The biggest European club competition is back after a 3-week hiatus, as the UEFA Europa League and its 64 teams gear up for the Matchweek 3. As one of the most competitive European club competitions, UEFA Europa League is highly unpredictable and offers plenty of great soccer entertainment.
Matchweek 3 should offer more of the same, a great way to spend a Thursday, watching games at home. I have selected 3 games, which should provide great entertainment and plenty of betting action. If you would like to know more about each of the matchups, key storylines, and some betting advice, read on!
Sporting vs Arsenal
Thursday, October 25th 18:55 CET
Sporting will host the English giants Arsenal in this intriguing UEFA Europa League Matchweek 3 matchup. Sporting will have their hands full, trying to stop Arsenal who has been in terrific form recently.
Sporting has been in mixed form in the Portuguese Primera where they are currently in the 5th place with 13 points from their opening 7 matches. They have been far more successful in the UEFA Europa League where they have a perfect record of 2 wins in 2 opening matches against Qarabag and Vorskla.
Arsenal is on a fantastic run of 10 straight wins in all competitions. After opening their season in the English Premier League with 2 straight defeats, they have won 7 straight since and are currently in the 4th place in the English Premier League. They have been perfect in the UEFA Europa League with 2 wins from their 2 opening matches.
Sporting Provisional Starting XI
GK – Salin
Defense – Gaspar, Coates, Mathieu and Jefferson
Midfield – Nani, Fernandes, Gudelj, Acuna and Mane
Attack – Montero
Arsenal Provisional Starting XI
GK – Leno
Defense – Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis and Lichsteiner
Midfield – Elneny, Guendouzi, Smith Rowe and Ramsey
Attack – Welbeck and Aubameyang
Sporting should be at full strength versus Arsenal, with only defender Mathieu facing a fitness test before the match. Arsenal will miss the services of goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Laurent Koscielny.
Sporting have struggled to protect their net this season, allowing a goal in 7 of their last 10 matches in all competitions. This has been the main reason why they have struggled to put together more consistent performances in the Portuguese Primera.
On the other hand, Arsenal have been a dominant force on offense, scoring 22 goals in 9 English Premier League matches. They have also scored 7 goals in their 2 UEFA Europa League matches as well. It seems that Unai Emery has gotten through to his players and Arsenal once again look like a powerhouse team.
Sporting vs Arsenal Odds
Sporting vs Arsenal Pick
Sporting and Arsenal have never met in an official match, so there is no history between the two sides. Sporting have struggled recently against clubs from the Big 5 leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France), and their last win at home was in 2014. Similarly, Arsenal have struggled against Portuguese clubs in the recent history, winning only 1 out of their last 7 away matches against them.
Arsenal are the favorites in this one, especially considering their recent form and the status of the league they are competing in. Sporting have struggled to protect their net since the beginning of the season and it is a bit too much to expect them to pick up the slack against such a favored opponent.
I expect the Portuguese club to come out cautious against Arsenal and try to gain an advantage through counterattacks. Arsenal will dominate possession in this one and despite playing with a wider rotation of players, should have enough to overcome Sporting.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Bordeaux
Thursday, October 25th 18:55 CET
Zenit St. Petersburg will host the French side Bordeaux at Saint-Petersburg Stadium this Thursday in an intriguing matchup of UEFA Europa League Matchweek 3. Zenit has been the most dominant Russian club this season, while Bordeaux is having a tough start to their season both domestically and in the continental competitions.
Zenit is currently in the 1st place in the Russian Premier League with 25 points from opening 11 matches. They have also been solid in the UEFA Europa League where they have 4 points from their opening 2 matches, a 1-0 win at home versus Slavia Prague and a 1-1 away draw versus FC Copenhagen.
Bordeaux is having an inconsistent start to the season and is currently in the 8th place in the French Ligue 1 with 14 points from the opening 10 matches, including 4 wins, 2 draws and 4 losses in the process. They have fared even worse in the UEFA Europa League, so far, with 0 points from the opening 2 matches including a 1-0 away loss at Slavia Prague and a 1-2 home loss to FC Copenhagen.
Zenit St. Petersburg Provisional Starting XI
GK – Lunev
Defense – Nabiullin, Neto, Ivanovic and Anyukov
Midfield – Paredes, Kranevitter, Erokhin, Driussi and Mak
Attack – Dzyuba
Bordeaux Provisional Starting XI
GK – Costil
Defense – Poundje, Pablo, Kounde and Palencia
Midfield – Plasil, Otavio, Kalu, Sankhare and Kamano
Attack – Briand
Zenit St. Petersburg will miss the services of the midfielder Christian Noboa who is out with a long-term knee injury. Similarly, Bordeaux will not be able to count on the help of midfielder Alexandre Mendy, who is also out with a long-term knee injury.
Zenit has based their system on retaining possession, protecting their own goal and scoring on counter-attacks and set pieces. They have been incredibly efficient in the Russian Premier League, winning 8 out of their 11 matches by scoring just 20 goals in them. Their defense hasn’t been stellar, allowing 9 goals in those 11 matches, but the club has taken advantage of the opportunities they were given and now sit atop the Russian Premier League.
Bordeaux is a tale of two different sides. One that dominates the sides like Monaco, Nantes, and Lille, but also the one that losses games inexplicably to the likes of Slavia Prague, Toulouse or Strasburg. Their defense has struggled, allowing 13 goals in the opening 10 matches of the French Ligue 1. They have also allowed 3 goals in 2 UEFA Europa League matches as well.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Bordeaux Odds
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Bordeaux Pick
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides, so there is not much history to go on in this matchup. Zenit St. Petersburg have a nice 5-match undefeated streak at home going against the French clubs in the European competitions, winning 3 of those and 2 matches ending up in a draw. In addition to that, Bordeaux will be facing a huge task trying to defeat Zenit at home, who have a record 20-match home undefeated streak in the UEFA Europa League, including 18 wins and 2 draws. If they stay undefeated in this one, they will be the lone record holders in the UEFA Europa League history.
When it comes to goals, Bordeaux has really struggled, especially on the road. They have failed to score in 5 out of their last 6 away matches in all competitions. That kind of offensive production will be insufficient to win points in St. Petersburg.
I believe that this will be a low scoring affair in which Zenit St. Petersburg has an excellent home advantage that they can use to intimidate opponents. Coupled with Bordeaux’s terrible away form this season, I feel that the best value is in picking Zenit St. Petersburg to win here.
Marseille vs Lazio
Thursday, October 25th 21:00 CET
A firecracker of a match awaits us at Stade Velodrome, where Marseille will host the Italian side Lazio this Thursday. This match should provide plenty of fireworks between the two sides whose offensive character and reputation is well known across Europe.
Marseille have had a rough start to their French Ligue 1 campaign this season and are already 11 points behind Paris St. Germain in the title race, after just 10 played matches. Similarly, they have also struggled in the UEFA Europa League, where they have collected just 1 point in their opening 2 matches from a 2-2 draw in Cyprus versus Apollon.
Lazio is having a solid start to their season and currently find themselves in the 4th place in the Italian Serie A with 18 points from their opening 9 matches. They have also fared better than Marseille in the UEFA Europa League as well, where they have 3 points from a 2-1 home win against the Cypriot side Apollon.
Marseille Provisional Starting XI
GK – Pele
Defense – mavi, Caleta-Car, Kamara and Sakai
Midfield – Strootman, Gustavo, Payet, Thauvin and Ocampoa
Attack – Mitroglou
Lazio Provisional Starting XI
GK – Proto
Defense – Wallace, Acerbi and Felipe
Midfield – Lukaku, Milinkovic-Savic, Badelj, Patric and Parolo
Attack – Alberto and Immobile
Marseille will host Lazio without the services of defender Rolando who is out with an Achilles’ injury and forward Clinton N’Jie who has a groin strain. In addition to that, defender Aymen Abdennour has been left out of the squad due to a coach’s decision for disciplinary reasons. Lazio will only miss the services of Danish defender Riza Durmisi who is out with an elbow injury.
Marseille is known for their attacking flair and tempo in which they like to play and that reflects in their statistics as well. They have scored 22 goals in 10 French Ligue 1 matches this season and another 3 in the 2 opening UEFA Europa League matches. Their defense has plagued them, allowing a whopping 20 goals in 12 matches in all competitions this season.
Lazio has not been as effective in scoring in the Italian Serie A, where they have scored 13 goals in 9 matches. They have fared a bit better in the UEFA Europa League where they have scored 3 goals in their opening 2 matches.
Marseille vs Lazio Odds
Marseille vs Lazio Pick
Marseille and Lazio have met only twice in official matches and that was during the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League season. Lazio have won both matches that season, winning 5-1 at home in Rome and 0-2 away at Marseille. There is not a lot of historical data available on the matchup to draw any conclusions here.
Marseille have been great at home in the Europa League, with 8 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in their last 10 home matches in the competition. Lazio, on the other hand, have really struggled recently on the road in the UEFA Europa League, where they have lost 4 of the last 5 matches. Still, it is important to note that Lazio, overall, have been in great form, winning 7 out of the last 10 matches in all competitions entering this match.
When it comes to goals 8 out of the last 10 matches that Marseille have played saw more than 2.5 goals scored in them. Lazio have been hot and cold on that front with 5 out of the last 10 matches with more than 2.5 goals scored and 5 ended up with less. When playing at home, 6 out of 7 Marseille matches had more than 2.5 goals in them. Lazio on the road are a different story, with 5 out of the last 8 matches with less than 2.5 goals.
I feel that this match will be played at a high tempo and I expect a lot of scoring opportunities for both sides. Marseille defense has been abysmal this season, so guests Lazio should be able to exploit that. Marseille offense will also be ready to pressure Lazio into mistakes and easy scoring opportunities. This is why I believe that Over 2.5 Goals bet offers the best value here.