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Europa League Playoffs 1st Leg – 16th February

Thursday night sees the return of the Europa League this week, with the eight second placed teams from the group stage of the competition playing a playoff game against the eight third placed teams from the group stages of the Champions League.

The winners of these games will then go on to be drawn against one of the eight group winners from earlier this season who are already qualified for the Round of 16.

The introduction of the Champions League teams gives this competition a real injection of quality with the likes of Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon, Ajax, Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen all joining the competition at this stage.

Over the years, the Europa League has been pretty kind to us with our acca tips, more so at the knockout stage of the tournament, so I am hoping that it can prove to be a fruitful ground for me to work into a decent profit this year too.

There is no doubt what the biggest game of the week is, as Barcelona host Manchester United in what is a true clash of the giants; a fixture that has been a Champions League final twice in the past, as well as a Cup Winners Cup Final back in the late 1980s and 1990s.

We have put together this fourfold bet for you which I think has a great chance of landing us a winner this week.

Europa League Acca – 16th February

    • 5:45
    • Ajax v Union Berlin Draw
    • 5:45
    • Barcelona v Man Utd Home Win
    • 8:00
    • Sevilla v PSV Eindhoven Home Win
    • 8:00
    • Shakhtar Donetsk v Rennes Home Win
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Bet Analysis: Thursday 16th February

Ajax v Union Berlin – Draw

Two teams that have excellent records in their last few games meet in what should be an intriguing match up. Ajax of course are well known across Europe for the talented youngster the team continues to produce with Mohammed Kudus the latest in a long line of top stars attracting the interest of the wealthier clubs in Europe. However, despite their lack of experience at this level, Union Berlin have won all their last five games and are sitting second in the Bundesliga just a point behind Bayern Munich at the top of the table. That means that they are a very good side and as such, I think they are more than capable of getting something from this game in the Netherlands, hence I am going to go for the draw in this one.

Barcelona v Manchester United – Home Win

There’s no doubt that this is the draw that both teams would have most wanted to avoid in the Playoffs, so it is somewhat unkind that fate has deemed a fixture worthy of the final will be an eliminator for the Round of 16. Both teams are in great form at the moment with Barcelona winning all five of their last five and United winning four and drawing one of their last five too. Both teams have squads packed with talent and while Barcelona are top of La Liga, Manchester United moved into second place this weekend in the EPL too although they were then usurped by Man City. This will be another very close game I am sure, but I am going for a narrow Barcelona win here.

Sevilla v PSV Eindhoven – Home Win

After selling Cody Gakpo to Liverpool in the winter transfer window, I did wonder if that would affect PSV in Europe and this will certainly be an acid test of that against a Sevilla side that have not been as good as they have been in past years. However, any Spanish team at home in Europe is going to be a real test for the opposition and I think PSV are going to find that here. Sevilla have some good players, Rakitic, En Nesyri, Bounou, Telles and Erik Lamela are just some of the players at the club right now and I think man for man, they are a much stronger squad than the Dutch side. I can’t see Sevilla winning by a big margin but they should land the win anyway.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Rennes – Home Win

With Mudryk, their star man, moving on to Chelsea in the winter transfer window, it is going to be interesting to see how Donetsk cope without their talismanic star man. The good news is that they are facing a Rennes side that have a dismal away record this season, especially domestically, and who come into this game on the back of another defeat at the weekend to Toulouse. I can see Donetsk being more reliant on the goals of Zubkov with Mudryk now gone but the talented striker has scored plenty of goals at this level in the past and I am backing him to be their main attacking thrust here and to lead the team to a first leg victory.

Dean Wyatt

Author: Dean Wyatt

Dean Wyatt is the founder and editor here at Acca Nation. He’s been betting sports for over 20 years and is a profitable sports trader on the exchanges.

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