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Europa League 2018: Matchday 1 Odds, Live Stream, TV Schedule and Predictions

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates scoring  the equalising goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Cardiff City at Stamford Bridge on September 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Arsenal get their UEFA Europa League campaigns under way on Thursday when the group stage begins with fixtures against PAOK and FC Vorskla Poltava, respectively.

The Blues are yet to drop a point in the league this season and will hope manager Maurizio Sarri has the keys to unlock Europe's second-tier competition, having last lifted the trophy in 2013 when Rafael Benitez was in charge.

Arsenal have a new boss of their own, and Unai Emery has proven Europa League nous after winning the tournament three seasons in succession with Sevilla between 2014 and 2016.

Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers will also be in action on Thursday. Steven Gerrard will have his first taste of European group-stage football at the helm of the Ibrox club as they travel to Villarreal, while the Hoops play host to Rosenborg.

La Liga outfits Sevilla and Real Betis face Standard Liege and Olympiakos, respectively.

Read on for a preview of Thursday's Europa League slate, complete with live-stream schedule, television information and the latest match odds.

         

Thursday's Schedule, Predictions

Akhisarspor 1-1 Krasnodar, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Besiktas 3-0 Sarpsborg 08, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Dynamo Kiev 2-1 Astana, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Genk 3-2 Malmo, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Lazio 3-1 Apollon Limassol, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Vidi FC 1-2 BATE Borisov, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Marseille 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

PAOK 1-3 Chelsea, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport 2 (UK), Univision (U.S.)

Rapid Vienna 1-2 Spartak Moscow, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Rennes 2-1 Jablonec, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Sevilla 3-1 Standard Liege, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK), Galavision (U.S.)

Villarreal 2-0 Rangers, 5:55 p.m. BST/12:55 p.m. ET, BT Sport 3 (UK), Univision (U.S.)

AEK Larnaca 1-1 FC Zurich, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Arsenal 4-0 FC Vorskla Poltava, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport 2 (UK)

Celtic 1-0 Rosenborg, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport 3 (UK)

Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Fenerbahce, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Dudelange 1-2 AC Milan, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK), Univision (U.S.)

FC Copenhagen 2-2 Zenit St. Petersburg, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Ludogorets Razgrad 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Olympiakos 3-1 Real Betis, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

RB Leipzig 2-1 Salzburg, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport ESPN (UK)

Slavia Prague 1-1 Bordeaux, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Sporting Lisbon 2-0 Karabakh, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

Trnava 2-3 Anderlecht, 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET, BT Sport Extra (UK)

B/R Live provides UEFA Europa League live-stream coverage, while fuboTV and Univision Deportes will also provide coverage in the United States. Viewers in the United Kingdom can tune in via the BT Sport app.

        

Match Odds

Akhisarspor (11-5), Draw (44-19), Krasnodar (6-4)

Besiktas (3-10), Draw (6-1), Sarpsborg (45-4)

Dynamo Kiev (8-15), Draw (58-19), Astana (29-4)

Genk (10-17), Draw (17-5), Malmo (6-1)

Lazio (5-19), Draw (96-17), Apollon Limassol (12-1)

Vidi FC (16-11), Draw (11-5), BATE Borisov (23-10)

Marseille (13-18), Draw (31-10), Eintracht Frankfurt (43-10)

PAOK (18-5), Draw (11-4), Chelsea (10-11)

Rapid Vienna (29-18), Draw (5-2), Spartak Moscow (35-19)

Rennes (5-11), Draw (15-4), Jablonec (77-10)

Sevilla (1-3), Draw (5-1), Standard Liege (10-1)

Villarreal (7-19), Draw (9-2), Rangers (10-1)

AEK Larnaca (21-20), Draw (27-10), FC Zurich (47-16)

Arsenal (2-13), Draw (83-10), Vorskla (25-1)

Celtic (1-2), Draw (62-17), Rosenborg (13-2)

Dinamo Zagreb (16-11), Draw (12-5), Fenerbahce (41-19)

Dudelange (18-1), Draw (34-5), AC Milan (1-5)

FC Copenhagen (39-19), Draw (12-5), Zenit St. Petersburg (32-21)

Ludogorets Razgrad (11-5), Draw (5-2), Bayer Leverkusen (22-15)

Olympiakos (23-15), Draw (5-2), Real Betis (45-23)

RB Leipzig (9-10), Draw (41-13, Salzburg (10-3)

Slavia Prague (5-4), Draw (40-17), Bordeaux (13-5)

Sporting Lisbon (4-11), Draw (50-11), Karabakh (41-4)

Trnava (74-17), Draw (35-12), Anderlecht (8-11)

All odds provided courtesy of Oddschecker.

         

Preview

Chelsea and Arsenal enter the tournament on the back of winning results on Saturday, with the Blues coming from behind to thrash Cardiff City 4-1, while the Gunners beat Newcastle United 2-1.

It's possible Sarri will hand star man Eden Hazard a rest after he netted a hat-trick in the win against the Bluebirds, but fans will be hoping to see more of the Belgian after his manager suggested he can be the best in the business, via Hayters:

Sarri's attacking system transformed Dries Mertens during their time together at Napoli. In his first three seasons at the club—the first two being prior to the former Empoli boss' arrival—the Belgium international scored 34 goals; in his final two terms under Sarri, he scored 56 times.

PAOK finished second in the Greek Superleague last season and look to be the biggest threat to the Blues in Group L, but much will depend on the lineup Sarri fields at the Stadio Toumba, with Ethan Ampadu and Olivier Giroud in contention to start.

Back in London, Arsenal should face a less sterner examination from Ukrainian side Vorskla, and Emery has already seemingly revealed one key piece of team information, per the Mirror:

Mirror Football @MirrorFootball

Unai Emery hints at when Bernd Leno will make Arsenal debut after another uncertain moment for Petr Cech at Newcastle https://t.co/mdzCT985Oe https://t.co/eQH6NDA3cC

Bernd Leno's debut for the club should be a routine one against the team that finished third in the Ukrainian Premier League last season.

Marseille could be a dark horse to do well in the Europa League this season after finishing runners-up to Atletico Madrid in May.

The Ligue 1 club have the quality in their squad to go far, and Dimitri Payet showed against Guingamp on Sunday just how he's heating up his campaign, via ESPN UK:

ESPN UK @ESPNUK

Can we take a minute to appreciate Dimitri Payet’s goal this weekend 😱 https://t.co/Al80A5q60B

Celtic and Rosenborg will be familiar to each other after the Scottish side beat their Norwegian Group B opponents in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers in July.

Meanwhile, Rangers boss Gerrard is set for a difficult group-stage debut against Villarreal, who are in good form in La Liga, according to summer signing Miguel Layun, via La Liga Lowdown:

La Liga Lowdown 🧡🇪🇸⚽️ @LaLigaLowdown

🗣 @SkySportsDavid: MIXED ZONE INTERVIEW 👥!! We have reaction from Butarque 🏟, as @emctear grabbed a quick word post-match with Villarreal’s 💛 Miguel Layún who assisted Carlos Bacca’s winning goal at Leganés 🥒...WATCH HERE 👇! #LLL 🧡🇪🇸⚽️ https://t.co/xaJSOX9lIB

This will be the first time in more than a decade that two Scottish teams feature in the group stage of a European competition, and each will hold out hopes for an extended run in the competition.

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