It’s Thursday and the Champions League fanfare has been and gone which can only mean one thing: Europa League time!
We’ve reached the quarter-final stage of this year’s competition with teams from Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, France, Holland and Italy in the mix going into the first leg.
And we’ve gone for a fantastic fourfold featuring wins for Juventus, Benfica, Basel and Porto, available at odds of just over 16/1 which brings a tidy return of £172.20 for anyone staking £10 on these selections with Ladbrokes.
Despite defeat to Porto in the cup, Benfica remain in great shape domestically, having gone 24 games unbeaten in the Portuguese top flight going into this trip to the Netherlands.
AZ, by contrast, appear to have hit a brick wall, winning just one in five and failing to score in three of their previous four going into this game. With Benfica faring well away from home, having won three of their five continental contests played on the road this season, an away win is in the offing.
The Swiss side sprung a surprise in the last round by deposing tournament dark horses Red Bull Salzburg with an impressive 2-1 in Austria and we fancy Hakan Yakin’s boys to do the business again against a fragile Valencia.
Los Che got lucky in the last round after drawing Ludogorets and though they progressed easily, their form in the weeks that followed has dipped. One win in three La Liga games tells its own story and Basel – who beat Chelsea home and away in the Champions League – look good for a home win.
The tournament favourites will be determined to reach the final in Turin after advancing past a strong Fiorentina side in the last round and a trip to meet a Lyon team fresh from defeat to St Etienne in Ligue 1 looks like the ideal tie for thesoon-to-be crowned Serie A champions.
Juve have won five of their last six away fixtures in all competitions, keeping clean sheets on each occasion and with the French side suffering defeat in three of their last four competitive contests, it could be the Old Lady’s night again.
Porto upset the odds in the last round to knockout Napoli and with returning star Ricardo Quaresma returning to something approaching his best form the Portuguese side will fancy their chances of success at home against stuttering Sevilla.
The Andalusians made hard work of bottom-of-La-Liga cross-town rivals Real Betis in the last round, advancing via a penalty shootout and they could struggle against a Porto side on a run of four straight wins at home going into this encounter.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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