Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The Last 16 of the 2018/19 Europa League kicks off this week with all 8 of the round’s first leg fixtures scheduled to be played at stadiums across the continent on Thursday.
As always, FST have got their finger firmly on the pulse and we’ve compiled a selection of games from this week’s UEL fixture list that look ripe for plundering in the bookmakers’ Both Teams to Score markets.
Take a look at our selections below:
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Inter Milan
Eintracht Frankfurt put their 9-match unbeaten run to the test against Inter Milan on Thursday, in the teams’ Europa League Last 16 first leg clash at the Commerzbank-Arena.
Alongside their recent positive sequence, Die Adler have been in terrific form at home since September last year, losing just 2 of their last 15 matches in all competitions on their own patch.
In terms of their BTTS statistics, the numbers look just as promising. In the Bundesliga, both teams scored in a massive 83% of Frankfurt’s home games this term, and more recently, both teams hit the net in 4 of the German’s last 5 Europa League contests.
Similarly, both teams got on the scoresheet in 3 of Die Adler’s opponents this week, Inter Milan’s last 4 fixtures. Frankfurt have kept only 2 clean sheets in 8 attempts in the Europa League this season, though the Germans have scored in 100% of their games at the other end.
In total, both teams scored in 75% of Eintracht Frankfurt’s 8 UEL games to date in 2018/19, and we expect that figure to be enhanced further this week.
Dinamo Zagreb vs Benfica
Dinamo Zagreb lock horns with Benfica in the Croatian capital on Thursday in one of the most fascinating looking fixtures from the Europa League schedule this week.
Dinamo have been exceptionally consistent when playing in the familiar surroundings of the Stadion Maksimir this season, winning 20, drawing 4 and losing just 1 of their 25 matches there since the summer.
Remarkably, Zagreb’s 0-0 draw with Anderlecht in the Europa League Group Stage before Christmas was the only time they failed to score at home this season so far.
The blank they secured that evening was 1 of only 5 clean sheets earned by the Croatians in 21 Europa League and Champions League home games since 2015 however.
Zagreb’s opponents this week, Benfica, have scored at least once in 26 of their last 28 games in all competitions, though they have conceded in 100% of their continental away fixtures this term.
It’s also worth noting that both teams found a successful route to goal in 64% of Benfica’s matches in both the Champions League and Europa League this season.
Sevilla vs Slavia Prague
Europa League specialists Sevilla come into their Last 16 clash with Czech outfit Slavia Prague as clear favourites to win their first leg on Thursday and favourites to progress from the double-header overall.
The La Liga side are a notoriously tough nut to crack at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium and Sevilla have won 17 of their last 18 Europa League fixtures on home soil since 2014.
More recently however, Sevilla have had real problems in defence and Head Coach Pablo Machín has watched his team keep their opponents out just 4 times in Sevilla’s last 16 games.
Sevilla’s defensive frailty should open the door for Slavia Prague to nip in and grab a goal on Thursday, even if it does ultimately prove to be a consolation strike.
The Czech team are a side that are used to finding the net. Slavia have scored in 78% of their last 18 games overall, and in 5 of their last 7 Europa League away games, including a brace when they last played in Spain against Villarreal in 2017.
Rennes vs Arsenal
In a Europa League Last 16 contest that has the look of a potential upset, Ligue 1 side Rennes do battle with an Arsenal side that routinely struggles away from their home at the Emirates.
Les Rouges et Noirs are unbeaten in their last 12 games Roazhon Park, and Rennes have lost only twice in 9 matches home and away overall.
It’s interesting to note however, that Rennes kept their antagonists off the scoresheet in only 3 of those 9 games, and in the Europa League this season, the French side have kept just 2 clean sheets in 8 matches in total.
At the other end of the pitch, Rennes have been equal parts formidable and consistent, scoring in 88% of their continental contests in 2018/19.
Arsenal’s only clean sheet in their last 10 games on the road came in a routine FA Cup win at lower league Blackpool in January. The Gunners have a reputation for leaking goals away from home, though they rarely have any trouble registering themselves at the other end.
Unai Emery’s men have scored in 17 of their 19 or 89% of their away games in all competitions this term, and both teams scored in 13 of those matches.
A 4-fold accumulator featuring our Both Teams to Score selections above pays out at 10/1 with bet365! Click the banner below to bet now and good luck!!
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