The 2nd legs of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 stage will all take place on Thursday as we reach the business end of the competition. We could see half of the remaining eight places taken up by British clubs but there is still plenty of work to do before then.
Arsenal entertain Olympiacos, while Rangers host Slavia Prague at Ibrox. Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are away from home, as United travel to the San Siro to face AC Milan, while Spurs take on Dinamo Zagreb in the Croatian capital. Can all four make it through and where does the value lie in all of the eight games taking place?
Arsenal v Olympiacos
17:55, BT Sport, Emirates Stadium
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal welcome Pedro Martins’ Olympiacos to the Emirates Stadium on Thursday. After an impressive win in Greece last week, the Gunners are the clear favourites to book their spot in the last eight. They will be hugely buoyed by a big north London derby win over Spurs at the weekend and could yet turn this into a season to remember.
In the first leg, late goals from Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny helped Arsenal to a superb 3-1 win at the Karaiskakis Stadium last Thursday. Arteta’s men have been in good form of late, and the London side should see off the Greek outfit in this 2nd leg on home turf. Back Arsenal to win -1 at the solid looking price of 11/10.
Dinamo Zagreb v Tottenham Hotspur
17:55, BT Sport, Stadion Maksimir
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham travel to the Stadion Maksimir this Thursday to face Dinamo Zagreb in the 2nd leg of their Europa League tie. Spurs have a handy lead after a 2-0 home win last Thursday but just as their season seemed to be on the up, they threw away a lead in the north London derby to lose 2-1 to Arsenal on Sunday. They will be desperate to bounce back from that and will welcome this game as a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Tottenham are already well in control after two Harry Kane goals gave them a 2-0 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the 1st leg. Spurs should see the job through in the Croatian capital in midweek. Put some money on Jose’s boys to win at evens.
Molde v Granada
17:55, BT Sport, Puskas Arena
One of the lower key ties of the round sees Molde and Granada clash at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Thursday night. The Spanish side have a firm grip on this tie after a 2-0 home win last week. As you would expect, Diego Martinez’s boys are the overwhelming favourites to go through.
Granada were too strong for the Norwegians at Nuevo Los Carmenes, with Jorge Molina and Roberto Soldado on target in a 2-0 victory. The Spaniards will fancy their chances in Budapest, too. The away victory is available at 5/4 and given how the first game played out, that looks like cracking value.
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma
17:55 BT Sport, NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium
Shakhtar Donetsk and Roma do battle at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on Thursday. The Italian giants already have one foot in the last eight after a comfortable 1st leg victory in Rome and they can afford to sit back here and play on the break.
Paulo Fonseca’s troops were far too strong for the Ukrainian team in the Olimpico last Thursday, with Lorenzo Pellegrini, Stephan El Shaarawy and Gianluca Mancini netting in an easy 3-0 win. They are a class apart and we predict another routine win here so have a punt on Roma to win to nil again at chunky odds of 10/3.
AC Milan v Manchester United
20:00, BT Sport, San Siro
Stefano Pioli’s Milan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United lock horns at the San Siro in the 2nd leg of their Europa League last 16 tie. There was nothing to split these two heavyweights at Old Trafford, and this could be another tight and tense affair.
The Serie A side left it late to snatch a 1-1 draw in Manchester last Thursday and United will be devastated to have given a late goal away. Nevertheless, United are the slight favourites to win in Milan and given their superb away record and Milan’s stuttering form of late we think that is fair. Check out the tempting price of 11/4 for the Red Devils to win by one goal.
Rangers v Slavia Prague
20:00, BT Sport, Ibrox
Rangers entertain Slavia Prague at Ibrox on Thursday. This Round of 16 Europa League tie is in the balance after the pair drew 1-1 at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague last week. Can the Gers book their place in the quarter-finals? They may well have been nursing something of a hangover, certainly metaphorically and quite possibly literally, in the first leg, so will have been pleased to nick a draw.
Steven Gerrard’s men have had a remarkable season up until now, and the new Scottish champions look a good bet to reach the last eight of the Europa League. They should be sharper and more focussed here and on home soil we fancy them to get the job done. Any kind of victory will do for Rangers, and there is good value in the home win and both teams to score at the really tempting price of 15/4.
Villarreal v Dynamo Kiev
20:00, BT Sport, Estadio de la Ceramica
Villarreal and Dynamo Kiev meet at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Thursday. Unai Emery’s troops are the clear favourites to go through. This should be a fairly straightforward evening for the Spanish outfit despite their current form being a little hit and miss.
The Yellow Submarine put on a solid performance in Kiev last week to secure a 2-0 1st leg win. The Spanish side should claim another comfortable victory over the Ukrainian club. Take a punt on Emery’s boys to be winning at half time and full time at 13/10.
Young Boys v Ajax
20:00, BT Sport, Stadion Wankdorf
Young Boys and Ajax meet at the Stadion Wankdorf in Bern on Thursday. The Swiss side have a mountain to climb after a heavy defeat in Amsterdam and we have to feel they will again come up short.
Erik ten Hag’s Ajax were excellent in the 1st leg, as goals from former Everton man Davy Klaassen, ex-Southampton player Dusan Tadic, and Brian Brobbey were enough for a routine 3-0 home victory. Take a punt on the Dutch side to win without conceding again at 7/2.