Mission Impossible to Faze Villarreal at Valencia


Valencia v Villarreal – 18th April – 20:00 BST

Villarreal needs a miracle to extend its participation in the UEFA Europa League beyond Thursday’s quarter-final second leg against Valencia so, with the Yellow Submarine facing a big fight to stay in the Spanish Primera Division, one thinks their minds will be elsewhere at the Mestalla.

Two Valencia goals in second-half stoppage time last week transformed the all-Spanish tie in the UEFA Europa League last eight. The 3-1 scoreline was a bit tough on Villarreal but it means the Yellow Submarine must score at least three goals at Valencia to qualify for the UEFA Europa League semi-finals and that is highly unlikely because the Bats have not conceded three or more goals in any match across all competition this season. Villarreal, which will be without four players for certain and has another three listed as doubtful, would be better off focusing on its upcoming Spanish Primera Division home game versus Leganes and paying little more than lip service to its UEFA Europa League mission impossible away to in-form Valencia.

Beaten just once since the last week in January, Valencia has two legitimate routes to next term’s UEFA Champions League – fourth place in the Spanish Primera Division and, of course, glory in the UEFA Europa League final. Valencia is 2-1-0 against Villarreal this season, including a 3-0 Spanish Primera Division home victory when the sides went head to head in January. Undefeated versus Barcelona and Atletico Madrid this season, Valencia is a class above Villarreal and one suspects it will care a lot more Thursday’s match result at -125   with Bet365 than its preoccupied guest.

TOP TIP! – Valencia to beat Villarreal @ -125

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Napoli v Arsenal – 18th April – 20:00 BST

TOP TIP! – Both teams to score in Napoli versus Arsenal @ -164

For one’s other UEFA Europa League bets, one is going to back both teams to score in Thursday’s games between Napoli and Arsenal in Italy at -164   with Bet365 and Frankfurt and Benfica in Germany.

Clean sheets have been rare in Arsenal’s away matches this season. For example, both sides have found the back of the net in 13 of Arsenal’s 16 English Premier League road games and the Gunners have shut out only one home team in that tournament, which was Watford and that had a lot to do with the Hornets playing more than 80 minutes with just 10 men. As well as Arsenal performed in beating Napoli 2-0 in last week’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg, it has shown time and time again it is an inferior commodity away from its own stadium and, consequently, Napoli will fancy its chance of turning around the tie. Napoli will have its backers but the Partenopei have failed their toughest tests in Italian Serie A, collecting zero points from their three matches against Juventus and Internaionale, and Arsenal’s attack has scored in the vast majority of its games.

Benfica's João Félix

Frankfurt v Benfica – 18th April – 20:00 BST

TOP TIP! – Both teams to score in Frankfurt versus Benfica @ -182

Impartial viewers given the choice of watching one UEFA Europa League match on Thursday would probably opt for Frankfurt versus Benfica at -182   with Betway because the last-eight first leg featured six goals, all of which were scored after the visiting Eagles conceded a penalty kick to the hosting Eagles and had a men sent off for his foul. Frankfurt deserves favouritism for its UEFA Europa League home game because it did well to score two away goals last week but its opponent is a Benfica side that has notched four goals in each of its last three matches across all competitions.

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