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Euro Giants Lock Horns in Europa League

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Fixtures don’t come much bigger in world football than Barcelona v Manchester United, even if it is in Europe’s second tier competition.

Barcelona limped out of the Champions League, their only wins in Group G coming against Viktoria Plzen, as Bayern Munich and Inter Milan finished above them, and a place in the Europa League beckoned for the second successive season.

As for Man Utd, they were denied top spot in Europa League Group E by one-goal when Real Sociedad finished above them. Their reward, an extra round to navigate and unenviable match-up with the five-time Champions of Europe.

Barca come in to the game in good form, winning each of their last eight matches and currently enjoying an 11-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga. While United have been transformed under Erik ten Hag and are just five points off the top of the table.

It should make for an intriguing 180 minutes between the two giants. The bookies make Barcelona favourites to qualify at 8/13 with United looking a bit of value at 6/5.

Tonight however, the Red Devils will be desperate to keep themselves in the hunt and are even money not to lose. To do so they’ll probably need to breach a defence that’s lost just seven goals in 21 La Liga matches this season – just one of those at home. The Barca back-line did however concede 12 in six Champions League games, failing to keep a single clean sheet.

That strong home defence coupled with this being the first leg points towards a tight affair. No first half goal pays 9/4 but a market that’s been good to us is ‘no goal before’. Tonight the line is set at 27:00 at 5/6 and that has a chance.

Ajax v Union Berlin should be a fascinating tie. The Germans are having a brilliant season in the Bundesliga where they’re second in the table, just a point behind Bayern.

Going to Amsterdam is always a difficult assignment and tonight should be no different. But the Amsterdammers conceded 16 goals in their Champions League group, however, Union only scored a measly four as they finished second in their Europa League group. But recently their games have been good for BTTS and Over 2.5 Goals backers. Five of the six games this year have landed both markets.

Over 2.5 Goals looks attractive at 1/1 with SBK.

Midtjylland are struggling in the Danish top flight and find themselves in the wrong half of the table following just five wins in 17 Superliga fixtures and look likley to struggle against Portuguese side Sporting who dropped out of the Champions League.

Amazingly, all four teams in Midtjylland’s Europa League group finished on eight points and it was the Danes who finished second with a +4 goal difference. But they failed to win any of their matches on the road. Another defeat looks on the cards tonight.

Bodo/Glimt have been hugely impressive the last few seasons but relinquished their Norwegian title to Molde before the end of 2022. Their new season has yet to start but that didn’t pose a problem last season when they knocked out AZ Alkmaar at this stage of the competition, before eventually going out to Roma in the quarter-finals.

They host Lech Poznan in the Acrtic Circle tonight. The Poles are 10 points adrift at the top of Ekstraklasa. A 3-0 win over an already-qualified Villarreal side on matchday 6 secured second place in their group and tonight’s knock-out tie.

Glimt has been the graveyard of better European sides than Lech Poznan and despite the obvious concerns of being a bit rusty, Kjetil Knutsen’s side will have been preparing for this match for a while.

Super Singles

  • Barca v Man Utd – No Goal before 27:00 Bet365
  • Ajax v Union Berlin – Over 2.5 goals 1/1 Bet365
  • Sporting & Bodo/Glimt Double 133/100 Bet365

Upcoming Match Previews & Tips

Golf Tips

There’s a whopping $20M prize pot to be won at the Genesis Invitational in California this week and of course The Caddy makes his argument for three players who could scoop the top spot there as well as providing his fancies for the Thailand Classic which include a Scotsman who could be due a win.

Racing Tips

It was another winning day at the office for Cairnzy who’s 10/1 tip landed the spoils on Wednesday. He’s back with his best for Thursday.

As always, let us know your best betting tips and predictions for today in the comments section below and good luck with all your bets!

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