VIDI V CHELSEA

English club Chelsea will visit Budapest on Thursday with the hope of earning an away victory. The Premier League giant and local club MOL Vidi are both in a race to dominate Europa League Group L.

Chelsea so far maintained a perfect start to their Europa League campaign. The Blues are guaranteed a place in the last 32 , where they will face their Premier League rivals Arsenal.

Maurizio Sarri helped Chelsea secure the top spot of Group L with a comfortable 4-0 victory over PAOK Salonika last November. The game was notable for the excellent performance of the 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who netted his first ever goal for the club as senior in the 60th minute. The team coach took advantage of the competition to play a number of fringe players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesc Fabregas, and Hudson-Odoi himself.

Sarri was given more trust now as he led Chelsea to their victory back home, giving Man City its first taste of defeat in the Premier League season.

Meanwhile, Vidi stands third in Group L and already posted six points to the board taken from their last five matches. They lost 0-2 against Újpesti in the Hungarian Liga last Saturday, but they are in relative fair form in the local action. In the second day of the month, they defeated Budapest Honved 2-0. They, nevertheless, managed to beat Debrecen and Újpesti 1-0 each. Although they lost to BATE Borisov in the Europa League group, they share a victory over PAOK with their upcoming English rivals.

Vidi, however, will have a desperate struggle in their match with Chelsea. While the Blues hold a 100% winning record against the Hungarian slate, the latter has never scored a goal against the English club in their match history. Vidi lost three of their last seven overall games, and winless in five out of nine of their last home fixtures.

Chelsea, on the other hand, is dominating back home and away. They are unbeaten in 22 of their last 24 matches, and remained victors in 10 out 12 of their last plays outside the Premier League.

ARSENAL V QARABAG 

Arsenal will welcome Qarabag at Emirates Stadium  on Thursday as the Azerbaijani club travels to the English capital.

Arsenal will be looking to extend their extraordinary unbeaten run across 22 matches in all campaigns. The Gunners are guaranteed to meet Chelsea in the last 32. Unai Emery had secured the team’s place at the top of Group E, as they already took 13 points from a possible 15.

The English club are anticipating good times ahead after their game-changing win over north London rivals Tottenham. Arsenal’s strength is even great enough to hold Man United into a 2-2 draw in the Premier League. They also took their success to the continental scene when they defeated Ukrainian club Vorskla Poltava 3-0 in Group E.

Emery may take the opportunity to test some fresh characters in the field. Arsenal’s teenage guns Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock could be expected to premier on Thursday.

Qarabag will face the English giant with the prior knowledge of their inevitable defeat. The Azerbaijani club are bottom of the group after losing four times in four months. They lost 0-2 to Sporting last September, and lost to the same club in November. After their 1-0 win over Vorskla Poltava, they fell to the same club just a few days earlier. They further made more misfortunes in the Europa League as they got beaten by Arsenal last October, and the unlucky strike shall  continue.

Qarabag could, nevertheless, take some encouragement by flexing their success back home. They scored 11 goals out of two domestic matches. Their match record against English clubs betrays them though, having lost all five fixtures with English clubs across their campaigns and have an aggregate score of 1-17.

MARSEILLE V APOLLON LIMASSOL

Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol will face the French Ligue 1 fifth-placer Olympique Marseille away from their home.  

Although they are fifth in the French premier division, Marseille is sitting at the bottom of Group H, and the French club’s  Europa League campaign is falling. They lost to group top-tier Lazio back in August, followed by a humiliating 0-4 defeat to Frankfurt. They are doing good back home though, capping their unbeaten streak with 0-0 draw with Stade Reims after two wins over Dijon and Amiens. The run only cut short when Nantes netted a 2-3 win against them.

Apollon, on the other hand, is doing better than the Ligue 1 slate in the Europa League. They even held Marseille into a draw last October. While they initially lost to Lazio 1-2, they retaliate against the Italians by the end of the previous month, earning 2-0.

The Cypriots are comfortable in their country’s First Division. They only been defeated two times and shared a draw once. They also stand at the third level in the Cypriot league, having earned 25 points and eight wins so far. They further proved that they are no joke when they scored 3 against local top team Athlitiki Enosi Lemesou last November.

Marseille and Apollon came into the League with nothing to play for, but the Cypriots have outwin the French team ever since. Marseille only holds a point to the board so far, and brags no win at all. Such a state is hugely embarrassing for a team in their stature. Their only chance to escape the situation is to bag a win on Thursday, but a victory against Apollon is quite a blurry picture given their record.

By @FitsEly

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