The Round Of 16 Begins
Although another top weekend of continental league action is just around the corner, it is the Europa League which has our latest attention.
Closer To Home
With the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium acting as host for this year’s Europa League final, it is almost fitting that Sevilla once again find themselves in the knockout stage of UEFA’s secondary competition.
One that in either the guise of the Europa League or the UEFA Cup, has seen Sevilla previously lift the trophy on six separate occasions and with Julen Lopetegui’s men currently third favourites for success this year, trophy number seven is not out of the question.
Of course, there is still a considerable amount of work to be done before Sevilla can dream of winning the tournament on home turf and their first bit of business, is the arrival of West Ham this evening.
After topping their group before Christmas, the Hammers were afforded the luxury of missing the knockout phase playoff round. Then again, when the draw for the Round of 16 was made, they have arguably been given the toughest pairing of all.
While it will have become even tougher in the past week and with Jarrod Bowen limping off against Liverpool last Saturday, the England hopeful will now aim to be fit for the return meeting at the London Stadium.
Which means the absence of Bowen will certainly be a blow for David Moyes and this will likely tip the balance of the game this evening. With that in mind, bet365’s odds of 11/10 for Sevilla to win at home, is a price that seems incredibly tempting and one I will be making use of myself.
A Different Beast
Phenomenal in Europe, stuttering at home. That has been the tale of the tape for Rangers in recent times and with Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s men now firmly behind Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, the attention of the Ibrox outfit will now pivot back to Thursday night football.
An evening that has been very kind to them in recent weeks and after sensationally dumping Borussia Dortmund out of the Europa League, it is Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade that now stand between themselves and the last eight.
There is no doubt that Rangers have had their tails up on the continent and they have impressed in the Europa League throughout the campaign but at the same time, they are failing to find an extra gear on a domestic front.
Something that has been a visible point of frustration for managers and supporters alike and although the recent highs of holding Borussia Dortmund to a 2-2 draw at Ibrox should not be forgotten, the mood must be tempered by recent draws in the Scottish top flight.
Those domestic woes though are for the weekend, as tonight they must deal with the task in hand and with Red Star Belgrade always up for any fight that comes their way, they will be in no mood to simply rollover.
Which begs the question as to whether Rangers can gain an advantage this evening and although we do not have the answer to that, we do have a top tip before the first ball is kicked in anger. One that sees bet365 offer 10/11 for both teams to score in Glasgow.