After a fantastic two nights of Champions League action, our attentions turn to Thursday’s equally enticing Europa League semi-final matches as four sides battle it out for an advantage on the road to Warsaw on May 27th.
All four teams will fancy their chances of going all the way and we should be in for two fascinating contests. Hopefully, we’ll win some money too!
Sevilla V Fiorentina. 8:05PM. ITV 4
Thursday’s headline clash sees defending champions Sevilla entertain Serie A giants Fiorentina at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in what has the potential to be an outstanding first-leg contest.
Unai Emery’s hosts have been fantastic in this competition once again this term and if it wasn’t for the quality of La Liga giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid then there’s a very good chance that they’d be gracing the Champions League on a far more regular basis. As it is, the Rojiblancos will be content with getting their hands on this trophy for a fourth time in 10 years.
Vincenzo Montella’s visitors will pose a real threat, though, especially as their recent domestic matches have been awash with goals. Confidence is high in the Viola camp and they certainly won’t fear the trip to Spain.
With a return leg in Florence to come, this match isn’t the be-all and end-all. Nonetheless, both sides are fully aware of its importance and we’re expecting a cracking showdown.
Sevilla V Fiorentina Betting Tips
Bookmaker Bet365 believe that home advantage could be key in this crucial first contest and have priced Sevilla at 4/5 accordingly. Alternatively, Fiorentina are available at 15/4 whilst the draw can be backed at 14/5.
From a betting perspective, as well as that of a neutral, we hope there will be goals. Both teams have scored plenty en route to the last four and we can’t see that drying up anytime soon.
Italian teams might be known for strong defensive play but Fiorentina will be determined to score a potential vital away goal Nonetheless, Sevilla have been rampant at home and are equally likely to find the net.
Over 2.5 match goals @ 10/11 with William Hill
Napoli V Dnipro. 8:05PM.
The other semi-final involves another Serie A outfit as Rafa Benitez look to edge one step closer to history as he bids to become the first man to lead three different clubs to this trophy.
Napoli were sensational in the first-leg trip to Wolfsburg in the last round and will be looking to channel that positivity into another impressive result here; considering Dnipro’s strength on home soil, a healthy advantage might be required for the Italians.
Whilst the visitors are a handy outfit at home, they do tend to struggle outside of Ukraine and have won just one of seven away games in Europe this term. However, the likes of Nikola Kalinic and Evhen Seleznyov will give the Napoli defence something to worry about.
However, Napoli are blessed with some real quality in their squad and should be confident after the comfortable 3-0 weekend win over AC Milan. Expect Benitez’s boys to shine.
Napoli V Dnipro Betting Tips
Unsurprisingly, the Italians are considered firm favourites at home and are priced just 4/11 with Bet365 to take a first-leg advantage to the Ukraine. Meanwhile, the draw can be backed at 4/1, whilst the visitors are available at 10/1.
Benitez is a master of this competition and knows exactly what’s required to excel in European tournaments and that experience could serve Napoli well, particularly on home soil.
Dnipro are a good side but their main strength lies back at … Whilst they’d love an away goal, their main focus will be to stop Napoli running away with the tie. With this in mind, we fancy a 1 or 2 nil victory for the hosts.
Napoli win-to-nil @ 11/10 with Paddy Power