THURSDAY EUROPA LEAGUE: Our football tipster The Ultra previews Thursday’s games between GALATASARAY v BARCELONA and WEST HAM v SEVILLA both with a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.


5.45pm It’s crunch time in the Europa League on Thursday as we have the second legs of the Last 16. We’re bound to have some big in-running drama on BETDAQ Betting Exchange given we have a few ties perfectly set up after the first leg. I’m happy to focus on two games tonight, and we start the even with Galatasaray hosting Barcelona. Galatasaray is always a tough place to go and get a result, and Barcelona will be kicking themselves that they arrive here after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. I was very disappointed with that result to be honest as I thought Barcelona would hammer them. They scored four goals in three of their four games prior to the first leg and the game that they didn’t score four, they created an xG of 4.53! After the 0-0 draw too, they won 4-0 against Osasuna at the weekend! You have to give credit to Galatasaray, they would have set out with the idea of getting a draw in the first leg and having a go at home and they achieved that. We have a very interest evening ahead here, and I have to say Barcelona feel a little short at 1.42.

These fixtures are sometimes hard to really get a grip of because there’s such a gulf in class between the sides and the leagues. I know Barcelona have really improved in recent weeks and Xavi is doing an excellent job with them, but they did create their lowest xG figure for a while against Galatasaray. That makes me feel like this will be a tough evening for Barcelona, and we all know the atmosphere is going to be fantastic here too. I’m happy to keep stakes small as Barcelona will likely get the job done, but from a value point of view I’, very happy to lay the away win at 1.42. Betting is all about getting the value not just backing the outcome you think will win, and I feel the odds are wrong here. I expect a much closer game than odds of 1.42 suggest on Barcelona, and a small lay is a good option.

The Ultra Says:
Two points lay (liability) Barcelona to beat Galatasaray at 1.42 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Galatasaray have only won one of their previous nine meetings with Barcelona across all competitions (D3 L5), with that lone victory coming in November 1994 in the UEFA Champions League (2-1). They are winless in the five such meetings since then, drawing two and losing three.
● This will be the fifth time Barcelona have faced Galatasaray away from home in European competition (W2 D1 L1), and first since a 2-0 win in September 2002; a game in which current manager Xavi started for the Catalan side.
● Barcelona have progressed from seven of their last eight ties in the UEFA Cup/Europa League Last 16, with their only elimination at this stage coming in 2003-04 (0-1 on aggregate v Celtic).
● Galatasaray only attempted three shots in the first leg against Barcelona – no team has had fewer in a single game in the UEFA Europa League so far this season. They have failed to score in their last two games in the competition, while they’ve never done so in three in a row in the UEFA Cup/Europa League.
● Memphis Depay has been directly involved in more shots than any other Barcelona player in European competition this season (27 – nine shots, 18 chances created), but is still looking for his first goal or assist in seven appearances in 2021-22.


8pm We finish the evening with an absolute cracker as West Ham host Sevilla. This was always going to be an excellent tie over the two legs, and it’s perfectly set up with Sevilla winning the first leg 1-0. We had a very cagey game in the first leg as you would expect between these two, and to be honest it’s hard to see anything bar a very close game again here. The pressure is all on West ham however, they need to make the running here and they are going to have to take a couple of chances. Sevilla are masters at playing a cagey game, and it will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Sevilla lost further points at the weekend in La Liga with a 1-1 draw away to Rayo Vallecano – any chance they had to getting close in the title race is gone now, but most football fans will say it never began anyway and Real Madrid were always in control. West Ham have been struggling a little lately, and although they are heavy favourites here this won’t be easy. The 2.28 does feel a little short on The Hammers especially as they haven’t been creating a lot of chances or scoring a lot of goals lately. You can tell Sevilla will go into this game very negatively given they have a 1-0 lead, and it will be up to West Ham to find goals. Sevilla’s tactics will be to get a 0-0 here to be honest.

Although West Ham broke their three game losing run at the weekend, the 2-1 win over Aston Villa was very close and could have gone either way. West Ham did create an xG of 1.57 which was their highest figure for a while, but that just shows that they haven’t been fluid going forward lately. The West Ham lay is very tempting at 2.28 because I do feel that Sevilla will make this game very close – a lot closer than odds of 2.28 suggest – but that’s mainly because I can see them sitting down and being quite negative. Therefore I feel the better option is under 2.5 goals at 1.69. Sevilla are masters of being cagey – they usually start games slowly and build things up in the second half to win the game. With West Ham struggling to score goals lately, I can see a reasonably dull game here. Add that to the fact it’s only 1-0, so West Ham won’t go all out from the start either. I can see a cagey first half and then West Ham will take more risks in the second half but Sevilla will try keep the game very quiet and unders looks the value.

The Ultra Says:
Three points win Under 2.5 goals at 1.69 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->


● The first leg was only West Ham’s second defeat against Spanish opposition in Europe, with their previous such defeat coming away to Real Madrid Castilla in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1980-81.
● Sevilla are unbeaten in all eight matches against English opposition in the UEFA Cup/Europa League (W6 D2) – their first leg victory was their fourth consecutive win against sides from England in the competition, previously beating Liverpool (2015-16), Wolves (2019-20) and Man Utd (2019-20).
● West Ham’s first leg defeat was their eighth in a major European tie – they have still managed to progress from such a position three times from the previous seven instances, all in the Cup Winners’ Cup between 1975-76 (ADO Den Haag, Eintracht Frankfurt) and 1980-81 (Real Madrid Castilla).
● Sevilla have progressed from 19 of their 20 UEFA Cup/Europa League ties when winning the first leg, including each of their last 18 in a row, only being eliminated from such a position against Kaiserslautern in 1982-83.
● Sevilla have failed to win any of their last five away matches in all European competitions (D3 L2), last going on a longer such run between 1982 and 1995 (eight games).