Rangers v Villarreal
Let’s start our Europa League betting tips with Rangers v Villareal. We’re now heading for the next installment of the Europa League betting tips. Rangers line-up for what will be their final home tie of the Europa League group campaign; however, everyone in blue will be hoping it’s not the final time they run out at Ibrox in the competition this season. They remain in the hunt for a place in the next phase but have an uphill task after failing to win any of their last two. Going into matchday five, Rangers sit third in Group G on five points, level with second place Spartak Moscow and a point behind leaders, and Thursday’s opponents, Villarreal. A home win would see them put one foot in the next round, but that’s easier said than done.
If Rangers were to bow out of Europe before Christmas it would go down as a fantastic turnaround in the club’s fortunes under Steven Gerrard. Having said that, they’d look back on the campaign as a whole and know they only had themselves to blame. The Gers were wasteful when last here, drawing with Moscow in a match they dominated but lacked the creativity to break their opponents down. They then went to Russia and suffered a defensive nightmare, scoring three good goals but conceding four, including an OG. At least two of the goals dropped that night were easily avoidable and leaving empty-handed would’ve taught the squad a lesson or two.
Villarreal Unbeaten So Far
Villarreal head to Scotland unbeaten in their first four games at this level. That was expected of them and they were priced as favourites to win the pool pre-tournament; however, three draws and a win shows they have been less than impressive. The Spaniards were held to a share on their own patch by Rangers in week one; that was followed that with another high-scoring draw with Moscow next time out. They finally bagged the win in week three, beating Rapid Vienna 5-0 at home last month.
That scoreline suggested they could be trusted to double-up in the return leg but had to settle for a share of the spoils. Again, they kept a clean-sheet but were unable to score in Vienna, a result that means the group is still there to be won. Villarreal haven’t been any better domestically and fought out a 2-2 away draw with Rayo Vallecano before the international break. It had a familiar feel to it, Villareal picked to win but ending level. If they can be held in Glasgow it’ll set-up a fascinating final round of group games.
Quick on the Draw
This match is scheduled for an 8.00pm kick-off and will be shown live on BT Sports. Armchair fans are set for another enjoyable 90 minutes and punters looking to get their stake down on the winner will find the visitors marked as favourites for the points.
Traders at 13/5 through Unibet.
Fancy an upset on another electric European night in Glasgow? There’s every chance Rangers, at their very best, could win this match and bookies haven’t rushed to oppose them. 8/13 – top price with William Hill.
Something Worth Knowing
Lovers of the stats will find it interesting to learn that Thursday night’s match will be the fourth competitive meeting between Rangers and Villarreal, with each of the previous three ending in a draw. That sequence started back in February 2006 on Champions League duty when fighting out a 2-2 at Ibrox Park, before a return-leg 1-1 at El Madrigal, The Yellow Submarine going through on the away goal rule.
The latest result fell into line in September of this year when the pair were involved in another four-goal thriller. Bacca broke the deadlock inside a minute, Arfield had The Gers level, before Moreno quickly restored his side’s advantage. One final twist as Lafferty evened things again on 76 minutes. Both teams had chances to win the match in the dying minutes, but both failed to finish.
Chelsea v PAOK Salonika
Chelsea have done as expected and will progress from Europa League Group L as champions. The Blues have already put a dozen points on the board from the first 12 available to them, winning four, scoring six and conceding just one. This division has been a canter for them so far and they’ve eased to the results without ever getting out of first gear. They don’t need the win here but will be eager to finish on a high and send out a message of intent to their main rivals in the competition. Six wins would do just that.
The locals were last seen in Europa League action handing a 1-0 defeat to BATE Borisov on the road; former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of the game early in the second-half. The result was picked by most but the scoreline was perhaps a little closer than many expected with a fair share of punters backing the away day on the handicap. Chelsea did just what they needed to do to maintain their 100% record, and nothing more. It’s refreshing to see a side of their calibre taking the group stages so seriously.
PAOK Expected to Lose
PAOK Salonika sit in third, three points off MOL Vidi, their main rivals for second place and qualification from the group. With MOL matched with bottom club BATE and expected to win, the pressure is on the visitors to leave London with something to show for their efforts; however, that is highly unlikely. The underdogs have won one and lost three of their four so far, with that miserable form showing a pair of defeats in each of their last two.
Salonika have scored four goals so far but conceded five and that about sums up how things have gone for them to date. They were never expected to get out of the group but would’ve fancied themselves to pick-up more points than they have so far. A third defeat in-a-row is expected, and it would see them lose their spot in Europe, for another season at least.
No Surprises in the Betting
It’ll come as no great surprise to learn bookies have Chelsea as red-hot favourites; however, the home win is unbackable at 3/11 (Unibet), unless you’re going to put them to good use in stacked accas. We do agree with odds-makers and fancy the Chelsea victory, so it’s a case of predicting how they’ll do it.
Taking -1 goal on the handicap is a fair shout at 2/1 (William Hill)
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