The Europa League came back with a vengeance a few weeks ago, and it’s time to go again for matchday two. There were a couple of shocks on the first round of matches, and those sides that were beaten will have an immediate chance to rectify their defeats. However, there will also be sides looking for a second win in a row, and put themselves into a commanding position in their respective groups. But, which team’s should punters be looking at for the upcoming round?
Besiktas vs Wolves
This is one of the most interesting fixtures to be taking place this week, with both sides looking for a first win in the group. The team that loses this fixture will have a mountain to climb if they are going to make it out of the group stages, and that would be a disappointment. These two sides were both heavily fancied to progress from this group, but it would seem now that only one could do that.
Wolves will be high on confidence after winning their first domestic game of the season last time out when they beat Watford at Molineux, but a trip to Turkey is never easy. Besiktas have been in poor form recently, and have lost three of their last four in all competitions. Nuno Espirito Santos would be pleased with a point from this game, and that’s what they should get.
AZ Alkmaar vs Manchester United
It was yet another below-par performance for the Red Devils against Arsenal on Monday evening, and the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is beginning to mount. They travel to the side who are currently third in the Dutch league, and like all sides from the Netherlands, they are very good on the ball. United will be looking for a second win on the bounce following Mason Greenwood’s winner last time out against Astana.
Meanwhile, AZ drew their opening game against Partizan Belgrade and will need a win to remain in touching distance of the qualifying places. This should be an entertaining game with United handed starts to their younger players. They have already proven that they have what it takes, but a first win on the road in Europe would be a sign that they are ready for domestic action. United will win this, and there will be another goal for 18-year-old Greenwood.
Vitoria SC vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Last season’s semi-finalists failed to rediscover their form from last season as they were well-beaten in their opening Europa League clash with Arsenal. Another defeat would leave them starring down the barrel of an exit, and their trip to Portugal could be a sticky assignment.
Vitoria also lost their opening match against Standard Liege and their passionate home support will be expecting a win when they welcome Frankfurt. The German side have failed to replace Ante Rebic and Luka Jovic who departed the club in the summer, and that has left them very short in the attacking areas. They should shade this match because they are the better side, but don’t expect them to make the semi-finals like last season.