English sides to shine in the Europa League?
Spurs got off to a flyer in the Europa League a fortnight ago when brushing aside Norwegian outfit Tromso and it will be a surprise if they can’t build on that perfect start at Anzhi Makhachkala tomorrow night.
Andre Villas-Boas’s team is 4/9 with Coral and that’s by no means an unattractive price, considering the good form they are showing in the Premier League combined with the dreadful start made by Anzhi in the Russian top division.
Not too long ago Anzhi, owned by a billionaire, managed by Guus Hiddink and including players of the calibre of Samuel Eto’o and Willian, were reckoned to be one of the emerging powerhouses of European football.
But it has all gone financially pear-shaped and they now greet their visitors from north London languishing at the bottom of their league without a win from 11 games.
They have developed a habit of drawing at home this season, but Spurs will surely provide much stiffer opposition than they have been facing and this could turn out to be just as comfortable for the away side as it was against Tromso at White Hart Lane.
Jermain Defoe scored twice then and looks good to add his tally tomorrow – Coral go 4/1 he scores first or last and evens at any time.
Anzhi still have a few decent players left on their books, but perhaps their best, striker Lacina Traore, is out with a shoulder injury to make an already tough assignment for the home team even harder.
It should also be fairly straightforward for Swansea (2/5), who entertain St Gallen, although the Swiss side are unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competitions and can be said to be on a roll (pun intended).
Swansea were clipped from 40/1 to 16/1 by Coral for the Europa League Cup outright after their sensational 3-0 win in Valencia a fortnight ago and they have what it takes to go far in the competition.
The St Gallen defence will find Michu and company a much tougher proposition than the strikers they are used to dealing with and will do well to hold out at the Liberty Stadium. A 2-0 scoreline (7/1) makes some appeal.
Wigan (4/7) did well to hold Zulte Waregem to a goalless draw on matchday one and now have a very winnable home tie against Maribor. Owen Coyle’s boys have made an inauspicious start to life in the Championship, but they have games in hand and things aren’t quite so bad as they look.
Even so, Slovenian league leaders Maribor (5/1), although no great shakes, do have a bit of experience in European competition at this level and may just have too much nous for the home team.
Written by Jon Freeman