2018-19 Europa League: Matchday Three

This week’s Europa League sees some huge clashes as the knockout contenders start to become clear in each group, as Arsenal, Celtic, Chelsea and Rangers aim to continue their title bids.

Group B (5:55pm)

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Red Bull Salzburg vs Rosenborg

RB Leipzig vs Celtic

Red Bull Salzburg should beat Rosenborg if can continue their improved form over the past season, making RB Leipzig vs Celtic a real six pointer. 

Celtic have been sluggish this season in all competitions but their 4-2 win over Hibernian surely is bound to of reignited their spirit for what will be a tough fixture. 

Leipzig are currently unbeaten in six matches across domestic and European football but have played various systems, so the Hoops need to be alert because it wouldn’t be a surprise if they try and switch formation during the match.

Many feel that this is a fight for second but if both can beat Salzburg in return legs then we could have an exciting climax to this group in December. I can therefore see a draw coming here if Celtic can defend well or score more than once. 

Predictions: 

Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 Rosenborg

RB Leipzig 2-2 Celtic

 

Results:

Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Rosenborg

RB Leipzig 2-0 Celtic

 

Group E (5:55pm)

Qarabag vs Vorskla Poltava

Sporting Lisbon vs Arsenal

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After pretty much breezing through their group last season and again this year. Arsenal are probably about to face their first big test as they visit Sporting Lisbon. 

Arsenal are currently unbeaten in all competitions since end of August so will be favourites here, despite never winning away to a Portuguese club.

Sporting however have won their last three Europa League matches for first time since October 2011, which will give them belief here.

Given the gap to Qarabag and Vorskla Poltava, I can see a draw coming here because ultimately both teams will qualify, but the next two games could decide who win the group. 

Qarabag definitely have a tough task against Vorskla Poltava because the Ukrainian side are quite a good solid side, despite having faced Arsenal and Sporting in their opening two matches. 

Ultimately, I can see Poltava winning here if their attack is just as good as it was in their opening two matches. 

Predictions: 

Sporting Lisbon 1-1 Arsenal

Qarabag 0-2 Vorskla Poltava

 

Results:

Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Arsenal 

Qarabag 0-1 Vorskla Poltava

 

Group G (8:00pm)

Rangers vs Spartak Moscow

Villarreal vs Rapid Wien

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Rangers’ biggest issue so far has been the fact that they fell behind in both of their opening matches. Although they showed brilliant spirit in fighting back to collect four points from those two matches, now is the time to correct that issue by getting ahead then staying ahead against a Spartak Moscow side who are under new management. 

I am therefore going to go for a Rangers win if can keep on building momentum. 

Over in Spain, Villarreal have drawn both of their opening games despite going ahead through four of their five goals. That is quite worrying for a strong side capable of more and their home form is pitful with just three draws from six matches in all competitions. 

I therefore can see a draw coming here unless Villarreal can get themselves sorted out. 

Predictions: 

Rangers 2-1 Spartak Moscow

Villarreal 1-1 Rapid Wien

 

Results: 

Rangers 0-0 Spartak Moscow

Villarreal 5-0 Rapid Wien

 

Group L (8:00pm)

Chelsea vs BATE Borisov

PAOK vs MOL Vidi

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Chelsea should easily breeze past BATE Borisov in my opinion because with the likes of Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante in their squad, its hard to see them losing never mind drawing this match. 

Saying that, MOL Vidi gave the Blues a good fight last time out with a 1-0 loss but this time the gap will be much bigger. 

Over in Greece, this could be a draw because both teams have shown some strong potential in their opening matches and are realistically not going to qualify anyway for knockouts.

Predictions:

Chelsea 2-0 BATE Borisov

PAOK 1-1 MOL Vidi 

 

Results:

Chelsea 3-1 BATE Borisov

PAOK 0-2 MOL Vidi

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