This is the beginning of the Group Stage in a competition I wish I could live chat this evening. But the time difference means I would have to be up at 3am local time on the day of the wedding of my sister. I would take cues from the market today. Remember there are no 2 legged matches now. No away goal rule. Straight wins are what is required. The research is limited. I have researched as many matches as I can and left alone those I cannot get an angle into.
18:00 - Apollon Limassol v Lyon - 1.51 Lyon
- Group E sees Atalanta and Everton.
- Apollon really should be the whipping boys in this group And Lyon et al have to get results via Apollon.
- Good home form for Apollon3-3-2-3 hoals scored in recent home matches, albeit via teams you feel are not as accomplished as Lyon.
- Lyon tend to score in away legs in the Europa League. Their losses were v Roma and Ajax recently.
- I will enter this match expecting Lyon not to lose and will react by laying Apollon should Apollon score first.
- The Champions League markets this week tended to under estimate teams. Man City was the same price as Lyon were today and they won 0-4. So food for thought.
18:00 - Atalanta v Everton - 2.6 Atalanta
- These are the other 2 sides in Group E and the market simply cannot split the pair.
- Everton have conceded 1 goal only in 4 Europa League matches.
- Atalanta are new to the Europa League. A no-play for me.
18:00 - Austria Vienna v AC Milan - 1.49 AC Milan
- Group D sees Milan, Athens, Austria Vienna and Rijeka.
- Milan are yet to concede in 4 Europa League matches, winning them all. 2 0-1 wins away may have been part of a 2-legged tactic. These are group stages now.
- Austria Vienna lost 0-1 to Osijek despite dominating in their last match.
- I would not be surprised if this was a Milan away win. It might be 0-0 at halftime. I would expect a Milan breakthrough 2nd half if 0-0 at halftime.
- Other than that, this looks another match in which Milan should dominate. They worryingly lost 4-1 to Lazio at the weekend though.
18:00 - Basaksehir v Ludogorets - 1.66 Basak
- This is a tough Group C for Basaksehir with Braga and Hoffenheim the other 2 sides in the group.
- I do expect a positive result for the Turks but Ludogorets are something of an unknown.
- in 2016 Basaksehir did not win a Europa League match v Shakhtar and Rijeka so maybe they need a bit of bedding into this competition.
- Ludogorests away 0-0s came in 2 legged matches.
- Basaksehir are the new team in Turkey, breaking the Galatasary and Fenerbahce stranglehold.
- There is an element of the unknown here with Ludogrets. I would still lay Ludo if they scored first today.
18:00 - Dynamo Kiev v Skenderbeu - 1.14 Dynamo
- 1.14 odds should relay a goal at least before halftime (lay the 0-0 in the halftime score market if 0-0 after 20 minutes) and 3/4 goals at least from Kiev.
- With the latter, I tend to back over 3.5 goals for the 2nd half if 0-0 at halftime.
- This is a muddling Group B with Young Boys and Partizan.
- Skenderbeu are an Albanian side.
18:00 - FC Copenhagen - Lokomotiv - 2.52 FC
- Group F sees Sheriff and Zlin.
- The market cannot split these 2 and I cannot either given lokomotiv have not had much recent Europa League form.
18:00 - Hoffenheim v Braga - 1.47 Hoff
- 2 teams who have caught the eye this season. Hoffenheims recent beating of Bayern Munich was impressive, but Braga fell flat at the weekend, maybe because this was a distraction for them.
- Hoff are new to the competition but on their seasons performance and with the new injection of money into the club, I am sure that they will take this competition seriously.
- 2 and 3 goals scored by Braga v FH but this should be a step up. The Hoff find themselves here after failing to get past Liverpool in the Champions League.
- Expect the Hoff not to lose this evening. They do tend to score and concede so lay Braga if Braga scores first.
18:00 - Rijeka v AEK Athens - 2.34 Rijeka
- Rijeka did not last long in the Europa League last year, with 3 score draws. They are yet to win in 5 Europa League matches.
- AEK Athens are a typically Greek side, 0-1-0-0- conceded in 4 Europa League matches last year.
- 2 teams who will not be going far in this match and a match which typifies the difficulties of the Europa League. How do we evaluate a Croatian and Greek side against each other?
18:00 - Villarreal v FC Astana - 1.2 Villareal
- Astana, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Villareal and Slavia Prague make up Group A.
- A Kazak side really should not land a blow v Spanish Primera side Villareal.
- A mixed bag for Villareal last year in the Europa League, highlights included a 0-1 win v Roma, albeit that was after Roma beat them 0-4 away.
- 4 defeats and a draw away for Astana in the Europa League suggests struggles today.
- I am not sure Villareal prioritise this competition. That is a niggle. The market though expects dominance and a home win.
18:00 - Young Boys v Partizan Belgrade - 1.94 Young Boys
- Group B sees these 2 with Dynamo Kiev and Skenderbeu.
- After failing to score in 4 Europa League matches, Partizan scored 4 v Videoton last match.
- Patrizan historically have scored away in the Europa League v the likes of AZ, Augsburg and Videoton. Young Boys from Switzerland I would suggest are on a similar level.
- Young Boys scored 3 at home v Astana but have not been as prolific generally in this competition.
- I would actually think Partizan could be more competitive than their odds. I would lay Young Boys if Young Boys scored first. That to me would be value.
20:05 - Arsenal v FC Koln - 1.35 Arsenal
- No Champions League for Arsenal this season is a disaster. Will they compensate by looking for a Europa League win?
- They are far superior generally to teams taking part in this competition.
- Both sides join BATE and Red Star Belgrade in Group H.
- Both sides are new to the Europa League. We must assume that Arsenal will take this seriously and field a full first team. If so FC Koln should be within their compass.
- With 3 consecutive defeats in the Bundesliga for Koln, how is a good time for Arsenal to get that win.
20:05 - Hertha Berlin v Athletic Bilbao - 2.7 Hertha
- 2 teams likely to go deep into the Europa League. They play Ostersunds and Zorya in Group J.
- 3 consecutive wins for Bilbao v Dinamo Bucharest and Panathanaikos this year in the Europa League.
- This is Herthas first match. I think they are casualties of the Champions League.
- Too tough to call.
20:05 - Marseille v Konyaspor - 1.33 Marseille
- GROUP I seems Salzburg and Vitoria join these 2.
- Marseille have just conceded 9 goals in 2 domestic league matches. Is this a cause for alarm in this Europa League match?
- How do OOstende and Domzale weigh up for Marseille v todays opponents?
- Last year Konyaspor failed to win a Europa League match. That is expected to continue tonight. Konyaspor are a Turkish side.
20:05 - Sociedad v Rosenborg - 1.34 Sociedad
- Group L featuring the 2 sides below. Rosenborg I have reported in the past have a woeful record in the Europa League but that did not stop them beating Ajax home and away. They should be tested more by Sociedad from Spanish primera Liga. Sociedad were last in the Europa League in 2014.
- Rosenborg are expected to be a weak link and struggle as they ordinarily do in this competition. Will Rosenborg betray the odds as they did against Ajax? A top 10 Spanish Primera Liga side at home really should be too good. Do prepare for potential Rosenborg goal and lay them if they score.
20:05 - Vardar Skopje v Zenit St Petersburg - 1.45 Zenit
- Vardar were last in the Europa League in 2007. Vardar are a Macedonian side.
- They beat Fenerbahce home and away but Zenit should be a step up.
- Zenit have had 2 1-0 losses in the Europa League, albeit as part of a 2 legged strategy where they obviously were successful.
- 2 consecutive 0-0s for Zenit domestically. Look for a 0-0 sequence to end tonight if 0-0 late on.
- If Zenit are taking this competition seriously they should be beating a Macedonian side.
- This is Group L with Real Sociedad and Rosenborg.
20:05 - Vitesse v Lazio - 2.12 Lazio
20:05 - Zorya v Ostersunds FK - 1.65 Zorya
20:05 - Zulte-Waregem v Nice - 2.38 Nice