Europa League qualifying is coming to the boil nicely as we hit late July, with the Premier League contingent in the continent’s consolation competition doubled ahead of the third preliminary round.
We’ve cobbled together a pro-British Europa League treble that will pay out at almost 10/1, all going well:
Southampton v Vitesse – Both teams to score @ 5/4
Even Saints captain Jose Fonte has talked of the need for centre-half reinforcement on the south coast, after last season’s loanee Toby Alderweireld toddled off to Tottenham and with Florin Gardos out for up to seven months with a knee injury.
Throw in right-back Nathaniel Clyne leaving for Liverpool and Southampton clearly have issues at the back, with new full-back signings Cuco Martino and Cedric Soares pretty much unknown quantities in England.
Against a Vitesse side replete with loaned Chelsea youngsters, including new £4.5m Stamford Bridge signing Nathan in attack, Ronald Koeman’s men seem vulnerable.
They struck in each of their last five home games of the 2014/15 campaign, but a concession looks on the card.
West Ham to beat Astra Giurgiu @ 1/2
Slaven Bilic’s new side may have stank the place out during their 1-0 loss to Birkirkara in Malta, after only edging Andorran nobodies Lusitanos 1-0 on the road, but there’s little reason to believe West Ham will do anything but beat Romania’s fourth-best side at the Boleyn Ground.
Lyon, Red Bull Salzburg and Celtic all took care of Astra at home in the Europa League group stage last term, with the first two both winning 5-1.
The Irons have won both of their home games so far this term. Expect them to make it three from three.
Aberdeen to beat Kairat Almaty @ 5/2
The Scottish Premiership runners-up have displayed some pretty sharp away form in this competition so far, drawing 1-1 with Macedonian side Shkendija, which saw them through after a 0-0 in the return at Pittodrie, before thrashing Croatian outfit Rijeka 3-0 on the road.
Against Kazakhstan crowd Kairat, Derek McInnes’ Dons look rare value.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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