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Ahhh, the Europa League. My favourite (where's the sarcasm emoji?). Arsenal's match v Milan exemplifies the problems. Milan fielded a 'we want out of here sharpish' side against Arsenal so that form is suspect. A night for in-play stats if you do play.

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE

20:05 - RB Leipzig v Marseille - 1.77 RB

  • Are these sides up for the Europa League?
  • RB Leipzig have come from the Champions League and have only played 4 Europa League matches.
  • They beat then lost to Napoli and beat and drew with Zenit to find themselves here. There is very little for me to work with.
  • Both teams have scored in 3/4 Europa matches Leipzig have played.
  • Marseille have been at it since August in the Europa League. A suggestion that they are more committed to 'seeing it through'?
  • In 2018, Marseille have 3 wins in 4 matches scoring 3-3-2 in the wins and scoring and conceding the last 2 wins.
  • Do remember the away goals rule here which will influence tactics.
  • It is too hard to call for me. There is a strong both teams to score bias albeit from 4 matches for RB Leipzig.

20:05 - Arsenal v CSKA Moscow - 1.37 Arsenal

  • Arsene Wenger has gambled with team selection in the Europa League and it has paid off to date.
  • 4 wins and a loss v Ostersunds for Arsenal (having beaten Ostersunds 0-3) sees Arsenal in good nick but the Milan game exemplifies a hole in the form.
  • Milan treated this competition with contempt and fielded a weakened side seeming very content to lose home and away v Arsenal. A first team would have given Arsenal a thorough test.
  • Apart from beating a weakened Milan at home, Arsenal have played Koln (win) and BATE (win with a weak Arsenal side).
  • CSKA Moscow are another casualty of the Champions League and in 2018, 0-0 and 1-0 win v Crvena Zvezda. Against Lyon, CSKA lost 0-1 at home and won 2-3 away - that latter performance impressed me and suggests CSKA are interested in Europa League longevity.
  • Team news important for Arsenal. Peripheral players have tended to play. Arsenal have not beaten any team of great worth so 1.37 does look very short odds indeed.

20:05 - Atletico Madrid v Sporting Lisbon - 1.33 Atl Madrid

  • Atl Madrid were in the Champions League. There has been a tradition of Spanish sides taking the Europa League seriously.
  • It's 4 wins out of 4 for Atl Madrid this 2018 campaign with wins v Copenhagen and Lokomotiv Moscow. Not quite stretching Madrid.
  • Madrid had a run of 15 wins from November 2011 to October 2012. Solid stuff and a sign they tend to go for it when they find themselves demoted from the Champions League.
  • Sporting Lisbon were in the Champions League where they gave a good account of themselves, with a 2-1 loss and 1-1 draw v Juventus catching the eye, and a 0-1 and 2-0 loss v Barcelona. Keeping it tight. The Barcelona goals came 2nd half.
  • Astana and Plzen have been the Europa League opponents so this is a real step up.
  • Atl Madrid domestically have been a trustworthy side insofar as conjuring a goal if 0-0 at halftime. Is that the case tonight? Remember Sporting made Barcelona wait for their goals until the 2nd half.
  • Sporting impressed v Juventus and may be worthier opponents than their dismissive odds suggests.
  • Value seekers? Back 0-0 pre match and cash out as late as you dare? A hope Sporting maintain their discipline until halftime.

20:05 - Lazio v Salzburg - 1.8 Lazio

  • These 2 last met in 2009.
  • Lazio have been invested in the Europa League since September 2017.
  • It is hard to quantify the teams they have beaten on the way to this stage.
  • 2-0, 1-0, 1-1, 5-1, 2-2 in  their home matches sees Lazio unbeaten. Note the 5 and 2 goals scored in their last 2 home matches.
  • Salzburg have also been on the Europa League trail since August 2017and remain unbeaten.
  • Some real eyecatching performances v Marseille, Sociedad and Dortmund but this is where the Europa League can confound the form. Did Marseille, Sociedad and Dortmund play their full-strength first teams? I am not so sure. IF they did, they Salzburg cannot be dismissed today.
  • Win, Draw, Win, Draw, Draw, Win away for Salzburg this campaign sees a 2-2 and 1-2 last 2 matches.
  • There is a slight both teams to score pattern creeping into both teams (Lazio last 3 at home and Salzburg last 2 away). Is this enough to go to war with? If Salzburg's form v Marseille, Sociedad and Dortmund is'true', then the value call here is to lay Lazio if Lazio lead. Odds on shots already, their odds will be short if leading allowing a low liability lay.