Europa League: Foxes wary of Italian trap

10 December 2021 21:52:05 GMTPlus11
A clean sheet for Kasper Schmeichel in Naples would see Leicester progress

The final round of group stage fixtures take place in the Europa League on Thursday with plenty clubs still battling for the right to advance.

This season's competition has a slightly different feel to it following the introduction of the Europa Conference League and, therefore, finishing third in the group doesn't mean an immediate exit from European action.

Leicester can't rest on their laurels

Leicester enter the final matchday as Group C leaders but they are only two points clear of rock-bottom Legia Warsaw.

Napoli, 10/1 to win the Europa League, are third and just a point behind Leicester, who can be backed at 20/1 to go all the way in the competition, ahead of Thursday's meeting in Italy.

Spartak Moscow split them in second place and are also just one point adrift of the Premier League outfit as a drama-filled night is set to play out.

Leicester are 11/5 to claim three points in Italy, with Napoli 23/20 for the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona and the draw priced at 13/5.

Meanwhile, Legia Warsaw can be backed at 17/10 to overcome 6/4 Spartak Moscow and the draw is available at 5/2.

Hammers sitting happy at the top

West Ham have enjoyed their campaign in Europe thus far and they head into Thursday's clash with Dinamo Zagreb sitting top of Group H.

The Hammers, priced at 12/1 to win the competition, have picked up 13 points in five outings and they are six clear of second-placed Dinamo ahead of hosting the Croatian outfit.

With a heavy fixture list to manage over the rest of December, David Moyes has confirmed that he will turn to some of his fringe players for the clash at the London Stadium.

Dinamo are just two points clear of Genk in third and must avoid defeat to hold on to second place and they could be worth a punt at 12/5 when considering the Hammers won't be at full strength. A home win is priced at 23/20 and the draw is available at 12/5.

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Gers settling for second

Rangers are the only other British club to be sure of a place in the next phase, although they cannot qualify directly for the last 16.

Gers are second in Group A, six points behind leaders Lyon but they are three ahead of Sparta Prague and have a superior record in the head-to-head.

Thursday's meeting with table-toppers Lyon is a dead rubber and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, much like Moyes, is going to deploy his fringe players.

Lyon can be backed at 1/1 to beat 5/2 Rangers and the draw is priced at 11/4.

The French outfit are yet to concede a goal at home in two previous outings and can be backed at 10/3 to win to nil in the 17:45 clash.

Bhoys bowing out

Celtic won't be advancing any further in the Europa League but they have already cemented third place and will be dropping down into the Conference League.

The Bhoys wrap up their campaign on home soil when they play host to second-placed Real Betis, who sit four points clear.

A home win is 19/10 with the Spanish outfit priced at 13/10 and the draw at 13/5.

The reverse fixture, which took place on matchday one, was hugely exciting as Celtic threw away a two-goal lead to lose 4-3.

Betis can't catch leaders Bayer Leverkusen so it's unlikely this clash will unfold in a similar fashion as both clubs are likely to field weakened XI's.

PSV hoping to keep La Real at bay

Top spot in Group B has already been wrapped up by Monaco but second place is up for grabs as Real Sociedad and PSV battle it out.

PSV are second and two points clear of Sociedad heading into the clash at the Anoeta.

Sociedad, priced at 19/20, must win to move ahead of their rivals and into the last-16 playoffs but 14/5 PSV hold the stronger hand as they merely need to avoid defeat to retain their spot in the group.

The reverse fixture ended all square at 2-2 and a repeat of that outcome can be backed at 14/1.

Lazio looking for one last push

Lazio, 20/1 to win the Europa League, are guaranteed second place but they could still steal top spot from leaders Galatasaray if they beat the Turkish outfit on Thursday.

They trail Gala by three points and need to win by more than one goal to climb to the summit after they lost 1-0 when the two clubs met in Turkey.

Maurizio Sarri's men are 1/2 to come out on top against 5/1 Galatasaray with the draw priced at 7/2.

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