We have reached Matchday Four of the Europa League group stage and it could prove a crunch evening for the four British sides looking to stake their claims for a place in the knockout rounds.
All four British teams remain in the hunt to advance, but while West Ham are in a commanding position after winning all three of their matches in Group H, Leicester, Celtic and Rangers still have a lot of work to do.
Moyes to Celebrate Landmark Achievement in Style
West Ham’s trip to Genk is a match that will take on extra significance for Hammers boss David Moyes, as it will be his 1000th as a manager.
The Scot will be keen to celebrate reaching that landmark with a victory at the Luminus Arena and his side will certainly head into the contest with plenty of confidence, as they have won five matches on the spin across all competitions if you take into account their penalty shootout success over Manchester City in the EFL Cup.
That sequence also includes a 3-0 victory for the Hammers in the reverse fixture against Genk last month and given the Londoners are yet to concede a goal in this season’s Europa League, a similar result could be on the cards this midweek.
West Ham are priced at 11/5 to win Thursday’s match to zero, with Genk unlikely to provide too much resistance, as they have only scored once in this season’s Europa League, losing their last two matches in Group H by an aggregate score of 6-0.
Foxes Face Spartak Challenge
Leicester currently sit third in an evenly contested Group C and they can boost their chances of reaching the knockout stages by beating Spartak Moscow at the King Power Stadium.
Brendan Rodgers’ side edged a seven-goal thriller when the two teams met in Russia last month and goals have been a theme in Leicester matches of late, as over 2.5 have been scored in five of their last six games across all competitions.
Spartak also know where the back of the net is, scoring in four of their last five matches away from home, but Rui Vitoria’s side are not great travellers, as emphasised by their recent 7-1 domestic defeat at Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Leicester should certainly expect to win this game, although goals also appear likely, with a Foxes win and both teams to score looking good value at 8/5.
Celtic to Come Unstuck in Budapest
Celtic kept their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Europa League alive thanks to their 2-0 victory over Ferencvaros at Parkhead last time out in Group G.
However, Ange Postecoglou’s side remain very much a work in progress, as evidenced by their goalless draw with Livingston in the Scottish Premiership last weekend.
The Bhoys will now head to Budapest for the reverse clash with Ferencvaros realistically needing a win to keep their hopes of finishing in the top two of the group alive, although they are notoriously poor travellers in Europe, losing three of their four games on the continent to date this season.
Ferencvaros’ own form is patchy. but they are unbeaten in their three games since losing to Celtic in Glasgow, and the double chance of a home win or the draw can be backed at 5/7.
Gers Seeking Danish Delight
Like their Old Firm rivals, Rangers claimed their first win of the Europa League group stage last time out, beating Danish champions Brondby 2-0 at Ibrox, and they will be confident of repeating that trick when the two teams meet in the reverse fixture in Denmark on Thursday.
Steven Gerrard’s side warmed up for the trip to Brondby Stadium with a resounding 6-1 victory at Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership – a result that means they have now won four of their last five away matches across all competitions.
Brondby are yet to win or score a goal in Group A, while they have also struggled domestically, as they currently sixth in the Danish Superliga standings.
This is a match that Rangers will expect to win and they are priced at 5/6 to do exactly that, while the away victory to zero may also represent good value and can be backed at 2/1.
*All odds correct at time of writing.