- Matchday 6 of the 2019 UEFA Europa League begins Thursday
- All-Scandinavian clash in Group B with Malmo and Copenhagen in pole positions
- Rangers and Arsenal both odds-on to win their final group game
It’s Matchday 6 of the Europa League on Thursday, December 12. As ever, this competition offers the bettors a different dynamic to the Champions League and, in doing so, often offers some good value.
We’ll take a look at three of Thursday’s top fixtures to try and identify some good bets.
Europa League Group B – FC Copenhagen vs Malmo FF Odds
|FC Copenhagen||pk -0.5 (-104)||+119||O 2.0, 2.5 (-103)|
|Malmo FF||pk +0.5 (-116)||+192||U 2.0, 2.5 (-117)|
All odds taken on Dec. 10.
It’s Denmark vs Sweden on Matchday 6 in Group B and the stakes couldn’t be higher. While a draw is enough for Copenhagen to go through to the knockout phase, a defeat could see them crash out altogether if Dynamo Kyiv beat Lugano at home. It’s that tight. Equally, a win for Malmo will guarantee them a passage through to the knockout stages, but if they fail to get the three points they will need to rely on Kyiv not winning.
Copenhagen currently sit top the group and are unbeaten but this is a ‘low scoring’ group all-round, and have only won two games. They have also scored just five goals in their five games and three of their games have ended 1-1. I’m not anticipating a goal-fest in the Danish capital.
Malmo put themselves in contention for a top-two spot with a thrilling 4-3 win over Kyiv in Sweden on Matchday 5, a win that opened up the crucial two-point gap between them and their Ukrainian rivals. Up until that point, Malmo has only scored three times in the group, but with the pressure on, they delivered.
Against Copenhagen, however, Malmo will not dare be as gung-ho, on the basis a draw may be enough for them to qualify. I’m not expecting either team to be overly adventurous, at least early on, but the dynamic could change very quickly if news filters through that Kyiv are beating Lugano. Then it will start to get really interesting.
The reverse fixture in Sweden was a 1-1 and while the +210 for a similar scoreline here is tempting, I do have a hunch that Malmo’s slightly more expansive style may see them edge to a dramatic victory, one that possibly could see Copenhagen miss out on the knockout phase completely.
My pick: Malmo to win (+192)
Europa League Group F – Standard Liege vs Arsenal Odds
|Standard Liege||+0.5 (-123)||+200||O 3 (-103)|
|Arsenal||-0.5 (+103)||+103||U 3 (-117)|
Standard Liege will be hoping for a Matchday 6 miracle in order to advance beyond the group stages. They currently sit third in the group – three points behind leaders Arsenal – with Eintracht Frankfurt in second needing a win over bottom-of-the-table Vitoria SC to qualify.
The Belgians need a win first and foremost – not easy, given they were beaten 4-0 by the Gunners in London on Matchday 2 – and then they will need a huge favor (and performance) from the Portuguese.
For Arsenal, this has been a traumatic season, one that has seen a change in manager with former player Freddie Ljungberg taking over from Unai Emery in a temporary capacity. The Swede is yet to make a huge impact on the Gunners’ fortunes but he did pick up his first win on Monday when they beat West Ham 3-1 in the London Stadium.
As a result, Arsenal will head to Belgium with renewed confidence and, while I don’t expect a repeat of their 4-0 win at the Emirates, it is hard to see Liege having enough to get the win they so desperately need. Ljungberg’s men, for all their defensive troubles, still possess pace and quality going forward and I can see them prospering as Liege push men forward in search of the win.
My pick: Arsenal to win (+103)
Europa League Group G – Rangers vs Young Boys Odds
|Rangers||-0.5 (-122)||-122||O 2.5 (-118)|
|Young Boys||+0.5 (+102)||+260||U 2.5 (-102)|
Group G is another that’s still up in the air with all four teams still in with a chance of making the top two. Fourth-placed Feyenoord can still make the knockout stages if they win away at Porto and Rangers beat Young Boys at Ibrox.
While Rangers start as odds-on favorites to do the business against Young Boys of Switzerland, it will still be a tense night in Glasgow as they await news of the game in Porto. It promises to be one of those where fluctuating fortunes will see different teams occupy the top two places as the evening progresses.
What Rangers don’t need is a repeat of the result in Berne when they went down 2-1 on Matchday 2, courtesy of a 93rd-minute winner from Christian Fassnacht. An early goal for Young Boys and a goal either way in Porto and Steven Gerrard’s men will be staring down the barrel, a situation exacerbated by their Glasgow rivals, Celtic, having already qualified for the knockout phase.
This one will be tight, very tight, and I won’t be surprised if Young Boys hold Rangers to a nervy draw – one that may be just enough to see the Gers qualify.