Europa League: Leicester to Edge Past Legia

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There are four teams from the UK in Europa League action on Thursday, with Leicester's clash against Legia Warsaw arguably the highlight.

Leicester will look to have too much for Legia

The penultimate round of fixtures in this season’s Europa League group stage will be contested this midweek, with Leicester City, West Ham United, Rangers and Celtic all in action.

Leicester will head into their Group C clash with Legia Warsaw on Thursday still very much in the hunt to advance through to the knockout stages despite a disappointing run of form.

The Foxes have failed to win any of their last five matches across all competitions – unless you count their penalty shootout success over Brighton in the League Cup.

Expect Excitement at the KP

Conceding goals has been a particular issue for Brendan Rodgers’ side, as they have only kept one clean sheet across their last 17 matches, a sequence that includes all five of their fixtures in the Europa League.

The good news for Leicester is opponents Legia are in even worse form, losing four matches on the spin and conceding at least two goals in all those defeats.

Legia did win the reverse meeting between these two sides in Warsaw, but home advantage should see Leicester over the line on Thursday, while given the defensive struggles off both teams, goals could also be on the agenda and over 3.5 in the match can be backed at 5/4.

Happy Hammers to Win in Vienna

West Ham have taken 10 points from their opening four matches in this season’s Europa League and a victory at Rapid Vienna on Thursday would guarantee top spot in Group H for David Moyes’ side.

The Hammers saw their recent seven-match unbeaten run, which included successes over Manchester City and Liverpool, ended at Wolves last weekend, but they should have too much for a Rapid side they comfortably beat 2-0 at the London Stadium on Matchday Two.

Rapid are bottom of the group after losing three of their opening four matches, while they are also well off the pace domestically, sitting a full 20 points behind leaders Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga standings.

West Ham are priced at 10/17 to leave Vienna with all three points, but given they have failed to record a shut out in any of their last four matches, backing an away win and both teams to score at 9/5 could represent better value.

Cagey Start to Van Bronckhorst Era

Rangers will begin life under new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst when they play host to Sparta Prague on Thursday, with both sides locked together on four points and seemingly battling it out to finish second in Group A behind runaway leaders Lyon.

The Gers will come into the match on the back of losing to Hibernian in the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup on Sunday, while they are also still getting to grips with life after Steven Gerrard.

Goals have also been hard to come by for Rangers in Europe this season, as they have netted just three times in their four group matches to date, including drawing a blank when they lost 1-0 to Sparta in Prague back in September.

Sparta will also head into the contest on the back of a defeat, while they have failed to score in their last two away fixtures, which means we have all the ingredients for a cagey affair at Ibrox, with under 1.5 goals in the match perhaps providing good value at 49/20.

Tough Night Expected for Celtic

There is no doubt Celtic are improving under Ange Postecoglou, with the Bhoys currently on a nine-match unbeaten run, eight of which have ended in victory, while they booked their place in the final of the Scottish League Cup at the weekend.

Back-to-back victories over Ferencvaros has also propelled Celtic back into the qualification picture in Europa League Group G, although their credentials will be severely tested when they visit group leaders Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday.

Leverkusen claimed a comprehensive 4-0 victory when the two sides met at Parkhead in September. Although their form has dipped since, while Celtic’s has improved, it is difficult to see beyond another victory for Gerardo Seoane’s side at the BayArena.

The German outfit have conceded just twice in this season’s Europa League and they can be backed at 29/20 to win to zero against Celtic.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A fountain of knowledge on football, Tom offers a particular in-depth expertise in EFL and European leagues.

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