Europa League Betting: Rangers to beat distracted Lech Poznan and finish on a high
Rangers have already qualified for the knockout round but victory against Lech Poznan would see the Gers win their Europa League group says Frankie Monkhouse...
Mixed emotions for Scottish sides
We have arrived at matchday six of the Europa League group stages and the two Scottish representatives have suffered a mixed bag of fortunes. Rangers booked their place in the knockout stages of the competition with a game to spare and could beat Benfica to top spot. Celtic will end bottom of their pool and are yet to win a game.
Steven Gerrard takes his side to Lech Poznan for the early kick-off on Thursday knowing if they at least match the result of rivals Benfica they will progress as group winners. It'll be interesting to see if Gerrard pushes for a big finish or rests his squad for upcoming league games. Celtic seem to have already thrown in the towel, but manager Neil Lennon knows another heavy defeat could cost him his job.
Lech Poznan v Rangers
Live on BT Sport
Lech Poznan will consider this Europa League campaign a disappointment after being one of the early favourites to qualify for the knockout stages. They start this match third in Group D with three points on the board thanks to one win and four defeats. The hosts have scored six goals in their five starts but conceded a dozen.
Poznan are already eight points behind Rangers and Benfica and level with bottom club Standard Liege. There's not a lot for the locals to play for here, other than pride, and they may send out a weakened side to keep their regular starters fresh for upcoming league games. The Railwayman's manager Dariusz Zuraw told the media some of his players are already looking tired.
Gers can make a statement of intent
Many European football experts picked Rangers as the weakest team in this group, but Gerrard's side silenced their critics. They are top of the table and unbeaten so far, winning three and drawing two, scoring 11 goals while conceding seven. It's worth noting five of those seven were scored by Benfica in two draws.
The Glasgow side continued their stunning start to the season with an impressive 4-0 win over Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday. Goals from Kemar Roofe, James Tavernier, Jermaine Defoe, and a Callum Morris own goal earned them the win. They're now 13 points clear of Celtic who drew against St Johnstone.
Who wants it more?
Thursday's match could be a case of who wants it more. Poznan may rest players knowing they have bigger games on the horizon while Gerrard knows the most important thing this season is league success. Rangers may be outsiders to win the Europa League, but they have a great chance of winning the Scottish Premiership. Lech Poznan are 5.1 for the win or there's 1.68 for Rangers to sign off with a victory. The draw is 4.3.
Rangers have been involved in some thrilling Europa League games again this season, but this is unlikely to be another high scoring affair. Under 2.5 goals makes sense at odds of 2.46 or you can chance over 2.5 goals at 1.58.
Celtic vs Lille
Live on BT Sport
It has been a European campaign to forget for Celtic fans who watched in dismay as the Hoops were dumped out of the Champions League in the qualifying rounds before finishing bottom of Group H. The home team have yet to win a game, drawing one and losing four, scoring seven goals and conceding an astonishing 17. No wonder many supporters are calling for the head of Lennon.
Their poor European form has carried into the Premiership and Celtic trail leaders Rangers in the title race on what is the most important season in this history. They started 2020/21 as favourites for 10 in-a-row and another treble but have managed just one win in 12 games in all competitions. Celtic rescued a point at home to St Johnstone on Sunday after falling behind.
Lille on an unbeaten run
Lille head to Glasgow sitting top of the table on 11 points knowing they are within touching distance of qualifying as group winners. The French Ligue 1 side have won three and drawn two, scored a dozen goals and conceded only five. They are in fine form, but Lille were the side Celtic got their draw against earlier in the competition.
The visitors beat Sparta Prague 2-1 in France when last on Europa League action and followed that with an impressive 2-1 league win over Monaco on Sunday. Lille are unbeaten in all competitions since 8 November ensuring confidence will be sky high in the away dressing room on Thursday.
Visitors need the points
Celtic may be the home team in desperate need of a win to ease the pressure, but Lille are the form side and need three points to secure top spot. The hosts will finish bottom regardless of the outcome of this match. It's a case of bottom versus top here and Lille should live up to expectations. The Exchange has Lille at 2.28 to win with Celtic 3.2 and the draw 3.7.
Both teams have scored in each of Lille's last four games while that's also been the case in Celtic's two outings this month. Over 2.5 goals in this fixture should give bettors an interest at 1.62 or there's under 2.5 goals at 2.38.
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