UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE – Knockout phase (32 teams) Preview & Picks (Wednesday 2/22/2017)
1) Fenerbahce SK vs FK Krasnodar @ Sukru Saracoglu Stadium (Wednesday 2/22):
Fenerbahce have won 67% of their home games in all competitions this season. They have to win to access next turn of UEL.
A 4th minute goal from Swedish midfielder Viktor Claesson was the only goal of the game in the first leg of this tie back in Russia, and that 1-0 win for Krasnodar could very well decide this clash. All they need to do now is score an away goal and Fenerbahce would require three at the other end to turn the tie around.
I think it will be very difficult because it is very difficult to play on the road against Fenerbahce. I’ll take Fenerbahce to win here.
Pick: Fenerbahce to win, 1
2) Schalke 04 vs PAOK @ Veltins-Arena (Wednesday 2/22):
The first leg of this tie couldn’t have gone much worse for PAOK. The visiting Schalke side dominated possession and held a 1-0 lead for the majority of the match, which in itself wouldn’t have been too much of a disaster for PAOK. However, two goals in the final eight minutes of play put Schalke 3-0 up and with the home leg still to come, effectively ending the tie at half-time.
You have to consider that Schalke have won two and drawn one of their three previous meetings with PAOK and they won 100% of their Europa League group games by at least a two goal margin and have won 62% of their last 13 home matches in all competitions by two or more goals.
For this reason I like to bet about the total number of goals that will be scored.
Pick: total goal scored OVER 2,5
3) St Etienne vs Manchester United @ Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (Wednesday 2/22):
Last Thursday’s first leg of this tie between Manchester United and St Etienne started off brightly, as the visiting Ligue 1 side took the game to their hosts and put them under some early pressure. Unfortunately for them it didn’t work out too well though as their nemesis Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a hat-trick, to resign them to a 3-0 defeat.
Even if they are already qualified to the next turn, I think Manchester United are too much and they will not lose.
Pick: Manchester United will not lose, x2
Regards from Italy ??