Just As Important
After Leicester dropped out of this season’s Europa League, manager Brendan Rodgers said that he did not even know what the Europa Conference League is. Fear not Brendan, this handy guide will be of great use before Thursday.
The Drop Down
As Leicester’s season continues to unravel in front of our very eyes, you could argue that the Europa Conference League has taken on far greater importance and it could well be a win or bust scenario for manager Brendan Rodgers.
Because although the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has plenty of King Power credit in the bank, his account is beginning to deplete at quite a pace and with a return to Europe looking unlikely via the Premier League, Thursday night football must now offer a form of salvation.
Thankfully for the current Leicester manager, his charges are also currently the joint favourites to win the competition at odds of 6/1 with bet365 and if they can get the better of Randers in the knockout phase play-off round, then key names should then win their respective fitness battles thereafter.
Which means the East Midlands outfit will be in a stronger position than they are now and with their plight in the Premier League being one of mid-table malaise, they might be better off putting all their eggs in a continental basket instead.
Which also means if their full focus is going to be on midweek matters only, it may add more credence to backing West Ham to pick up maximum points in the league this coming Sunday and at odds of 29/20 with Betfair for the Hammers to win, it is certainly worth your weekend consideration.
Mourinho The Master
Although Roma did not have it all their own way in the group stage of the Europa Conference League, they did eventually manage to finish at the top of their four-team mini league and in doing so, book safe passage to the Round of 16.
Which means the club from the Italian capital are not in action this coming Thursday night and with additional rest afforded to the Romans, it means that Jose Mourinho can use this midweek action as a watching brief.
Especially as like Leicester, Roma are also priced as 6/1 joint favourites with bet365 to win the competition and with a number of their squad also possessing Premier League experience, they may have what it takes to beat England’s only representative in the competition.
Of course, Roma have shown weakness in this competition already and after being humbled by Bodo/Glimt, some may feel that the Italian’s billing at the top of odds, is one that is on the rather generous side.
Then again, with Jose Mourinho in charge, there is always a chance of success to follow and although football has largely moved on since the peak of his powers, the one-time ‘Special One’ is still capable of casting a coaching spell from time to time.
Big Ange Doing Big Things
After overseeing the 3-0 mauling of Rangers recently, Celtic have moved back to the top of the Scottish Premiership and although the Hoops were given a slight scare away at Aberdeen in midweek, they still managed to leave Pittodrie with maximum points.
While although they are as short as 1/9 with Betfair to get the better of Dundee on Sunday, their focus over the next seven days will be firmly fixed on the visit of Bodo/Glimt just four days later and as Roma well know, the Norwegians are not to be taken lightly.
Not that manager Ange Postecoglou would let that happen, because although his time in the green and white half of Glasgow got off to a slightly shaky start, Celtic have found their groove since winning the League Cup recently.
In fairness to them, they’ve not just found their groove, instead they have been almost perfect within the confines of the Scottish Premiership and with such little margin for error when playing north of the border, perfect is all they can be.
While that perfection will also have to be migrated over to European action and although their Europa League exploits gave them little to write home about before Christmas, 25/1 for Celtic to win the Europa Conference League with bet365 might just be the value bet of the tournament.