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Europa League predictions, betting tips & match previews: Best bets for Thursday’s Europa League group games

Leigh Copson 5 Dec 2017
AC Milan (credit: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

Europa League predictions for Thursday night. Can AC Milan bounce back from an embarrassing result this past weekend, and will the likes of Athletic Bilbao and Marseille book their place in the last-32 of this competition? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Atalanta v Lyon (18:00 GMT)

Top spot in Group E is up for grabs when Atalanta host Lyon on Thursday evening – but who will take it? Atalanta are sitting top of the tree heading into Matchday Six following that 5-1 demolition of Everton at Goodison Park a fortnight ago, and they now boast an unbeaten record in the group stage that has seen them win three and draw two. Both of their home games have resulted in convincing wins, but Lyon will undoubtedly present their toughest so far. The French side have won three straight games in this competition, out-scoring the opposition 9-1, and they have been strong on their travels this season with just one defeat coming in 10 competitive fixtures, and that was against Paris St Germain. Lyon should avoid defeat here, but I do not see Atalanta losing at home so a second draw between these two clubs looks likely here.

Rijeka v AC Milan (18:00 GMT)

AC Milan suffered major embarrassment at the weekend as they failed to beat Serie A whipping boys Benevento, conceding a last-gasp goal that was scored by the minnows’ goalkeeper. As a result Milan have now won only three of their last 13 competitive fixtures, so while this is a dead rubber for them manager Gennaro Gattuso will be demanding an immediate response. The did beat Rijeka when these two teams met in September and they are unbeaten through five group games, winning three of them, so I am going to back Milan to bounce back in a match that sees both teams score. The Italian giants have not managed a clean sheet in any of their European wins this season and the visitors have scored in all five of their outings so far.

Marseille v Red Bull Salzburg (20:05 GMT)

The 1-1 draw at Konyaspor was not a fantastic result for Marseille, but it has put their Europa League fate in their own hands going into Matchday Six. Despite winning only one of their last four games in this competition, the Stade Velodrome outfit go into their last match knowing that a win will see them into the last-32, while a draw would be enough if the result of the other Group I game went their way. I do not expect them to need a favour though. This is a meaningless game for a Red Bull Salzburg side that have already wrapped up top spot so Marseille’s need for points will give them a big edge here. It will not be a high-scoring game though – eight of L’OM’s nine matches in this competition so far have seen less than four goals.

Zorya v Athletic Bilbao (20:05 GMT)

Whoever wins this match will advance to the last-32 of the Europa League, while a draw for visitors Athletic Bilbao would be enough to see them through too. That means the Spanish side do not have to go all out here – in fact they could attempt to park the bus and grind out a result. Zorya, on the other hand, will be looking to do what they did in the first meeting – keep things tight at the back and snatch a winner. The slightest mistake from either team could be costly here, so I fully expect this to be a tense and low-scoring affair, with Under 2.5 Total Goals looking like a very solid option for this Group J showdown.

Zulte Waregem v Lazio (20:05 GMT)

There is very little to play for here. Lazio already know they are advancing to the next round while Zulte Waregem already know that this will be their final outing in the Europa League this season. The Belgian side would love nothing more than bow out on a high by springing an upset, but Lazio have been very strong in this group with four wins and a draw clinching top spot in Group K, and they have been racking up wins on their travels since the start of the season. Therefore I am backing the Italian side to add another away win to their collection on Thursday night.

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Europa League predictions, betting tips & match previews: Best bets for Thursday’s Europa League group games

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