The UEFA Europa League knockout stages are in full swing this week. Let’s look at some of the most interesting clashes to look out for.
Sevilla v West Ham
Sevilla welcomes West Ham at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Thursday night in the anticipated Europa League knockout match. The home side is flying high as they sit in the second position on the Spanish La Liga standings and they hope to maintain the good run of form at home. The record six-time Europa League champions have a better understanding of the competition and target to go all the way once again. In the end, they would hope to put their disappointing draw against Alaves over the weekend behind them.
Meanwhile, West Ham set to seek a victory against a Spanish side which is something that has only happened once away from home. The Hammers are experiencing a rough patch that has seen them win only one match in the last five matches.
Sevilla will bank on home ground advantage and are tipped to claim a comfortable victory.
Barcelona v Galatasaray
Barcelona has faced Galatasaray on eight occasions in European matches winning five times, drawing two matches, and losing once. These two teams last met 20 years ago, in the UEFA Champions League group stage match in which Barcelona came victorious by 3-1 scoreline. Catalans have lost two matches in 35 outings at home winning 25 games while drawing eight times.
Galatasaray have never won a match at Camp Nou with the best result being a 2-2 draw during the 2001-02 Uefa Champions League group stages match. The Turkish giants have a bad record against Spanish opposition especially away from home with one victory in 16 attempts – which date back to 1999-00 Uefa Cup against Mallorca. Galatasaray is unbeaten in the last 10 matches( 5 wins and 5 draws ) in the European competitions including qualifying rounds which is the longest run since 2009.
Barcelona is in very good form with four wins in five matches and is expected to continue their good record against the opponents.
Atalanta v Bayer Leverkusen
This is the first time Atalanta will face off Bayer Leverkusen in the European competition on Thursday night at the Atleti Azzurri D’Italia. Atalanta has only won once against German oppositions in four attempts with the victory coming against Koln back in the UEFA Cup round of 16 in the 1900/91 season. The home side has only lost three times in 20 UEFA Europa League matches and has never suffered a loss at home in 10 matches.
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen has a terrible away record against Italian clubs winning only one match in 10 attempts. That victory came against Udinese in the same competition back in November 1999. The Die Werkself will head to the encounter motivated after playing to a 1-1 draw against German Champions Bayern Munich over the weekend. They are currently on a good run of form with three wins, one draw, and one defeat in the last five matches.
Atalanta has been a good scoring side with 9 goals in the last five matches in all competitions so expect over 1.5 goals from them. If you are brave enough, tip away side to score in Italy.
Porto v Lyon
Porto is set to welcome Lyon in the epic UEFA Europa League match at the Estadio Do Dragao on Thursday for the spot in the Quarter-finals. Both sides have met four times in the continental showpiece with Porto having three wins plus one draw in the clash. The last time they faced each other was in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals which Porto went on the way to win the trophy. Porto has won the first leg of five of their seven Europa League knockout matches when playing at home, drawing one and losing one.
Lyon has failed to score in the previous away matches against Porto conceding five goals themselves. Lyohasve won all three of their away matches in the Europa League this season, they haven’t won more consecutively away from home in European competition since December 1986.
Expect Porto to use the home ground advantage and secure an easy victory.
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