EUROPA LEAGUE LAST 16: The Ultra previews Thursday’s games between SPORTING LISBON v ARSENAL and MANCHESTER UNITED v REAL BETIS both with a recommended BETDAQ bet.


5.45pm After a drama filled knockout stage, we reach the Last 16 of the Europa League on BETDAQ Betting Exchange. We have some cracking fixtures ahead, and it’s nice we have two sets of games at 5-45pm and 8pm so we can enjoy two fixtures! We start the evening with Sporting Lisbon hosting Arsenal. Sporting Lisbon had no trouble getting through the knockout stage against Midtjylland but they were held to a 1-1 draw in their home leg – they were unlucky there because they finished the game with an xG of 2.52 and then won the second leg 4-0. Arsenal had their feet up watching the knockout stage after topping their Group, but they have had plenty of drama in the Premier League. Their fans went on a wonderful (in the end!) rollercoaster of emotions on Saturday afternoon as their side came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with the final kick of the game. A lot of times this season you just feel Arsenal have “won the title there” with all these late dramatic winning goals. It’s a sign of a good side though, they believe they can win and fight until the end. This will be a reasonably tricky tie however, and I feel Arsenal won’t be unhappy with a draw given they have home advantage in the second leg.

Arsenal come into the game as the favourites, but they aren’t trading odds on. They are 2.2 at the time of writing, with Sporting Lisbon 3.65 and the draw is 3.6. Arsenal have come through a lot of tricky situations away from home this season, and you have to say that Arteta has given them a backbone this season – something they have been lacking for years. They’ve actually been superb away from home in the Premier League when you look at their overall record – they have seven more points than Manchester City having played the same number of games. I would be a little worried about the fact that they have conceded xG figures of 1.74 and 1.77 to Bournemouth and Everton in their last two games – two sides sitting in the relegation zone in the Premier League, but they are a level or more above Sporting Lisbon. I’m not going to go mad with the stakes but Arsenal at 2.2 looks nice value too me. Sporting managed to beat Spurs 2-0 here in the Champions League this season, but we all know Spurs have been poor away from home this season, and then after that Sporting lost both their home games against Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt – two sides Arsenal would easily beat in my opinion. Arteta’s side can grind out another win.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Arsenal to beat Sporting Lisbon at 2.2 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->

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8pm Next we have Manchester United hosting Real Betis, with ten Hag’s men hoping to put the 7-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend swiftly behind them! That was a very embarrassing defeat for United, but at the end of the day it’s only one game – losing 1-0 is the same amount of points, and it’s more important how they bounce back here. Having a good run in the FA Cup and Europa League, while finishing in the top four this season would be a fantastic season for United. It’s easy to get carried away when they have been playing so well, but if they were offered this position at the start of the season most United fans would have taken it – 7-0 loss at Anfield included! This should be a cracking tie over the two legs, and United will fancy themselves to come through. They actually come into the first leg very heavy odds on favourites at 1.45. I have to say I was surprised to see them trading that short when I clicked into the market. I know they have been fantastic this season, and saw off Barcelona here in the knockout stage but Real Betis are a very solid side. They picked up a 0-0 draw against Real Madrid at the weekend, and kept Real down to an xG of 1.33 which is a good performance when you consider Real Madrid’s average xG created this season is 2.3. Betis are sitting just outside the top four in La Liga, but they will be hopeful of breaking into that top four soon with Real Sociedad starting to drop points. After the poor start to the season from Sevilla, Real Betis would have been the favourites to land in that fourth spot.

Obviously all the talk is going to focus on Manchester United here after their result at the weekend. It will be interesting to see how they perform here, and what the 7-0 loss did to their confidence. They basically fell apart in the second half, it was embarrassing. The manager called them unprofessional, and he’ll want to see a big reaction. Although I do expect an improved performance from United, how could they get worse you might say, I still can’t get away from the United lay at 1.45. I just feel that is a very short price to beat a top side like Real Betis. It’s not like Betis have been poor away from home in La Liga either, they sit in fifth in the away form table – only one point less than they have at home this season. I’m not going to get carried away with the stakes, but I do feel it’s a good value position to lay United here – I feel we’ll see a closer game than the odds suggest!

The Ultra Says:
Two points lay (liability) Manchester United to beat Real Betis at 1.45 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here ->

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THE ULTRA Sat: European Football Preview
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THE ULTRA Fri: Bundesliga / La Liga Preview
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