Europa League Preview: Spurs and Stoke to make solid starts
All four English Europa League sides are in action this evening, but that’s where the similarities finish.
Here’s what we think is going to happen…
PAOK v Tottenham Hotspur (6pm)
Rafael van der Vaart may be unhappy about his exclusion from Spurs’ initial Europa League squad, but you get the impression Harry Redknapp would happily join the Dutchman for an evening off.
Despite Redknapp’s barely concealed contempt for the competition, Spurs should get off to a decent start against a side who have had to come through two qualifying rounds to make it this far.
Spurs showed last season they have European pedigree with a brilliant win against AC Milan at the San Siro and they should have enough to beat a PAOK side who lost their last game.
Back Spurs at 5/4 to pick up all three points.
Dynamo Kiev v Stoke City (6pm)
Tony Pulis’s side face a tough trip to Eastern Europe but, if any side is equipped to get a result, then it’s Stoke.
The Potters have enjoyed a brilliant start to their Premier League campaign and head into this game on the back of a 1-0 victory against previously undefeated Liverpool.
Kiev may have won all of their previous seven games, but backing Stoke to pick up a hard-earned point looks well worth a punt at 5/2.
Fulham v Twente (8.05)
Fulham may have started the Premier League rather disappointingly with two draws and two defeats, but their European record remains absolutely brilliant.
Fulham are undefeated in 20 European games at Craven Cottage and have won all their previous nine matches there.
Back Fulham to beat Twente – who have lost their previous two away games – at 1/1.
Birmingham City v Braga (8.05)
Last season’s losing Europa League finalists face off against a Championship side and are somehow outsiders at 7/4.
That 1-0 loss against Porto in May was their last competitive defeat and they should see off Birmingham in this clash.