Matchday 2 of the 2020-21 Europa League brings a host of interesting – and fresh – games to the European stage. Here is a look at some of the biggest games, including the fascinating clash between Irish minnows Dundalk and the might of Arsenal.
AEK Athens vs. Leicester City
Leicester City will have no fear on their travels in the Europa League as they have a perfect record away from home this season, including wins over both Manchester City and Arsenal. City beat Zorya Luhansk 3-0 as they returned to Europe after a three-year absence last week, while AEK were poor as they went down away at Braga by the same 3-0 scoreline. They will be looking to their quintet of Portuguese players – and particularly striker Nelson Oliveira – to cause the Foxes problems at the sharp end of the pitch. Jamie Vardy has to be considered a doubt as he recovers from injury. Don’t expect a lot of goals here, but Leicester has looked strong at the back so a 1-0 (6.59) or 2-0 (7.87) away win could be a good shout.
Roma vs. CSKA Sofia
The form is with Roma in this one after the Italian team came back to beat Young Boys 2-1 in Switzerland last week. CSKA Sofia, by contrast, were beaten 2-0 on their own patch by CFR Cluj of Romania. Expect squad rotation from Paulo Fonseca and Roma after their thrilling 3-3 draw with Milan having taken place on Monday. CSKA Sofia arrives in Rome having just sacked manager Steman Belchev – who himself was only appointed in July – after a sixth draw of the league season. Don’t expect an upset here and back Roma for a heavy win at BetXChange. A 3-0 (7.27) or 4-0 (10.90) home win doesn’t feel out of the question.
Arsenal vs. Dundalk
This is about as big of a giant vs minnow clash as you will ever see in the Europa League. Arsenal came from behind to beat Rapid Vienna in their opening fixture last week, but they were poor and generally devoid of ideas in their defeat to Leicester City at home on Sunday. Dundalk fought their way through the qualifiers to be in the position to play against some of the best club sides in Europe and they started only their second-ever group stage adventure with a 2-1 defeat against Molde last time out. No matter what team Arsenal puts out – and you can bet there will be changes – this one won’t be close in Arsenal’s favor. Look for a win of 4-0 (5.55), 5-0 (8.22), or even higher.
Real Sociedad vs. Napoli
These are two of the Europa League participants going great guns in their domestic competitions as Real Sociedad are the surprise leaders in La Liga and Napoli sit second in Serie A. That makes this an even more important game than normal as neither club will want to lose the momentum they have been building. Sociedad will be without captain Asier Illarramendi and Luca Sangalli through injury, while Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso has no worries in this regard and will have a full-strength squad to pick from here. This is one that truly feels like it could go either way. Don’t be afraid to back a draw at 2.31, while the feeling that both teams will score makes a 1-1 (9.28) result worth considering.