Thursday 11го December
Besiktas v Tottenham Hotspur – 18:00
Spurs travel to Turkey on Thursday night in a match that will decide who will go through top of the table with both teams already qualified for the last 32. Besiktas dropped into the Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League play-offs and have had a successful run in both Europe and domestically this season. The Turkish side have not lost in their 5 group games winning 2 and drawing 3. They average 2 goals a game with Demba Ba involved in 6 of their 10 goals. They have a very strong home record in all competitions only losing 2 in their last 32 at Ataturk Stadium.
Spurs only need a draw to secure Group C top spot in a Europa League campaign that has seen them win 3 and draw 2. One of those draws came against Besikats at White Hart Lane when they ended the game 1-1. Harry Kane has scored 5 in this year’s competition and I would expect him to start in Turkey. Spurs are unbeaten in 18 Europa League matches but will need a good performance in order to get something out this one, the Ataturk Stadium is a tough place to visit.
These sort of matches are very tough to call, Spurs may name a much changed side and Besiktas could rest some players in order to concentrate on their point advantage top of their domestic league. Besiktas have a big advantage being at home and look a fair price at 2.2 but my recommendation is to back Tottenham +0.25 @ 2.05.
Everton v Krasnodar – 20:05
Everton guaranteed themselves top spot in Group H with an away win over Wolfsburg, leaving them 4 points clear. With nothing to play for Roberto Martinez is expected to ring some wholesale changes for Thursday night’s Europa League match against a Russian side that have been very disappointing this campaign. Martinez could well call upon Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo as well as some of their talented younger players like Ledson, Garbutt and Browning. With the youngsters looking to impress and other non-regular starters with points to prove, I think Everton will have a real go at winning this one.
Krasnodar have 3 draws and 2 loses from their opening 5 fixtures, conceding 12 times. As a result of this poor form they travel from Russia with nothing to play for. Their last away trip in the Europa League ended in a 5-1 drubbing to a Wolfsburg side Everton have beaten twice in the competition. The Russian side were also on the end of a 4-0 thrashing to Zenit last weekend as they continue to look very shaky at the back.
Even though Everton have qualified, going through to the knock-out stages in the top seed pot, and expecting to name a changed side, I think Everton are good value to win this one. Everton to Win is priced at 1.95 and is my advised trade.