For the teams that failed to make Tuesday and Wednesday night football, it’s not all doom and gloom. As the Europa League group stage resumes, it’s the perfect time for these teams to prove their mettle in Europe too.
After UCL action this week, 64 teams will be in action as Thursday night football takes center stage in the form of the UEFA Europa League. Notorious for being one of the most hectic football tournaments in the world, it’s another chance for sides to attempt to add a European trophy to their cabinet.
It may not be the Champions League. But this year’s edition of the Europa League tournament will feature some of the biggest names in European club football. And the heavyweight clashes will be served right from the first round of games.
For example, Celtic and AC Milan, fresh off major local derby games, will be going head to head in the first round of Europa League games this week. As European heavyweights, both teams would usually clash in the Champions League. But the times have changed. In this first meeting in close to a decade, Milan will be looking to continue their dominance of this particular fixture.
In the last eight clashes between both sides, Celtic have only won once. Now, the Scottish champs have to find a way past a Milan side that has not lost a game in their last 24.
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Unlike the two aforementioned sides, other games will be featuring first-time meetings between teams. One to look out for is the clash between Napoli and AZ Alkmaar. Both sides have been scoring for fun this season, thereby making this one a potential goal fest.
Both teams have scored in Alkmaar’s last four. Napoli have scored 12 goals in their last three Serie A games.
Will there be a red card awarded in this clash?
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After letting a three-goal lead slip over the weekend, Tottenham will host LASK. Their London rivals, Arsenal, will be fulfilling their first Europa League commitment of the season away from home when they take on Rapid Wien. Real Sociedad and Villarreal will be flying the Spanish flag in the competition this season.
For Sparta Praha, their first game is a tough ask as they face an unbeaten Lille side. It’s also a first-time meeting between both sides and Sparta have to find a way to keep at bay, a side that has scored at least two goals in each of their last three games.
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It’s a week full of mid-week games to enjoy and also make money from. Which teams are you back this week? Drop your comments below.