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Sixteen sides are still standing in the UEFA Europa League and one expects Zenit to make its push towards the last eight by beating Villarreal in Russia on Thursday.
European road trips do not come much tougher than one to Zenit because Lions supporters made visitors to their St Petersburg home ground feel extremely uncomfortable, an animosity that has attracted the frequent attention of domestic and international officials. Zenit had won seven consecutive home matches across all competitions before it lost 1-2 to Rubin Kazan prior to the Russian Premier League stopping for Christmas. Zenit’s first home game this year was its UEFA Europa League last-32 second leg against Fenerbahce and the Lions did not have any trouble turning around the tie, winning 3-1 after losing 0-1 in Turkey.
Zenit leads the Russian Premier League following 18 rounds, the Lions have won each of their six UEFA Europa League home matches this term and they entertain a Villarreal team that has been victorious just four times in this season’s Spanish Primera Division. Villarreal is 18th on the Spanish Primera Division ladder, the Yellow Submarine have not defeated any of the top five sides in Spain’s elite tournament and they have failed to win any of their four games on Russian soil.
Available at close to even money with most bookmakers, Zenit is the best bet on the UEFA Europa League program. Zenit returned to Russian Premier League action last weekend with a 1-0 win at Ural, while Villarreal let down its fans for the umpteenth time in recent months, losing 1-2 at home to Alaves despite Santi Cazorla converting a penalty kick.
TOP TIP! – Zenit to beat Villarreal @ 1/1 2.00 +100 1.00 1.00 -1.00 with Black Type
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TOP TIP! – Chelsea to beat Dynamo Kyiv @ 33/100 1.33 -303 0.33 -3.03 0.33
Chelsea has a clean bill of health for its UEFA Europa League home match versus Dynamo Kyiv on Thursday at 33/100 1.33 -303 0.33 -3.03 0.33 with Betway and the Blues look like the best of the short-priced favourites.
Sixth on the English Premier League ladder, Chelsea has posted divisional home victories over Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal, as well as drawing at Stamford Bridge when Liverpool and Manchester United rocked up. Chelsea’s English Premier League road results have been much less impressive, including losses at Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Wolverhampton, but the Blues have been strong at home and Dynamo Kyiv’s away numbers are not imposing having earned only one Ukrainian Premier League road point from its trips to Shakhtar, Olexandria and Zorya. Benjamin Verbic, who is Dynamo Kyiv’s UEFA Europa League leading scorer with three goals, is suspended for two cautionable offences.
TOP TIP! – Benfica to beat Dinamo Zagreb @ 7/5 2.40 +140 1.40 1.40 -0.71
The most appealing odds-against option on the UEFA Europa League coupon is Benfica to get the better of Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia on Thursday at 7/5 2.40 +140 1.40 1.40 -0.71 with 188Bet. Dinamo Zagreb took advantage of a relatively weak UEFA Europa League group to reach the knockout stage and Viktoria Plzen did not provide the stiffest of tests in the last round. Tackling Benfica represents a step in class for Dinamo Zagreb, which played six UEFA Champions League games before slipping into the UEFA Europa League in which it has turned out eight times.
Benfica is top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga ladder and deservedly so having recorded home and away wins over Porto and a 6-2 home thumping of Sporting. Next up for Benfica in its domestic competition is Belenenses, which should be a routine three points for the Eagles, whereas one could not blame Dinamo Zagreb for having at least one eye on its Croatian 1. HNL clash versus Rijeka that is scheduled for Sunday. Rijeka is Dinamo Zagreb’s biggest Croatian 1. HNL rival and victory in this weekend’s marquee match would pretty much sew up the championship for the frontrunner.
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