AC Milan vs F91 Dudelange: AC Milan (-2) – 8/11
An AC Milan home victory against the minnows from Luxembourg should be the biggest formality of Thursday night’s fixtures. Dudelange, to their credit, became the first Luxembourgish side to qualify for the Europa League when they beat Romanian outfit Cluj in a play-off in August, but they have unsurprisingly failed to pick up a point from their first four games.
This tie bears resemblance to an FA Cup clash between a Premier League giant and a non-league side where the latter is happy with a day out in a famous stadium, and their prime objective is to keep the score down. They won’t though.
AC Milan may not be anywhere near the team of the mid 2000s, but they are still a world apart from Dudelange. The Rossoneri can still boast the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Suso in their side, and they should have far too much for the Luxembourgish champions.
Dudelange did make a good fist of it at home to the Italian giants in a 1-0 defeat, but they have conceded eight goals in their two away Europa League games, scoring just one.
AC Milan sit second in Group F, one point behind leaders Real Betis and level on points with third placed Olympiacos. A win is imperative for the Italians and expect them to do so with a few goals to spare.
Real Betis vs Olympiacos: Betis to win – 4/7
Real Betis top Group F on merit and are capable of producing glorious football on their day. Quique Setién has assembled an exciting squad that is capable of mixing it with the best, recently taking the scalp of Barcelona in the Nou Camp.
Betis inflicted Barcelona’s first home league defeat in almost two years that day, but it was the manner in which they did it that caught the eye – scoring four goals in a display that ripped the Catalan giants to shreds. However, inconsistency has cost Betis in the league and they currently sit 14th in La Liga.
The same cannot be said about their European exploits, where they are undefeated after four games. An impressive win in the San Siro has been Betis’ most eye-catching result in the Europa League and a win at home to Olympiacos will ensure their progress to the last 32.
Betis are a threat from all areas and midfielder Giovani Lo Celso, on loan from PSG, has been a revelation, scoring in each of their last three European games.
Olympiacos are no mugs, however, and they drew 0-0 with the Spanish side in Greece on matchday one. However, six of the Greek club’s seven points have come against Dudelange and their position in Group F is slightly misleading. With home advantage, expect Betis to prevail.
Rosenborg vs Celtic: Celtic to win – 1/2
Celtic have recovered after a rocky start to the season and once again top the Scottish Premiership.
They are undefeated in their last six games, winning five and conceding just one goal in the process.
That goal came at home to Red Bull Leipzig in 2-1 win for the Scottish champions that kept their slim hopes of qualifying from Group B alive. A victory away to Group B whipping boys Rosenborg is a must if Celtic are to enter the final matchday with any hopes of qualifying and they should get what they need.
Rosenborg are top of the Norwegian first division and are on course to win the league for a fifth consecutive season, but have so far failed to pick up so much as a point in Europe this year. At home they have leaked goals, conceding eight goals in their two games at home to Red Bull Salzburg and Leipzig.
Celtic beat them in Glasgow thanks to a late winner from Leigh Griffiths, but the Hoops have greatly improved since and should avoid any nervy finishes in Norway on Thursday.
Vorskla Poltava vs Arsenal: Arsenal to win – 4/6
A win for the Gunners in The Ukraine will secure them top spot in Group E. The Ukrainians are competing in the Europa League group stages for just the second time and have failed to pick up a point at home so far.
To be fair to them they are more than a little unfortunate that this is the case as they led Sporting Lisbon after 90 minutes, only for the Portuguese club to channel their inner treble winning Manchester United and score two stoppage time goals to win the game.
They also lost narrowly at home to Kazakh side Qarabag, but Arsenal represent a huge step up in class.
The Gunners are undefeated in all competitions since August, although they have been misfiring somewhat lately. Sunday’s narrow defeat of Bournemouth ended a run of three successive draws.
That being said, they still should have far too much for the Ukrainians who they swatted aside in London.
* All odds correct at time of posting.