5 Tips for Thursday's Europa League - GW3 (21/10/21)

West Ham vs Genk: West Ham win to nil

West Ham United continue their debut campaign in the group stages of a European competition when they welcome Belgian side Genk to the London Stadium, aiming to make it three wins from three.

The Hammers made the perfect response to losing very late on against Brentford before the international break, going to Goodison Park and beating Everton at the weekend with a solitary goal from Angelo Ogbonna. That result moved them to within one point of the top four and they are going even better in the Europa League, sitting top of their group with maximum points and no goals conceded.

On the other hand, Genk’s recent form has been concerning. A 3-0 battering at home to Dinamo Zagreb on matchday two started a run of three consecutive defeats now, and David Moyes’ side will be confident of condemning the Belgian outfit to a fourth here. Defensive woes have been alarming too, Genk have conceded 12 goals in their last five matches.

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Sturm Graz vs Real Sociedad: Real to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1

After drawing their opening two matches in Group B, Real Sociedad travel to Austria on Thursday night to face a Sturm Graz side yet to earn a point in the competition so far.

Few sides in the top European leagues have been able to consistently pick up results in close matches quite like La Real so far this season. They are unbeaten in 10 matches but have only scored more than two on one occasion in that run, winning four games 1-0, and tight encounters with PSV and Monaco in this group means it is wide open.

Injury concerns, including Mikel Oyarzabal, did not stop them from picking up another victory at the weekend, winning 1-0 over Real Mallorca, but with none of the players expected to return here, their squad will be stretched slightly. Sturm will need all the help they can get though, after being on the receiving end of a 4-1 drubbing at home to PSV on matchday two, the difference in quality was noticeable, and unsurprisingly, the bottom seeds sit bottom of the group.

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REAL SOCIEDAD TO WIN 1-0, 2-0 OR 2-1 @ 15/8

Midtjylland vs Red Star: Red Star to win

One of Thursday’s early kick-offs will see Red Star Belgrade put their 100% start in Group F on the line, when they travel to Denmark to face Midtjylland.

The Serbian champions have been in imperious form this season, winning ten of their last 11, with the only blemish being a draw away at their Belgrade rivals Partizan. A 7-1 win away at Kolubara at the weekend, which saw them 6-0 up at the break, emphasises the confidence running through the side at the moment.

Midtjylland made it to the Champions League group stages last season, but failed to do so this time around despite knocking Celtic out early in the qualifying. They had to settle for a place in the Europa League, but a poor start means they sit bottom of the group with just one point after losing at Braga last time out.

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PSV vs Monaco: Zahavi to score + PSV to win

The other tie in Group B sees two sides with past European pedigree face off in Eindhoven, as PSV host Monaco, with top spot up for grabs as we reach the halfway point.

After finishing 16 points behind their bitter rivals Ajax in the Eredivisie last season, PSV look like they are putting up a better fight this season, with just one point separating the two sides, helped by the fact PSV have won four of their last five games. Monaco have had a tougher time of it in Ligue 1. A late defeat at the hands of Lyon at the weekend means they are down in tenth, mainly due to the woeful start they had to the season.

The man who could make all the difference is PSV’s Eran Zahavi. The Israeli forward showed Scotland fans what he is capable of when he scored a fifth-minute free-kick at Hampden Park last week, that being his 13th goal of the season already for club and country, and he made 14 a few days later against Moldova. He got six goals in six games for PSV in this competition last season, and he notched away to Sturm Graz last time out too.

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Frankfurt vs Olympiakos: Olympiakos win or draw

Eintracht Frankfurt failed to follow up on their excellent win away at Bayern Munich before the international break, losing to Hertha Berlin at the weekend, and they now face an Olympiakos side who have not lost a game in normal time all season.

Frankfurt have won just two of their 11 games this season, the first of the season came against Antwerp on matchday two just days before that staggering win away at Bayern, but a defeat to third-tier Mannheim and six consecutive draws through August and September means they are hovering just above the relegation zone.

In stark contrast, Olympiakos have made a wonderful start to the season, with two wins from two in Europe, including a very eye-catching 3-0 win away to Fenerbahce last time out, and they sit top of the Greek Super League after six games. Their only defeat in 15 games this season came on penalties to Ludogorets Razgrad in Champions League qualifying.

Europa League Predictions