Four Eredivisie sides in Europa League playoff action this Thursday night and Total Dutch Football’s Will Burns, Lawk Raoof and Ryan O’Grady provide their best bets for all four encounters.
THURSDAY 28TH AUGUST
EUROPA LEAGUE PLAYOFF SECOND LEG
FC SHAKHTYOR SOLIGORSK vs. PSV (18:00 BST)
The return leg in the Borisov Arena in Belarus will be an interesting match. The prize is €2m or €3m for qualifying, big interest and big prizes for both the teams, who will prevail? Lawk Raoof thinks PSV will find life easy in Belarus.
With a marginal 1-0 home win for PSV in the first leg, this upcoming clash for a Europa League place is hardly settled. The Eindhoven side narrowly defeated a good organized Shaktyor Soligorsk and with the previous Eredivisie clash against arch enemy Ajax, it will be a tough fight to win this game for De Boeren. With the great prize money on the line, both teams will be eager to get through. The home advantage cannot be ignored, winning 5-1 against Derry City and a 5-2 victory against Zulte Waregem are great wins and shows the power and thrive this teams has got in their home ties.
However PSV take with them two players in real form, Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay will be the great weapons for this match. Also, with the one goal lead, PSV can relax and Shaktyor has to attack to force a goal. This leads to an opportunity for Philip Cocu’s side to profit from the room they will get and counter, which was proven to be deadly against Ajax on Sunday.
Place a small stake on 2-0 for a PSV win, as the counter attack combined with the individual class of Depay and Wijnaldum means they will easily win this match in Belarus.
FC TWENTE vs. QARABAĞ FK (18:30 BST)
Qarabag FK held FC Twente to 0-0 draw in Azerbaijan last week but Will Burns thinks Alfred Schreuder’s men should progress comfortably.
Qarabag showed last week that they had talents that could threaten Twente. The Brazilian contingent of Danilo Leandro Dias, Chumbinho, Richard Almeida and Reynaldo created problems from Darryl Lachman and Rasmus Bengtsson. However, Schreuder can boast talents like Hakim Ziyech, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Youness Mokhtar, Kasper Kusk and Luc Castaignos, the Enschede side are too strong to see a decent victory come full-time.
Except the home side to come out of this match with a two or three goal win to progress into the Europa League group stages in style.
FEYENOORD vs. ZOYRA LUHANSK (19:00 BST)
After an awful display at the weekend, Fred Rutten’s Feyenoord will look to bounce back on Thursday and send themselves through to the Europa League group stages, Ryan O’Grady believes they can.
A potentially season-changing game awaits Feyenoord on Thursday night. An uneventful and rather dull first leg ended in 1-1 draw which means that if the second leg ends 0-0, which is a possibility consider the performances in the first leg, it will see Feyenoord progress into the group stages.
However if Zorya were able to spring an upset and Feyenoord were knocked out then it is almost certain that Jordy Clasie will leave, if it is has not already (he missed training on Monday adding more fuel to the fire). Such a top quality player isn’t likely to stay with the club if there is no European competition and it could also affect whom the club bring in as no Europa League means less money with which Fred Rutten and the board will able to play with, which is likely to completely rule out the signing of a striker such as Guidetti, a signing that already didn’t look promising.
A much improved performance is needed for Fred Rutten’s side after a disappointing defeat at home to FC Utrecht at the weekend, whilst Zorya are coming off the back of a 0-0 draw away to Chernomorets.
SPARTA PRAGUE vs. PEC ZWOLLE (19:20 BST)
Ron Jans’ PEC Zwolle are in the form team in the Netherlands right now, starting an undefeated season with wins over Vitesse and Ajax, however Will Burns thinks it may be tough in Prague on Thursday night.
Zwolle improved vastly in the second half on Sunday to clinch a great 2-1 win over Vitesse and were dreadfully unlucky not to grab a win last Thursday. After missing a penalty in the first leg, defender Maikel van der Werff scored a free-kick, albeit deflected, on Sunday in the home victory.
They travel to Prague to face Sparta who over the weekend lost a derby match against Dukla Prague by a goal to nil, which may inspire them to triumph in this match to appease the home fans. They currently sit fourth in the Czech top flight with nine points in five games.
This match could be a tight one, with Sparta defending their away goal or Zwolle will go forward in search to a vital away goal themselves. Either way, expect this game to finish a draw, either going to extra time (1-1) or a Zwolle away goals win (2-2).