Europa League betting preview: Best bets and stats for Thursday's Matchday Two action, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Wolves

Our best bets for the latest round of Europa League fixtures
Our best bets for the latest round of Europa League fixtures

Matchday Two of the Europa League group stages is here - we look ahead to the action.

Recommended bets

2pts Arsenal to beat Standard Liege -1 on the handicap at 11/10

1pt Over 0.5 Wolves goals in the first half at 6/5

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


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Besiktas v Wolves (1755 BST) - George Pitts

Nuno Espirito Santo speaks ahead of Wolves' clash with Braga
Nuno Espirito Santo speaks ahead of Wolves' opening Europa League group clash last month

Besiktas has always been a tough place to go in Europe, but the Turkish outfit have started their league campaign just as poorly as Wolves.

They have won just one of their first seven in all competitions and are currently on a five-match winless streak, while Wolves will be buoyed after getting their first Premier League win on Saturday.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side have felt the effect of European football after starting qualifying in July, but Saturday's springboard and Besiktas' poor displays point in favour of an away win.

Wolves do have a talented squad and they have shown that with six wins from seven in the Europa League.

Besiktas' defence has conceded at least four goals in two of their last three games, including their group opener with Slovan Bratislava, and they have not kept a clean sheet since their last win on August 23.

With this in mind, Wolves are 6/5 to score in the first half, as they did in all but one of their six Europa League victories, which looks a nice odds-against price.

Best bet: Over 0.5 Wolves goals in the first half at 6/5

Key stats

  • Besiktas have lost their last two games in the Europa League – they haven’t suffered three in a row in the competition since March 2012, with two of the three defeats in that run coming against the 2011-12 champions Atlético Madrid.
  • Wolves have won each of their three away games in European competition in 2019-20 (all qualifiers), scoring 11 goals across these three trips - 4-1 v Crusaders, 4-0 v FC Pyunik and 3-2 v Torino.
  • Adem Ljajic has been directly involved in three goals in his last five Europa League starts for Bestikas, scoring one and providing two assists.

AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United (1755 BST) - Paul Higham

There's no Paul Pogba for Manchester United, but he may well have been rested anyway as Sunday's Premier League game at Newcastle is now far more important - although it's a real problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he can't really afford a slip-up in the Netherlands either.

Making changes, however, has not gone too well for Solskjaer as his side limped to wins against Astana (1-0) and Rochdale (penalties) and more turgid stuff like that will only increase the building pressure on his shoulders. He needs an exciting performance and a few goals to lift the gloom.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure at Man Utd

AZ are third in the Dutch league and have bagged 17 goals in their last seven games so know where the goal is, and although they're playing in Den Haag away from their usual home stadium while damage there is being fixed, there's always going to be an air of excitement when Manchester United come to town.

Another big problem for United is that the game will be played on an artificial pitch in Alkmaar's temporary home - and not just any old pitch either as Solskjaer has already described it as one of the worst he's seen. That will already have put doubts in his players' heads.

United, without an away win since that miracle in Paris in March, are nowhere near convincing enough to back even at 7/5, which until recently would've been an unthinkably big price against the fourth best team in the Netherlands last season - such are these lean times for the Red Devils.

It could be a tough night for the visitors and multiple changes could again result in a performance lacking cohesion. That's not to say they won't be able to scrape a result, but it should be a grind.

Best bet: Under 2.5 goals in AZ Alkmaar v Man United at 10/11

Key stats

  • AZ have only won one of their previous six home games in the Europa League (D1 L4), conceding at least two goals in four of those.
  • Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five Europa League away games (W3 D2), after losing five in a row prior to this run.
  • Marcus Rashford has scored in two of his last three away games in European competition for Manchester United (v Valencia in December 2018 and Paris Saint-Germain in March 2019), as many as he had in his previous 13 combined.

Arsenal v Standard Liege (2000 BST) - Paul Higham

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka celebrate for Arsenal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka celebrate for Arsenal

There shouldn't be too many problems for the Gunners here under Europa League specialist Unai Emery - although just a word of caution that Standard Liege are in decent form with a five-game unbeaten run putting them just a point behind Belgian league leaders Brugge - and we all saw what they did in the Bernabeu this week.

A similar upset doesn't look on the cards though - even a much-changed Arsenal battered Nottingham Forest 5-0 at home, which is a game of about the same standard as, erm, Standard.

The Gunners' opening win at Eintracht Frankfurt was an eye-catching display, and one where Bukayo Saka played his way into the first team.

When you've got a player like Mesut Ozil to come in as part of the second string, provided his attitude his right, then any Gunners line-up should be far too strong, especially at home where they've won 12 of their last 14.

Best bet: Arsenal to beat Standard Liege -1 on the handicap at 11/10

Key stats

  • Arsenal have won all four encounters with Standard Liège in European competition, netting 15 goals in the process.
  • Standard Liège have lost seven of their eight trips to England in all European competition, with the only exception being a 2-2 draw with Everton during the 2008-09 UEFA Cup.
  • Arsenal are looking to win six consecutive home European matches (excluding qualifiers) for the first time at the Emirates, and first time since winning seven in a row between March 2001 and February 2002 at Highbury.
  • Only FC Astana (3) and AZ Alkmaar (4) had fewer efforts at goal on MD1 of this season’s Europa League than Standard Liège (5), but the Belgians scored with two of those five shots.

Reports & highlights

Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka shines as Gunners win in Frankfurt, while Celtic draw at Rennes

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka celebrate for Arsenal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka celebrate for Arsenal

Manchester United 1-0 Astana: Mason Greenwood wins Europa League game at Old Trafford with first senior goal

Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring for Manchester United
Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring for Manchester United


Lazio v Rennes (2000 BST) - George Pitts

Lazio started their group campaign with a defeat at Cluj and they will fancy their chances against Ligue 1 side Rennes at Stadio Olimpico.

Rennes are in their second successive Europa League campaign, drawing with Celtic last time out, and they are without a win in their last six in all competitions.

Lazio had a poor three-game winless run but have bounced back with two wins from their last three, including a 4-0 thrashing of Genoa at the weekend.

There is a noticeable trend with Lazio starting quickly this season, with goals in the first 10 minutes in their last two home games and three other goals coming in the first 25 minutes.

With this in mind, Lazio have the firepower to get the better of a Rennes side on a poor run and lacking in confidence, with the 19/10 price on the hosts to be winning after half an hour a favourable option.

Best bet: Lazio to be leading after 30 minutes 19/10

Key stats

  • Lazio are unbeaten in their last six games against French sides in European competition (W5 D1), since a 3-0 defeat against Marseille in the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup – the Italian side have won four consecutive matches against French opposition.
  • Rennes have lost five of their six away Europa League group stage matches (W1 D0 L5), but did win their most recent one in November 2018 at FK Jablonec.

Odds correct as of 1700 BST on 2/10/19


Thursday's key Europa League fixtures

2000 BST kick-off unless stated

The Europa League trophy - the 2019/20 final will be staged in Gdansk
The Europa League trophy - the 2019/20 final will be staged in Gdansk
  • AZ Alkmaar v Manchester United (1755 BST)
  • Besiktas v Wolves (1755 BST)
  • Feyenoord v FC Porto (1755 BST)
  • St Etienne v Wolfsburg (1755 BST)
  • Wolfsberger v AS Roma (1755 BST)
  • Young Boys v Rangers (1755 BST)
  • Arsenal v Standard Liege (2000 BST)
  • Celtic v Cluj (2000 BST)
  • Guimaraes v Eintracht Frankfurt (2000 BST)
  • Lazio v Rennes (2000 BST)
  • Rosenborg v PSV (2000 BST)
  • Sevilla v APOEL (2000 BST)

Check out more Europa League fixtures here


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