Europa League Group L Round-Up – 08/12/16
Europa League Group L Round-Up – 08/12/16
Osmanlispor v FC Zurich
Group L is still firmly up for grabs but Osmanlispor are in the driving seat. This is the Turkish Super Lig sides first ever year in the Europa League and they’ve had no trouble adapting to their new surroundings. Mustafa Resit Akcay’s men have been at the summit of Group L for the majority of the tournament, despite being outsiders to qualify when the draw was announced. They’ve picked up seven points from their five games and they knew that a point here will secure qualification for the round of 32. But with just a point separating all four sides they could still end up making an early exit.
They come into this clash in great form too, they’ve lost just once in their last seven in all competitions and just once at home all season. They’ve picked up four points from their two home games which saw them beat Steaua Bucharest (2-0) and draw with Villarreal (2-2). And with a big crowd behind them here the fans will be urging them on secure qualification. They have more than enough quality to get the job done with the likes of Pierre Webo, Adam Maher and Cheick Diabate all key parts of their side. They have plenty of big game experience and we can see them getting the job done here.
FC Zurich came into the Europa League on the back of a strange 15/16 season which saw them get relegated but qualify for the Europa League. Uli Forte had a job on his hands getting the Swiss Challenge League side to perform again but they’ve been more than competitive so far and they have a great chance of qualifying for the next stage. They have six points from their five games so far which leaves them in third position courtesy of their head-to-head record against Steaua Bucharest.
Zurich kicked off the tournament with a disappointing 2-1 defeat the hands of group favourites Villarreal, despite taking an early lead through Armando Sadiku. But they didn’t get let that derail them as they then went on to inflict a defeat on their opponents here at the Letzigrund courtesy of strikes from Marco Schonbachler and Dzengis Cavusevic – with the latters goal coming with just ten minutes left on the clock. They’ve been unbeaten in their other three games and they know if they pick up another victory over Osmalispor here they’ll qualify for the next round, but it will be very tough.
Osmanlispor to win: (Best Priced at 8/11 at betfair) – BET HERE
Goal in both halves: (Best Priced at 10/11 at Coral) – BET HERE
Villarreal v Steaua Bucharest
Group L’s other fixture sees La Liga outit Villarreal take on Liga I runners-up Steaua Bucharest at El Madrigal. The Yellow Submarine entered the group as runaway favourites to come out as winners but things haven’t ran as smoothly as many expected. Fran Escriba’s men are currently bottom but with how tight things are, they’re just a point away from leaders Osmalispor. And they can still go through as group winners, should they win here and there’s a draw in Turkey then they’d seal a favourable draw in the round of 32 – so there’s a huge amount left to play for.
But the omens aren’t great for Villarreal, after a fast start to the season things have really tailed off in recent weeks and they’ve lost four of their last eight – winning just two. And even more worryingly for Fran Escriba is his sides form in front of goal, he’s seen his side go 346 minutes without a goal and they can’t afford a repeat of that here. It’s a quite shocking statistic when you see how much quality they possess, particularly in attack. The likes of Alexandre Pato, Nicola Sansome and Cedric Bakambu are all top players at this level but they have found it difficult to produce the performances we all know they’re capable of. Bakambu is the main man going forward for the Yellow Submarine and we’re backing him to be the difference – he’s priced at 11/8 to score anytime.
Steaua Bucharest haven’t been the most attractive of sides in this years Europa League but they’re in with a fantastic chance of securing qualification to the round of 32. Laurentiu Reghecampf’s men also have six points from five games and they know that a victory in Spain will seal their spot in the next round. A result at El Madrigal would be some statement as the hosts came into the tournament as huge favourites to go through and Steaua are yet to score a goal on the road in this years competition.
Reghecampf’s men lost 2-0 at Osmanlispor on match day one before holding Zurich to a draw at the start of November. But they do come into this clash on a high after picking up a huge three points on match day five against leaders Osmanlispor. They produced a battling performance to fight back from a goal down to win 2-1 courtesy of Marko Momcilovic and an 86th minute Gabriel Tamas winner. That result has given them a chance of qualifying but we can’t see them leaving Spain with a spot in the next round. They’re without a win in their last three in all competitions and we’re expecting that run to continue here.
Villarreal -1 Handicap: (Best Priced at 1/1 at betway) – BET HERE
Cedric Bakambu to score anytime: (Best Priced at 11/8 at BetVictor) – BET HERE
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Watch the top ten goals from last seasons competition here: