Europa League Group G Round-Up – 08/12/16
Europa League Group G Round-Up – 08/12/16
Standard Liege v Ajax
Group G is far from settled with the second qualification spot still up for grabs. Standard Liege and Celta Vigo are battling out to seal their place in the round of 32 and it promises to be an exciting race. The pair are locked on six points and it’s going to go down to the wire. Standard Liege will fancy their chances of pipping the La Liga outfit to second with a home tie on match day six. They take on group winners Ajax who’re expected to field a slightly rotated side at the Stade Maurice Dufranse and they’ll feel they have an excellent opportunity of getting the victory they need.
Standard come into this clash in pretty good form after going down to just one defeat in their last five games in all competitions. That run included a pulsating 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo on match day five when a Kostas Laifis equaliser saw them steal a crucial point and take qualification to the final day. They backed up that result in their next league game when they produced a dominant display to overcome Zulte-Waregem with top scorer Ishak Belfodil again grabbing the headlines. He’s Group G’s top scorer with three goals and if Liege are to go through then he will be key to their hopes.
Ajax’s run in this seasons Europa League has been a breeze to date and Peter Bosz can afford to field a rotated side. His side have run away with Group G and their seven points clear of both Standard Liege and Celta Vigo in second and third position. I Lancieri have dropped points in just one of their five games so far and they’re still unbeaten. So despite them not putting out a full strength side, they’re still more than capable of leaving Belgium with three points. Liege will still have memories from their disappointing 1-0 defeat in Amsterdam back on match day two when a Kasper Dolberg saw the Eredivise side come out with three points.
Ajax’s form this season has been quite remarkable, they’ve lost just twice since July and they’re scoring plenty of goals. Peter Bosz’s men have scored ten goals in the Europa League so far but they’re not just built on their prolific attack. They’ve won their last four in all competitions without conceding a goal so they’ll be a tough nut to crack for the home side. They won their last Europa League game 2-o against bottom side Panathinaikos courtesy of efforts from Lasse Schone and Kenny Tete and we can see them causing the hosts all sorts of problems here.
Ishak Belfodil: (Best Priced at 6/4 at BetVictor) – BET HERE
Match to be drawn: (Best Priced at 5/2 at betfair) – BET HERE
Panathinaikos v Celta Vigo
Group G’s other game takes part in Greece where bottom side Panathinaikos take on La Liga side Celta Vigo. The hosts have been rooted to the bottom of the group for the entirety of the Europa League this season and that’s were they’re going to finish. But despite having nothing left to play for, they’ll be eager to exit the competition with a bang in front of their own supporters which could result in Celta going out with them. Marinos Ouzounidis’ men are in poor form though, they’ve lost three of their last five in all competitions and their win over PAOK on Sunday was their first since the end of October.
Panathinaikos’ struggles will give them plenty of motivation when it comes to this clash. The fans haven’t been afraid to show their feelings towards the club and they’ll be desperate for Oi Prasinoi to get revenge over Celta. They defeat them 2-0 in Spain back on match day two on an uninspiring evening. Their surprises have come as a struggle however, they do have plenty of quality and experience in their ranks with the likes of Victor Ibabro, Marcus Berg and Chris Samba to name a few – so it certainly won’t be easy for the visitors.
This is Celta Vigo’s first season in the Europa League and it’s been an adventure for Eduardo Berizzo’s men. They’ve managed to make the jump from domestic to European football admirably and they have an excellent chance of securing qualification to the round of 32 here. They know that if they better Standard Liege’s result against group winners Ajax then they will qualify, so there’s a huge amount on the line for them on match day six. They drew their last outing in disappointing circumstances against qualification rivals Standard Liege – after taking the lead through Iago Aspas with eight minutes on the clock they have to settle for a point after conceding in the 81st minute.
If they managed to hang on then their round of 32 hopes would have been firmly in their hands, but they can’t afford to dwell on that result. If they’re to win in Greece then they’ll have to do it without top scorer Iago Aspas who picked up a last minute dismissal in that clash. The goalscoring burden will fall on someone else and there’s plenty of options for Berizzo to replace the former Liverpool man. The likes of Giuseppi Rossi and John Guidetti are all proven goal scorers, but we’re tipping winger Pione Sisto to run riot here. The former Midtylland man is a real threat out wide and he’s been a revelation at the club since his arrival in the summer. We can see him inspiring his side to a win at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium which should be enough for them to go through.
Celta Vigo to win: (Best Priced at 21/20 at betway) – BET HERE
Pione Sisto to score anytime: (Best Priced at 2/1 at BetVictor) – BET HERE
Check out our other Europa League Betting Previews HERE
Watch highlights from Celta Vigo’s 1-1 draw with Standard Liege here: