Purples to Close in on Europa League Knockout Stage

Fiorentina beat Qarabag 5-1 in their last Europa League outing.

Liberec has accrued one point from its first two UEFA Europa League Group J games and now it has to host the section’s strongest side, Fiorentina, in a big match on Thursday.

Not even scoring in the opening minute of each of its UEFA Europa League Group J games has enabled Liberec to post a victory. Liberec led Qarabag 1-0 and 2-1 in Azerbaijan but had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Two weeks later, Liberec lost 1-2 at home to PAOK. Liberec won four UEFA Europa League matches in a row to qualify for the group stage but the Blues-Whites have struggled in the round-robin phase and, also, the Czech Liga. Liberec is 14th on the Czech Liga ladder having earned nine points from its nine games.

Fiorentina is not exactly flying in Italian Serie A but the Purples would be unbeaten if it was not for their 1-2 losses in Turin to Juventus and Torino. In UEFA Europa League Group J, Fiorentina has drawn 0-0 at PAOK and won 5-1 at home to Qarabag. According to one’s UEFA Europa League collateral form analysis, Fiorentina is two goals better than Liberec taking into account that the Blue-Whites are the home team.

William Hill is offering the attractive odds of -110  about Fiorentina beating Liberec and taking a huge step towards the UEFA Europa League knockout stage. Liberec has kept just two clean sheets in its last seven competitive matches and, up in class, one does not fancy its chance of avoiding defeat versus a Fiorentina side that is a class above.

Celta copped a 0-5 Spanish Primera Division flogging at Villarreal on Sunday but one is willing to support the Sky Blues at +115  with William Hill in their UEFA Europa League Group G home game against an Ajax team that is bidding for its 10th straight victory.

One’s selection of Celta, which had won four matches in a row before Villarreal’s Yellow Submarine sunk it, is based on the Sky Blues having more depth of their good form than Ajax. For example, a 4-3 Spanish Primera Division home triumph over Barcelona is worth considerably more than Ajax’s nine consecutive wins. And remember that Ajax’s UEFA Champions League campaign ended with a 1-4 loss at Rostov.

In UEFA Europa League Group G, Celta has drawn 1-1 at Standard Liege and won 2-0 at home to Panathinaikos, while Ajax has won 2-1 at Panathinaikos and won 1-0 at home to Standard Liege. There is nothing to choose between Celta and Ajax based on one’s UEFA Europa League collateral form analysis but it is worth noting that Panathinaikos ended with nine players when it faced the Dutch Eredivisie side. Also, Ajax has lost each of its five games in Spain by margins of at least two goals. That statistic supports one’s opinion that the Dutch Eredivisie is a weak tournament.

Finally, Hapoel Beer-Sheva gets one’s vote at odds of +125  with Marathonbet to get the better of Sparta Praha in their UEFA Europa League Group K match. Hapoel Beer-Sheva can count itself a bit unlucky not to have six UEFA Europa League Group G points because following on from its 2-0 success at Internazionale it had the better of its 0-0 home draw against Southampton. Sparta Praha has three UEFA Europa League Group G points as a result of edging Internazionale 3-1 at home two weeks after losing 0-3 at Southampton.

Hapoel Beer-Sheva is 6-1-0 at home in its Israeli Ligat Ha’al, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games, including not conceding a goal in each of its last four matches in front of its own supporters. Sparta Praha is 3-4-2 on its travels this season, firing four blanks.

Tips Summary

Fiorentina to beat Liberec
Thursday 20th October, 18:00 GMT
Odds:  -110

Celta Vigo to beat Ajax
Thursday 20th October, 18:00 GMT
Odds:  +115

Hapoel Beer-Sheva to beat Sparta Praha
Thursday 20th October, 18:00 GMT
Odds:  +125

Celta Vigo
Europa League
Hapoel Beer Sheva

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