One opposed Sevilla in the last batch of UEFA Europa League games but one is backing the Red and Whites in Thursday’s match against Basel at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Basel not to lose was one’s recommended bet in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League last-16 ties and one does not mind admitting that the wager was somewhat fortunate to collect. Basel did not force a single corner kick, it managed just one attempt on target and FCB goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik made three excellent second-half saves to keep the UEFA Europa League final hosts level pegging with the title holders.
One worries for Basel away to Sevilla because, even though FCB are running away with the Swiss Super League yet again, they do not keep many clean sheets in that second-grade tournament – for example, they have shut out only three of their hosts in their 11 divisional road matches and their toughest road assignment resulted in a 3-4 loss at Young Boys. It would be a great story if Basel took part in the UEFA Europa League final on its home pitch but defending its title is Sevilla’s key objective and the competition has a berth in next season’s UEFA Champions League up for grabs.
Sevilla is trading at odds of -227 with Skybet and William Hill to defeat Basel in the UEFA Europa League and register what would be its 17th consecutive home victory – and its 20th win out of its last 21 Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan games – across all competitions. The difference between Sevilla’s results at home and away is incredible and one could argue that the Red and Whites are Europe’s most formidable home performers.
Lazio was the better side in the first UEFA Europa League game between the White and Sky Blues and Sparta Praha last week, rallying from 0-1 down inside 13 minutes to square the match before half time and create the second-half’s clearest chances. Antonio Candreva struck the crossbar midway through the second half as Lazio ended up leading Sparta Praha in all the key statistics apart from the number of goals.
One was reluctant to get involved in the UEFA Europa League first leg between Sparta Praha and Lazio because one was wary of the latter in light of its failings versus Italian Serie A’s top teams – the White and Sky Blues are 2-0-7 against higher ranked sides. But Lazio did enough away to Sparta Praha to suggest that it is superior to the Czech Liga team and the Maroons have performed fairly poorly on the road to their most challenging domestic opponents.
Skybet is offering odds of -137 about Lazio beating Sparta Praha on Thursday and one thinks that the state of the UEFA Europa League tie – the Maroons must score at the Olimpico to have any chance of reaching the last eight – sets up well for the White and Sky Blues. Sparta Praha’s defence is not the most assured at the best of times and one can see it affording plenty of space to Lazio at various stages.
Finally, Tottenham has thrown all its eggs into its English Premier League basket so Dortmund commands interest at odds of +132 with Marathonbet to win at White Hart Lane.
It would be nonsense for Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino to field a full-strength Spurs team for Dortmund’s visit to White Hart Lane after he selected a second-string side at Signal Iduna Park last week. Pochettino has sacrificed the UEFA Europa League to provide Tottenham with its best chance of winning its first English championship since 1961 and one expects him to rotate heavily yet again. Dortmund’s attitude to the UEFA Europa League is the total opposite of that of Tottenham and, generally, BVB find the back of the net.
Sevilla to beat Basel
Thursday 17th March, 20:05 GMT
Lazio to beat Sparta Praha
Thursday 17th March, 18:00 GMT
Borussia Dortmund to beat Tottenham
Thursday 17th March, 20:05 GMT
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