Get your Europa League Kicks from Corners Again

Ajax hold a 4-1 first leg lead against Lyon.

Ajax hold a 4-1 first leg lead against Lyon.

Thursday’s second leg of the UEFA Europa League tie between Lyon and Ajax has the potential to be every bit as action packed as last week’s first one and, yet again, one is drawn to betting on an exotic market pertaining to corner kicks.

It took just 46 minutes for Lyon to go over four and a half corner kicks in the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg and, with the French Ligue 1 team needing to go for broke from the opening whistle against a youthful Ajax side that is capable of stretching the game on the break, one’s top pick for the second leg is over 10 and a half corners.

Lyon’s French Ligue 1 games are averaging more corner kicks than those featuring any other team – 11.3 with the next highest being 11.1 for Monaco’s matches. Trailing Ajax 1-4, Lyon has no alternative but to throw the kitchen sink at its UEFA Europa League opponent and, because the Kids have an away goal in the bank, they can afford to concede a goal without it being curtains. The Dutch Eredivisie is not as competitive as French Ligue 1 so one is not concerned that Ajax’s 33 divisional games have had a mean of 9.9 corner kicks. One is much more interested in the following couple of facts: Ajax has averaged 7.2 corner kicks of its own in its 33 Dutch Eredivisie matches and its 13 UEFA Europa League games have had a mean of 11.2 total corners. Over 10.5 corners is an option that is available at odds of -125  with Bet365.

With regards to the raw result of the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg in France, one can appreciate why bookmakers are quoting Lyon at odds on to beat Ajax. Lyon has scored 13 goals in winning its three UEFA Europa League home matches versus AZ, Roma and Besiktas, while Ajax has not won any of its last five UEFA Europa League away games. Anyone who watched Ajax’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final tie against Schalke will attest to the Sons of Gods being a very different proposition on the road than inside their Amsterdam Arena. One thinks that Lyon will defeat Ajax this week but the Kids are too short given the fitness worries surrounding their star striker, Alexandre Lacazette, on whom they are going to gamble even though he is not 100 per cent.

Celta has lost each of its Spanish Primera Division away matches versus the competition’s top eight teams so, even though Manchester United will not be at full strength on Thursday, one is in the camp of the Red Devils. But one would rather bet on under two and a half goals than back Manchester United to win a UEFA Europa League game from which it only needs a draw to qualify for the final.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho does more homework than most coaches and he will have noted that Celta has scored in more of its Spanish Primera Division matches at the league’s leading sides than those in front of its own supporters against the same teams. One thinks that the Special One will instruct his Manchester United players not to overcommit in attack even if, as time wears on, Celta gets more and more adventurous in search of a goal.

Six of Manchester United’s seven UEFA Europa League games in the knockout stage have gone under two and a half goals and one is attracted by Marathonbet‘s odds of +102  about that line not being exceeded in Thursday’s match.

Tips Summary

Lyon v Ajax – Over 10.5 corners
Thursday 11th May, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  -125

Manchester United v Celta Vigo – Under 2.5 goals
Thursday 11th May, 20:05 GMT
Odds:  +102