Key storylines in Thursday’s Europa League games
Featuring AC Milan, Everton and Ostersunds
This season’s Europa League group stage finishes on Thursday. But there’s still plenty to be sorted out before then.
Before the final round of fixtures gets underway, the Coral News Team have taken a look at some of the key talking points…
The Battle for Top Spot
Atletico Madrid were one of the teams that dropped into the Europa League on Tuesday night. They could be joined by the likes of Napoli and Borussia Dortmund.
Those three teams would be amongst the best in the competition. No one will want to draw them in the knockout stages. Dortmund would almost certainly be unseeded after picking up only two points. But finishing top of the group could allow clubs to avoid Atletico or Napoli in the next round.
Top spot is still up for grabs in seven of the 12 groups. It could make a huge difference.
Can Gattuso start to turn things around at AC Milan?
Gennaro Gattuso’s first game in charge of AC Milan turned into a nightmare. The Serie A giants were 2-1 up going into injury time against bottom-of-the-league Benevento.
Benevento hadn’t even won a point in the league so far this season. But their goalkeeper headed in a 95th-minute equaliser to seal a 2-2 draw. It was a terrible start to the Milan legend’s tenure at the San Siro.
Unlike in domestic action, Milan have done well in Europe this term. They’ve already sealed top spot in Group D. But Gattuso will be desperate to get a first win on the board at 6/5 away to Rijeka.
Will Everton’s makeshift side restore some pride?
Everton’s European adventure has been a disaster. They’re bottom of Group E with just one point from five games.
New boss Sam Allardyce won’t even travel for their final group game against Apollon Limassol. He’s staying behind to prepare for this weekend’s derby against Liverpool.
First-team coach Craig Shakespeare will take charge of an inexperienced side in Cyprus. The Toffees are 21/10 underdogs but a win could help to restore some positivity around the club.
Will Ostersunds’ fairy tale continue?
Six years ago, Ostersunds FK were in the Swedish fourth-division. Now they’ve become the first Swedish side in a decade to reach the knockout stages of a major European competition under Graham Potter .
They could even finish ahead of Athletic Bilbao as Group J winners. To do that, they’ll need to equal or better Athletic’s result on Thursday.
Ostersunds are 23/10 to beat Hertha Berlin.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing