It’s been ‘goals galore’ in the Champions League this week and it’s a trend that could continue in Thursday’s Europa League. The English sides in the competition – Everton and Arsenal – both face difficult games as they look to navigate their way through the group stages.
The Toffees are in the worse position of the two, currently bottom of group E after a 3-0 defeat at Atalanta and a 2-2 home draw with Apollon. Thursday’s match sees them up against last season’s semi-finalists, Lyon, and it should be an electric atmosphere at Goodison as Ronald Koeman’s side go in search of a much-needed three points.
Arsenal are top of group H after a 4-2 win away at BATE and a 3-1 home victory over FC Koln. The Gunners face a tough away game at Red Star Belgrade on Thursday night and a host of first-team players haven’t travelled as Arsene Wenger juggles his squad ahead of the weekend’s Premier League games.
In other matches, Mario Balotelli’s Nice welcome Lazio in group K, with the two level-pegging with six points each so far. All three matches look ripe for goals, and we’re backing both teams to get on the scoresheet in each.
Everton v Lyon
Odds of -189 with Bet365 about both teams finding the net at Goodison are worth taking in a game that should live up to its billing.
The Toffees are playing catch up in group E, but results so far still leave them with a good chance of qualifying. Every game in the group so far has been a draw apart from Everton’s defeat in Italy at the hands of Atalanta. That rival is top of the section with four points, Lyon and Apollon have two points each from two draws, and Everton are last with a single point from their 2-2 home draw with the Cypriot side.
It’s been quite a poor patch for Koeman’s side and they needed a last-minute Rooney penalty to save a draw at Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday. However, they’ve scored in 8 of the last 10 matches in front of their own fans, and games under the lights always produce a big atmosphere at Goodison.
Lyon also rarely fail to score, but defensively leave plenty to be desired – evidenced by two 3-3 draws in Ligue 1 in the last few games. They beat Monaco 3-2 in the French top flight over the weekend, and are more than capable of contributing to what should be an excellent match on Thursday night.
Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal
We’re also recommending both teams to score at -143 with Bet365 in group H when Arsenal travel to their closest rivals in the section.
Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) are second in the group after drawing 1-1 with BATE on this ground and beating FC Koln 1-0 away from home. Arsenal have a perfect record so far of two wins and six points, but this is arguably their toughest test in the Europa League to date.
Red Star have won 12 and draw 2 of the last 14 home games, and will be no pushovers in front of their partisan crowd. They’ve scored in all but one of those games, and it’s hard to see a shaky Gunners defence keeping them out for 90 minutes.
Arsenal’s defeat at Watford on the weekend brought to an end a run of six wins in seven games, but as Arsenal have shown on numerous occasions in Europe, they are devastating on the break. It would be a surprise to see them return to London without at least finding the net once.
Nice v Lazio
Finally, another game destined for goals is the match in France between Nice and Lazio. BTTS is priced at -167 with 888Sport.
Neither Nice nor Lazio have taken any chances in the Europa League and they head group K with six points apiece. They have both beaten Vitesse and Zulta Waragem and look destined to book the top two places and qualify for the knockout stages.
Lazio arrive in much the better form – the Italian side are fourth in Serie A and are on a run of four straight wins, including a 2-1 victory away at Juventus on the weekend. Nice, by contrast, are 14th in Ligue 1 and have lost the last two matches to Marseille and Montpellier.
The French side have scored in 8 of their last 10 home matches, despite only winning four of them. Lazio, on the other hand, have won every away game they’ve played this season but have only kept one clean sheet in those six victorious road games. With their standing in the group the pressure is off on Thursday night, and both teams can go looking for a win in the knowledge that defeat will not harm their qualification prospects too seriously.
Everton v Lyon – Both teams to score
Thursday 19th October, 20:05 GMT
Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal – Both teams to score
Thursday 19th October, 18:00 GMT
Nice v Lazio – Both teams to score
Thursday 19th October, 18:00 GMT