Europa League Betting: No scares for Red Devils

After securing a healthy profit from last week's Europa League matches, Kevin Hatchard's back with four more selections.

Hosts can qualify in style

Manchester United v Real Sociedad
Thursday 25 February, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 2

Manchester United are effectively through to the last 16 already after a 4-0 first-leg win, but although there will be youngsters like Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire in the squad, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer isn't expected to take too many liberties when it comes to team selection. There may well be rests for players who need them, especially the talismanic Bruno Fernandes, but Solskjaer will be keen to see his side extend their winning streak.

Real Sociedad have a big game coming up at Real Madrid next, and with the cause seemingly lost, it remains to be seen whether La Real will select their best XI. However, their 4-0 win over Alaves at the weekend, a game that featured an Alexander Isak hat-trick, is a sign of what they can do.

I expect United to avoid defeat in a lively game. I'll back United/Draw Double Chance and Over 2.5 Goals at 2.27 on the Sportsbook's Same Game Multi.


Brilliant Barnes set to strike

Leicester City v Slavia Prague
Thursday 25 February, 20:00
Live on BT Sport ESPN

These are heady days indeed for Leicester City. The Foxes are on course to qualify for the Champions League, they are through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and a victory against Czech league leaders Slavia Prague would secure progress in Europe.

The first leg was a much tighter affair than expected, with Slavia paying the Foxes a huge amount of respect in a goalless draw. Leicester will hope they can open things up at the King Power, and Harvey Barnes could be the man to do that. His form has sparked talk of an England call-up, and Slavia had to work incredibly hard to contain him last week. Barnes has found the net in three of his last six games, and at 3.0, I think he's a great bet to score here.

Don't count out Lille

Ajax v Lille
Thursday 25 February, 17:55
Live on BT Sport Digital

Lille maintained their lead at the top of Ligue 1 this weekend, as they powered to a 4-1 win at Lorient. Christophe Galtier's men are three points ahead of Lyon, and four ahead of PSG, and perhaps Les Dogues are starting to believe that a miraculous title win is possible. Although you'd think a deep run in the Europa League would be detrimental to those ambitions, the first-leg selection suggest Galtier isn't giving up on European glory.

Lille have won their last eight away games in all competitions, and it was only a late collapse that saw them go from 1-0 up against Ajax to 2-1 down. If you look at the French side's away games in the group stage, they won 4-1 at Sparta Prague, 3-0 at Milan, and their defeat at Celtic was immaterial.

Ajax are once again dominating the Eredivisie, but they only won two of their six games in the Champions League, and they lost their Matchday Six decider at home to Atalanta. Ryan Gravenberch's return from suspension is a boost, but goalkeeper Andre Onana is still sidelined after failing a doping test.

Lille can - and I suspect will - name a strong side, and have shown they can perform consistently on the road. I'll lay the hosts at 1.98.

Milan to book last-16 spot

Milan v Crvena Zvezda
Thursday 25 February, 20:00
Live on BT Sport Digital

Milan's humbling 3-0 thrashing at the hands of city rivals Inter saw them lose the initiative in the race for the Scudetto, and the same club knocked them out of the Coppa Italia at the quarter-final stage. The Europa League remains a viable route to glory for a squad that has generally performed at a high level, despite recent results.

The Rossoneri were careless in last week's first leg, twice losing the lead in a 2-2 draw. By the time the Serbian league leaders scored the second leveller, the hosts had been reduced to ten men. However, Crvena Zvezda are poor travellers at this level - they only won one of their three away games in the group stage, and in last season's Champions League they lost at Bayern, Tottenham and Olympiakos without scoring a single goal.

Milan will deploy plenty of firepower, with the likes of Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic in line for starts, and even though Brahim Diaz and Ismael Bennacer are injured, coach Stefano Pioli should be able to select a side to get the job done. I'll back the hosts -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.24.

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