scottish champions can reach the knockout stages of the Europa League as they prepare to take on Ajax at Parkhead.

Ronny Deila’s men are bottom of Group A with just two points from four encounters following 2-2 draws with Ajax and Celtic and a pair of defeats at the hands of leaders Molde.

Anything other than a first victory of the group stage would see Celtic eliminated if Fenerbahce better their result at Molde.

“We have to have the belief that we can win and can still go through in the group,” Rogic told reporters.

“It’s a big opportunity. We’re disappointed with the last couple of results but we’re working hard to make sure we’re as best prepared to go out and get the result we need.

“We go into every game thinking we’ll get a positive result and we especially want to do that at home.

“The last game was disappointing but it won’t change our belief within the squad. We’re looking forward to it.”

Celtic have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last seven meetings with Ajax and are winless in their last nine Europa League games, drawing four and losing five.

One player who will feel confident heading into Thursday’s encounter if he is given the medical green light is Kris Commons, who has had a hand in five of Celtic’s six Europa League goals this season.

Celtic will head into Thursday’s crunch tie without Stefan Johansen and Nir Bitton, who are both suspended, while captain Scott Brown is doubtful after picking up a knock against Kilmarnock at the weekend.

Ajax, meanwhile, will have to make do without the services of South Africa international Thulani Serero, Riechedly Bazoer (both hamstring) and Daley Sinkgraven, who underwent knee surgery on Tuesday and will be out of action for the remainder of 2015.

Frank de Boer’s men still have every chance of reaching the next round, but they cannot afford to spill points against Celtic if they are to keep up with second-placed Fenerbahce, who hold a two-point lead over the Amsterdammers.

Victory in Glasgow will not come easy, however, as Ajax have  been struggling to find their best form in Europe in 2015-16.

Ajax are winless in the Europa League this season, though three of their four games have ended level and they have failed to score in their last two European fixtures.

NaijaBet Odds

As at this post  has Celtic 2.41  odd to win the match on NaijaBet while Ajax  has 2.77 odd to win the match also, while the odd to draw the match is 3.35 .

Europa League final preview; Sevilla vs. Dnipro

sevila-d-600x350Sevilla aim to defend the Europa League title they won last year when they play Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in Wednesday’s final at the Stadion Narodowy, Warsaw.

The Spanish club are overwhelming favorites coming into this match having made light work of the opposition for most of the competition with the toughest test coming against Zenit St. Petersburg in the quarter-finals which they eventually won 4-3 on aggregate.

With the chance to win the Europa League for a record fourth time, there is extra incentive for Unai Emery’s men who have been urged by their coach to embrace the chance at creating history come Wednesday.

Speaking to UEFA.com, Emery said: “We can’t deny that we have the chance to create history. Of course, we are grateful to have that chance, to be able to pursue this.

“We are aiming to achieve something with this team, with Sevilla. It shouldn’t feel like pressure or stop us from executing our game plan against Dnipro. It will serve more as a motivation, like a dream we can achieve.”

Dnipro on the other hand are coming into this match on the back of a hard fought 3-2 victory over Shakter Donetsk in a Ukrainian first division fixture.

The Warriors of light have been the revelation of this year’s competition after knocking out some of the more accomplished sides like Ajax and Napoli to reach their first ever European final.

Coach Myron Markevych’s has relied on his side’s solid defensive organization in past matches and he will likely adopt the same approach for this match.

An extra incentive for both sides is that the winners of the Europa League now qualify automatically for the group stages of the Champions League as specified by UEFA’s new rule.

Team News

Dnipro have to make do without Roman Zozulya (knee) and Serhiy Kravchenko (knock) while Yevhen Shakhov’s availability is doubtful.

Sevilla are not without their own injury problems with concerns over Dani Parejo (knee) and goalkeeper Beto (shoulder).

Prediction

Sevilla are better placed to win because of their vast experience in this competition but Dnipro’s exploits this season indicate that they can be very dangerous if underestimated.

Nonetheless, I still think the cup holders have enough in them to see off Dnipro comfortably.

Sevilla 2-0 Dnipro

NAIJABET ODDS

Holders Sevilla, who have just finished fifth in Spain’s Primera Division and are therefore in need of the Champions League place which Wednesday’s winners will claim have a 1.64 odd to win the match on NaijaBet while dnipro will want to mount a challenge to the title holders, they have the 5.81 odd to win the match. Odd to draw the match is 3.81.

Europa League: Manchester City V Lech Poznan

Manchester City

Group A Position: 2nd

It’s clear that Manchester City are out to prove that money can buy you instant success, and on today will look to stamp their mark on the continental scene, albeit in Europe’s second tier club competition, with an authoritative display against Polish side Lech Poznan at Eastlands. Few would back against them securing the win they need to put themselves in a more comfortable position in the table at the midway stage of proceedings, after the team secured their fourth league win in a row at the weekend following an enthralling 3-2 victory away to Blackpool, coupled with impressive performances against Newcastle United (2-1) and Chelsea (1-0).

A positive response following the 1-1 draw at home to Juventus last time out is what Roberto Mancini is looking for from his players, while there could even be the opportunity for some of the club’s fringe players to make an impression on the tough-talking Italian as we’re anticipating changes from Mancini. Among those who could be rested is star striker Carlos Tevez, who scored twice at the weekend and currently leads the scoring charts in the Premier League with seven goals. The Argentine has been the focal point in what has so far been a promising start to the season back home domestically, with City currently the closest challengers to Chelsea’s crown and sit just two points adrift of the Blues. However, Tevez may be forced to play some part in proceedings should Brazilian striker Jo not prove his fitness in time.

Whatever Mancini decides to do, a strong Manchester City team will take to the field at Eastlands regardless aiming to protect their unbeaten status in Europe this season, winning three of their opening four matches in the competition (Two were in the play-offs, the other away in Salzburg 2-0). Emmanuel Adebayor has come in for heavy criticism this season but is expected to lead the line on today, with Mario Balotelli, Kolou Toure and Alexsander Kolarov the only definite absentee’s.

Despite looking the stronger outfit on paper, but a comfortable margin as well, Mancini must guard against complacency and arrogance from his players, as there was certainly a degree of underestimation in the lead-up to City’s last Europa League clash at home to Juventus, where City had to come from behind in order to avoid defeat on home soil. Their opponents stunned Juventus by drawing 3-3 in Turin first time out so they merit the utmost respect, but a professional display from City should be enough to ensure they claim the three points they need to top the group and thus put them within one more victory of assured progression into the next round.

Lech Poznan

Group A Position: 1st

Underdogs won’t come much bigger than Polish champions Lech Poznan, winners of their sixth Ekstraklasa championship last season and so nearly the first team in Europe this season to claim the scalp of Italian giants Juventus following their 3-3 draw in Turin on Match Day 1. In fact, Lech took a 2-0 lead in that game, and instead of drowning on the their sorrows when throwing away their two goal advantage, they bounced back in style next time out to record a 2-0 win over FC Salzburg in Poland. As a result, the only Polish representative in Europe this season currently reside in top-spot in Group A above their Match Day 3 rivals Manchester City.

Because of their impressive and overachieving start to their European campaign, having registered more points than expected following Group A meetings with Juventus and Salzburg, Lech Poznan players will sleep easy the night before in the knowledge that defeat in England would be a catastrophe, while they can even afford to rest on their laurels and boldly attempt to defend their way to a share of the spoils. There will be absolutely no pressure on Jacek Zielinski’s men to get anything from this game, with many merely expecting them to roll over and accept a spanking from Europe’s newest wannabes, but that’s what makes them dangerous; there’s nothing to lose for the visitors, only a lot to gain.

However, a spanking is just what they will get if they replicate their league form on  today night. Despite clinching the Polish league title last season, Lech Poznan currently find themselves languishing down in 14th position, third from bottom, following a disastrous start to the season which has seen them register just two wins in their opening eight matches. They’re also enduring a miserable run of three successive defeats in the league, four in all competitions, and the chances of them turning the form book completely on its head now look slimmer than ever, with the confidence in camp naturally going to be very low. It could be a case of adrenaline and that only getting them through today night’s daunting encounter.

One player to keep an eye out for is Latvian striker Artoms Rudnevs. While the 22 year-old may have managed just one goal in his opening eight league games this season, Rudnevs stunned the Juventus crowd in Turin on Match Day 1 by scoring a hat-trick, his first goals for the club incidentally.

Match Prediction: Manchester City to WIN – 1.04 NaijaBet

If we were to ignore Lech’s domestic results and concentrate solely on their form in this competition then a difficult night might have been in-store for Roberto Mancini’s and his mega-earners, but their form back home is so dire, against mediocre opposition, that to suggest they can be a match for the might of Man City, who are currently unstoppable in the Premier League and boasting a wealth of talent within their ranks would be ludicrous.

The Polish side may well give as good as they get defensively, perhaps attempting to defend like soldiers in a bid to keep the score at 0-0 for as long as possible, but it should be a formality that City find the breakthrough at some point and once they do it could rain goals in Manchester.

Emmanuel Adebayor could be the player to keep on the right side of on today. While the Togo international hasn’t been in scoring form this season, or any sort of form for that matter, and does appear a want-away striker at present, he will be out to prove a point that he is a valuable asset to the club and that when presented with an opportunity, he can stick them away with aplomb. He could be the main man up front should Carlos Tevez receive a welcomed and deserved rest.