Avoiding the English teams can be worth your while
With the quarter final lineups to be completed on Thursday
With England looking likely to lose two of it’s three representatives in the lighter version of the Champions League, expect to hear grunts of ”it’s not a real trophy” around the offices on Friday morning. The prize is worth it if anyone can wrestle it away from Sevilla, an upgrade to next season’s Champions League awaiting the winner. With only one of the ties decided (Sorry Spurs) we’ve peeked around the rest to find a 23/1 home comforts accumulator.
Bayer 04 vs Villarreal (0-2 agg)
Bayer’s backs are very much against the wall this week, after an uncharacteristically flat performance in Spain left them a mountain to climb. Well, maybe a small mountain, not as big as Villa’s but not as small as Leicester’s. They’ve been good at home, winning nearly half their matches including Sunday against Hamburg. It’s mainly down to the pairing of Stefan Kießling and Javier Hernandez, the best big man little main combo since Rickie Lambert and Danny Ings…
Villarreal filled the gap of ‘that Spanish team that always does well but is still miles away from the top three’ well this season but their away from has been patchy, winning just four from 14. Cedric Bakambu was given too much space in the first leg, don’t expect him to repeat his brace. I can see Villarreal qualifying, but for WDW betting go for Leverkusen to win at
Valencia vs Athletic Bilbao (0-1 agg)
This one is hard to split for both me and our traders, who have Valencia at , with Bilbao at . The game last week was a very very tight affair, with the shocking pitch eventually helping the home side to a 1-0 victory. Valencia haven’t beaten Bilbao since October of 2012, a run which has seen them lose the last three meetings. When Gary Neville welcomed Bilbao to the Mestalla in February, he was beaten 3-0. If the gap from the first leg was any wider, I’d be going with Bilbao, but I can see Valencia scoring early on and getting the win in better conditions at
Sporting Braga vs Fenerbache (0-1 agg)
Braga are the Portuguese version of Villarreal. 11 points clear of their nearest Europa League chasing challengers, but the same number of points off the top three. They haven’t been scoring a lot, but will need to do so against Fenerbache, having fallen to a late 1-0 loss in Turkey. That was to be expected (Fenerbache were 11 unbeaten at home) but Braga will take comfort in the fact that the Turkish league leaders only have a two-point cushion – and travel to Galatasaray on Sunday. Braga have only been beaten once at home all year, by Benfica, and dismantled Porto the last time they played on home soil. I don’t want to call who’ll qualify, but back Braga to win the game at.
Lazio vs Sparta Prague (1-1 agg)
Sparta have won their last six league games, but have yet to win in 11 games in Italy. Both sides are unbeaten in the competition this year, but having let Lazio grab a crucial away goal in Prague last Thursday, Sparta know they have to score. That’s a lot easier said than done in the Stadio Olimpico this year. Lazio have only conceded 15 goals in their 15 home games, losing just twice since the 14th of December in the league. They’ve got the advantage, expect them to stamp their authority and qualify for the quarters once again at odds of
Sevilla vs Basel (0-0 agg)
As mentioned earlier, Sevilla are the kings of this competition, winning the last two. They managed to shut out Basel in Switzerland with just 10 men. In fact, had it not been for Basel keeper Tomas Vaclik, Sevilla would be home and hosed in the quarter finals. Their odds are very short to win this game, which usually raises an alarm about a potential acca-buster (not to worry, Paddy keeps you safe if so – see below). Gameiro, Llorente and Banega should have too much quality at home. They should keep a clean sheet, and they rarely draw a blank when in front of their own fans. Sevilla win at
Once again we have the safety cushion of Paddy Power’s Accumulator Insurance. That’s money back as a free bet if one of our five legs lets us down. A lot like Christian Benteke or a spare tyre, we’re hoping we won’t need it, but it’s nice to know that it’s there. Not that we can change it obviously, we have the very delicate hands of any man who spends their days sat in an office looking for hilarious GIFs of animals falling over to use on Twitter. You’re welcome