Zürich vs Bodø/Glimt
However, despite sitting at the bottom of Group A with zero points, Zurich head into this contest with the opportunity to get back into contention for third spot. These two teams were similarly matched in the reverse fixture and we expect more of the same on Thursday. Nevertheless, there is every chance that the same result may still occur, ending Zurich’s faint hopes of Europa Conference League football after Christmas.
PSV Eindhoven vs Arsenal
Arsenal need just a point to seal a first-placed finish in Europa League Group A with a game to spare, Arsenal face PSV Eindhoven today. The Gunners hold a five-point lead over their second-placed Dutch counterparts, who could be left to battle for second place without a satisfactory result here. A place in the knockout round playoffs should now be the goal for PSV Eindhoven, who could guarantee a second-placed finish with a point if the scoreline in Bodo/Glimt’s clash with Zurich goes their way,
Given the Gunner’s repeated failures to translate their dominance into goals in recent weeks, we are struggling to back an altered Arsenal side to claim all three points here, but Arteta’s men should hang on for the draw they need to seal their spot in the last 16.
Omonia Nicosia vs Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad will look to make it five wins from five in the UEFA Europa League when they take on Omonia Nicosia at the Tsirion Athlítiko Kentro Stadium. The La Liga outfit have secured their place in the knockout but need to keep producing wins to qualify directly for the Round of 16. Omonia are looking to get a point on the board before the conclusion of their campaign, but Sociedad have plenty of quality to beat the Cypriot club again.
Manchester United vs Sheriff Tiraspol
Manchester United will endeavour to claim at least the point they need to make it into the knockout rounds of the Europa League when they tackle Sheriff Tiraspol in Group E on Thursday night. The Red Devils sit three points behind the perfect Real Sociedad in second place, while the Moldovan visitors to Old Trafford are third in the group having claimed just one win so far. The Red Devils enter Thursday’s game having gone unbeaten in their last six games in all tournaments. Manchester United should have no trouble inflicting similar punishment on a managerless Sheriff.
SC Freiburg vs Olympiakos
Freiburg will seal top spot in Group G of the Europa League if they can beat Olympiacos on Thursday. The visitors, meanwhile, have already been eliminated from the competition, but they can still claim third place and a spot in the Europa Conference League as a result. We expect Freiburg to have too much quality for Olympiacos, who are hamstrung by several absences due to injury and squad registration rules. The hosts are aiming to maintain their 100% record in the Europa League and can seal top spot in Group G with a victory.
Nantes vs FK Qarabag
The French outfit have picked up just three points from their four games thus far and sit four points behind their opponents, who will guarantee a place at least in the Europa Conference League round of 16 if they avoid a defeat. Qarabag have certainly been the more impressive of the two sides in the group stage thus far, but we do not see them picking up all three points in France, instead opting for a low-scoring draw. The hosts are far from their best this season and we do not anticipate them having enough to better the Azerbaijani champions and keep the fight for second place alive.
SK Sturm Graz vs Feyenoord
The teams are currently tied on five points heading into their penultimate group-stage encounter which has all the makings of an absorbing affair.
Both teams are expected to be fully up for this one, so we are anticipating a keenly-contested and end to end affair. That said, we just about fancy the visitors to see off the threat of their hosts and emerge victorious in the end.
Lazio vs. FC Midtjylland
It is all still up for grabs in finely-poised Europa League Group F before the penultimate matchday, as Lazio and FC Midtjylland are two of four teams locked on five points before they meet on Thursday. The teams reconvene at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, following a shock 5-1 victory for the Danish side in last month’s reverse fixture, but the humbled Biancocelesti have been in brilliant form since: claiming four wins from five in Serie A. Due to the incredibly tight nature of Group F, nothing can be settled on its fifth matchday, so qualification for either the last 16 or playoff round will go down to the wire.
However, to put themselves in the most advantageous position possible – and glean a little revenge for their unexpected thrashing in Denmark – Lazio will be intent on continuing a six-match unbeaten run at home in the Europa League.