Home Sports Football Europa League United to edge out Anderlecht while Ajax could punish Schalke
United to edge out Anderlecht while Ajax could punish Schalke

United to edge out Anderlecht while Ajax could punish Schalke


The Europa League returns on Thursday with the first leg of the quarter-finals taking place as all eight remaining sides eye a spot in the final in Solna on May 24.

Manchester United are the 7/5 favourites to lift the trophy but face a potential banana skin against Belgian side Anderlecht.

The 1983 winners currently top the Jupiler Pro League and in Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker, have two of Europe’s most exciting youngsters. They are 59/20 for victory on Thursday, while the likely caginess of this game means the draw at 49/20 is also interesting.

However, on paper, United should have enough at 20/21 but the goal markets could be interesting in this one, with Lukasz Teodorczyk and Zlatan Ibrahimovic the two highest remaining scorers in the competition having netted five apiece. Teodorczyk is 2/1 to score at anytime, with Ibra 11/4 to open the scoring.

Tournament second favourites Lyon (14/5) are in action against Besiktas. Les Gones are 4/7 to win on the night but surprisingly lost 4-1 to Lorient at the weekend.

The Turkish champions are 9/2 for victory but have never won in France and will be hoping to keep things tight due to their fine record at home. Vincent Aboubakar’s suspension will hurt their chances and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette (5/2 to score first) will be looking to take advantage.

Ajax’s clash with Schalke also promises fireworks and the Dutch side will be desperate to make the most of Die Konigsblauen’s issues on the road. The expected return to fitness of Kasper Dolberg should also boost Ajax’s chances and he is 13/10 to score at anytime.

A home win is 31/20 and looks a good price when Schalke’s poor away form is taken into account, especially with the home side being unbeaten in their last 11 European encounters at home.

Markus Weinzierl’s men are 37/20, while a fourth straight European draw for the Germans is 9/4. Ajax are in excellent form though and look good to continue their home run on Thursday.

Last but not least, Celta Vigo take on Genk at the Balaidos. The Galicians are seen as dark horses for the competition at 13/2 and are 5/9 to win on Thursday.

Genk are 5/1 but despite losing their last two, Celta should have enough to grab a first leg lead in what should be an entertaining game, with a home win and both to score 9/4.

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Jack Ogalbe Jack has been a sports betting writer for over a decade and has an excellent strike rate with his suggestions. A semi-professional footballer, runner and cyclist, his sports knowledge is second to none and he knows all the stats and facts you need when considering a punt.