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Free Europa League betting tips: Preview of Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal & Everton v Lyon

Last Updated October 20 2017, 07:36Football
Diego Llorent
Diego Llorent

Theo Walcott can wreak more havoc on Thursday, while we've also got a 7/1 tip for you in our Europa League betting preview.

Red Star Belgrade v Arsenal (1800 BST, BT Sport 2)

Arsenal’s Europa League campaign thus far has been all about goals. At both ends.

As many expected, Arsene Wenger has gone with a largely second string team in the competition thus far, knowing it has the quality to prevail and take the Gunners into the post-Christmas knockout stage.

That quality has certainly been shown in attacking areas with the likes of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud very able deputies. However, the changes have created a disjointed backline, as shown in their 3-1 home win over Cologne and, to a greater extent, the 4-2 success away to BATE Borisov three weeks ago.

The likely return of Francis Coquelin in this one may help on the defensive side of things but I’d still be expecting goals again in this one.

Red Star – or Crvena Zvezda as they are referred to in their Serbian homeland – have started well enough in this competition. They were held to a 1-1 draw by BATE on matchday one but followed up with a 1-0 win in Cologne, albeit the Germans have really been struggling this season.

I’d suggest this contest will be their toughest test yet, despite the deficiencies Arsenal have shown, and losing a handful of key players won’t help.

Nemanja Milic, Ricardinho and Ghana’s Abraham Frimpong are all out, while regular starter Guelor Kanga, a Gabon international, is an injury doubt.

Arsenal should be able to take advantage. The latest youngsters off their production line, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, both caught the eye against BATE and there’s still plenty of senior quality with Jack Wilshere again likely to start.

It’s Walcott I like the look of in terms of a bet. He could easily have added more than the two he did get against BATE when his pace caused all sort of problems from an early stage. He also scored on his previous start (in the Carabao Cup v Doncaster).

2/1 about him scoring at any time looks big but I’m also going to have half my stake on him scoring the last goal.

It was interesting to see Red Star boss Vladan Milojevic talking openly about his side have faded in the closing stages of their Europa games so far.

Discussing playing at a high-tempo for a full 90 minutes, Milojevic said ahead of this game: “They (Arsenal) are used to it and we are not.”

Walcott’s pace could well come into play at such a point and 11/2 to strike last is worth a nibble. If for some reason he only comes on as sub, the bet will still stand but will also still have a decent chance of coming in.

Prediction: Red Star 1-2 Arsenal

Everton v Lyon (2005 BST, BT Sport 2)

Both Ronald Koeman and Michael Keane spoke a lot about confidence, of a lack of it, during Wednesday’s press conference and no wonder.

Everton have looked devoid of it for weeks and the international break didn’t appear to change anything.

Both men insisted a win, or any sort, would help solve their current malaise and maybe Sunday’s last-gasp equaliser which earned a draw at Brighton will prove a turning point in their season.

However, that would be looking overly-positive at what is a bad situation for the Toffees, whose summer recruitment policy hasn’t worked and who don’t seem to have established exactly how they are trying to play the game right now.

Attacking-wise Everton are struggling creatively but just as worryingly has been their inability to defend properly – regular basic errors have brought back memories of the Roberto Martinez era.

It’s just one clean sheet in 11 for Koeman’s men now and it looks like they need to score twice to win any game right now and that’s proving difficult.

Victory is what’s required on Thursday though. Just one point from their first two games has left them in a hole and while they are actually only a point off second place in the group, it’s clear they need to win sooner rather than later.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman
Everton boss Ronald Koeman needs a result

Last season’s tournament semi-finalists are next up and while they have sold key personnel – think Alexander Lacazette to Arsenal and Corentin Tolisso to Bayern Munich – they remain a team worthy of respect.

12/5 looks big about the French side winning at Goodison but I’m slightly concerned by the absence of Mariano (seven goals in nine Ligue 1 games so far) and defender Ferland Mendy.

It’s also noteworthy that Lyon have drawn six of their 11 games so far this term, including both games (1-1) in this Europa group.

They’ve scored plenty of goals but also conceded plenty and with all this in mind I feel the draw-no-bet market is probably the safer option. They can be backed in it at 11/8.

Everton just don’t look like they are going to win many games right now with problems at both ends of the pitch and so this looks the way to go.

Prediction: Everton 1-2 Lyon

Best of the rest

Free-scoring Real Sociedad head to Macedonian side Vardar (1800 BST, BT Sport Extra), who have conceded eight goals in their two Europa League group games and there’s a big-priced goalscorer bet I like the look of.

Spanish defender Diego Llorente is enjoying a purple patch in terms of goals right now. He netted twice against Rosenborg in Sociedad’s last home game in the competition. That alone can simply be put down as a good day but his overall figures for the season now stand at seven appearances, five goals – highly impressive for a centre-back.

His team have scored at least two goals in seven of their 10 games this season and, after ending a five-game winless run at the weekend, they are heavily odds-on to win this one.

Diego Llorente: In fine goalscoring form
Diego Llorente: In fine goalscoring form

It’s probably no surprise to hear that Llorente is a serious threat from set-pieces. Sociedad should earn plenty of those here – a match they are expected to dominate.

They are averaging 7.4 corners a game this season with of nine and 12 taken in their last two matches.

Llorente is 7/1 to score at any time which looks worthy of some small change.

Recommended bets

1pt Theo Walcott to score at any time v Red Star Belgrade at 2/1

1pt Theo Walcott to score the last goal v Red Star Belgrade at 11/2

1pt Lyon (draw no bet) to beat Everton at 11/8

1pt Diego Llorente to score at any time in Vardar v Real Sociedad at 7/1

Click here for our transparent tipping record.

Posted at 1740 BST on 18/10/17.

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Thibaut Courtois1

Thursday's Paper Talk

Real Madrid want Thibaut Courtois to stall on signing a new Chelsea contract until April, according to one report in Paper Talk.

Nacho Monreal celebrates2

Europa League betting tips

George Pitts has four selections for you as the Europa League is reduced to 16 teams at the end of Thursday night's action.

Christian Pulisic3

Wednesday's Paper Talk

Chelsea face fierce competition from Bayern Munich for £88m-rated Borussia Dortmund teenager Christian Pulisic, according to the Daily Mail.

David de Gea kept it goalless between Sevilla and Manchester United4

De Gea delivers for Man United

David De Gea's exceptional display saved Manchester United's blushes in the 0-0 draw at Sevilla in the Champions League.

Ander Herrera5

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