Sunday, July 23, 2017

Europa League Last-32: There’s more to watch than just Pogba brother’s new haircut

Milos Markovic in Editorial, UEFA Europa League 16 Feb 2017

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Paul Pogba in for an emotional affair at Old Trafford / Image via footbal365.com

The first leg of the UEFA Europa League elimination round is going to be an emotional affair for the Pogba family as Paul and Florentin go head to head in Manchester United’s clash with Saint Etienne.

Manchester United vs Saint Etienne

The older of the two brothers has went on to describe the upcoming match at Old Trafford as ‘magical’ as he gets a chance to lock horns with his brother for the first time in his career.

To mark the emotional affair, Florentin has showed off a new haircut of his which has both of the squad numbers – Paul’s No.6 and his own No.19 – shaved into his hair.

The two brothers have come a long way since playing together in the suburbs of Paris and the older one has decided to use the most Paul Pogba thing to show his respect and pay tribute to the upcoming meeting.

The emotional note aside, there is much more under the limelight than just another ‘crazy’ haircut in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League Last-32 Round.

Jose Mourinho’s men head into the game with a simple task – to win.  If you think Manchester United can do it, you can back them up on the 6/1 special price RIGHT HERE.

The Red Devils are sitting sixth in the Premier League table despite the great run they are currently on and the UEFA Europa League could be their only chance of grabbing the Champions League ticket for the next season.

The winner of the tournament will be directly promoted to the group stage of the elite competition and Jose Mourinho’s plans and aspirations are clear and simple.

Aside from the star-studded Manchester United, there is much more to watch in this year’s edition of the elimination stage with Champions League teams that failed to progress from the group stage being added into the mixture.

 Premier League high-flying side Tottenham and Serie A giants Roma are the two of those. They have been pitted against KAA Gent and Villarreal, respectively, in matches that promise to be highly exciting.

KAA Gent vs Tottenham

Premier League title chargers Tottenham Hotspur are out to erase the Anfield misery which left them trailing in Chelsea’s wake, disappointed and disillusioned.

Mauricio Pochettino is keen to change the feeling in the squad as he prepares to unleash the strongest squad against the Belgian side. Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Hugo Lloris are relishing the UEFA Europa League opportunity and will be looking to give their best to secure a positive result in the first leg ahead of the return game at home field.

As for the opponents, KAA Gent are on a bit of a downslide at the moment as they sit eights in the Belgian top flight, 12 points behind the league leaders Club Brugge. Gent have won only once in their 10 league matches which gives plenty of optimism for Pochettino and his men.

With all of this being said, there seems to be great value in a special 7/1 offer on Spurs to grab a win at Gent. Claim this incredible offer on THIS LINK.

Villarreal vs Roma

Arguably the only clash in the last-32 of the Europa League that could be confused for a Champions League fixture is the clash between la Liga side Villarreal and Serie A hot-shots Roma.

Fran Escriba’s men are preparing to host Giallorossi on the back of an impressive season in La Liga, which saw them sit in the sixth place in the season with just four defeats from 22 matches thus far. Villarreal have proved to be an extremely difficult nut to crack and there is no doubt that Roma will be given a stern test to their ambitions at the newly named Estadio de la Ceramica.

Luciano Spalletti is doing a wonderful job with Roma this season, an although Giallorossi are likely to miss out on the Serie A title once again, they have become a force to be reckoned with and one of the few teams that can put Juventus’ title chances in danger.

Roma are extremely dangerous, and boast a team filled with plenty of attack-oriented players which have been displaying intuitive and intriguing football in the running season.

Honourable mention: RSC Anderlecht vs Zenit Saint Petersburg

Zenit Saint Petersburg are Russia’s biggest hope in the competition and a club which has the biggest chance of bringing the Europa League trophy to the Post-Soviet world.

Having dominated the group stages with five wins in six matches, Zenit head into the forthcoming duel with the favourites tag on their backs. Boosted by the attacking potential of Aleksandr Kokorin and Giuliano, the Russians will be boasting a reinforced defensive line as well.

Long-serving Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic is back in Russia and should be given his debut in a Zenit shirt, as the Serbia captain is expected to be slotted in the centre of defence together with Lombaerts.

As for the hosts, Lukasz Teodorczyk will be the biggest threat in the game. Having joined Anderlecht in the summer of 2016, the former Dinamo Kyiv man has hit the ground running in Belgium with 17 goals in 24 matches. The Polish forward has scored five goals in six Europa League matches and will be the one to watch for the Belgium giants.

All in all, there really is more to watch in the Europa League than just Paul Pogba brother’s haircut, right?

And with most of hte aforementioned games available with live audio and best In-Play betting options right ON THIS LINK there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the Europa League day.

Full Fixture List:

Krasnodar vs Fenerbahce

Alkmaar vs Lyon

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Fiorentina

Astra Giurgiu vs Genk

FC Rostov vs Sparta Prague

Ludogorets vs FC Copenhagen

Celta Vigo vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Gent vs Tottenham

Olympiakos vs Osmanlispor

Anderlecht vs Zenit St Petersburg

Villarreal vs Roma

PAOK vs Schalke

Manchester United vs Saint Etienne

Athletic Bilbao vs APOEL Nicosia

Hapoel Be’er Sheva vs Besiktas

Legia Warsaw vs Ajax

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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