Europa League Tips: Unpredictable Sides to Produce Plenty of Goals

Liam is back with his Europa League tips for Thursdays semi-finals where he thinks goals will be the order of the day

Manchester United v Roma – Thursday 29 April 20:00 BST

United are even money favourites to win this competition and based on domestic league form it is easy to see why. They are unbeaten in three months, have picked up 13 of the last 15 points available and conceded just 3 goals in their last eight games. Solskjaer’s team look solid defensively, efficient in attack and are simply very hard to beat.

That being said, this United team have a tendency to only play well when the pressure is off. Yes, they are sitting second in the Premier League, but this has been a season to forget for the non-Manchester based Big Six teams. When push comes to shove the key players fade away and four consecutive semi final defeats under the Norwegian is a worry.

Roma remain as unpredictable as ever. They were on the ropes in Amsterdam in the last round but managed to rally and ultimately progress. Domestically, the Giallorossi were in the race for a Champions League spot as recently as last month. However, a dismal run of form (P7 W1 D2 L4) has seen them fall out of the European spots entirely.

In truth, the win market here is best avoided. United are as low as 1/2 to win and that offers little value considering their recent history of late season slip ups. Roma just about tempt at 5/1 but considering their form it would only warrant a small bet. Understandably, they are the outsiders here, but it would be foolish to write them off.

Goals on the other hand are look well priced. Roma have scored in their last seven games, and conceded in six of those. They have also scored in all Europa League games this season bar one. United are not goal-shy themselves. Their recent fixtures were averaging over three goals per game until the stalemate with Leeds. With Roma looking so fragile it is hard to see United sitting back and I can picture this turning into something of a shootout. Over 2.5 Goals and BTTS  @ 5/4  is a great Bet365 market and definitely worth backing. Most other bookmakers will allow you combine these markets if it is not readily available.

Stat Attack:

Roma have conceded first in their last two league games and both Europa League fixtures versus Ajax. They managed to recover in 3 of those games (one win and two draws). The Italians have scored in the second half of every Europa League game this season, excluding the ties versus Sofia. At odds of 60/1 I am tempted by Man United HT / Roma FT for a small stake.

If that is too risky for your appetite, Roma to score over 0.5 Second Half Goals is generous at 5/4. Either way, this is a market worth watching for some in-play action!

Villarreal v Arsenal – Thursday 29 April 20:00 BST

If Arsenal’s league form is poor then Villarreal’s is simply awful. They have won just four of their last fifteen La Liga outings. Three of those wins came against teams in the bottom half of the table. They have not beaten any team in the top eleven at home this season and have lost seven times since February. Their Europa League form however stands  in stark contrast. Villarreal are unbeaten in the competition, with 11 wins and one draw so far.

Similarly, Arsenal are very hard to predict at the moment. They are slowly learning how to defend and have one of the lowest xGA (Expected Goals Against) in the Premier League. However, almost every mistake seems to cost them a goal and Bernd Leno is beginning to look a liability. Their best attacking player of the season has been a defender (Kieran Tierney) and the much maligned midfielder Xhaka is becoming their key man in defence.

As their ability to create chances has improved, Arsenal’s strikers have suffered a loss of form. A combination of family bereavements, ill-discipline, pulled hamstrings and even malaria have kept Arsenal’s front two from finding their best lately.

This is another tricky game to call. Arsenal are 15/8 and that tempts slightly more than Villarreal at 8/5, but not enough to back. Again the Over 2.5 Goals and BTTS  @ 5/4 stands out . Nine of Arsenal’s twelve games in this competition have seen at least three goals and their average is closer to four. Villarreal come into this tie on the back of five consecutive games with at least three match goals and both teams scoring.

SRD Selection:

United v Roma Over 2.5 Total Goals and BTTS @ 5/4

Villarreal v Arsenal Over 2.5 Total Goals and BTTS @ 5/4

The above double is the recommended bet at 4/1