On Thursday evening, Swedish outfit AIK Fotboll host Scottish giants Celtic in the Europa League play-offs second leg. Celtic recorded a 2-0 win in the first leg, so AIK have it all to do to recover the tie.
AIK (Odds for victory 11/5)
AIK have a mountain to climb to book their place in the group stages of the competition. The result will not come as a surprise, as the Swedish side has won just one of their last four games in all competitions.
The home sides recent record in the Europa League is also not great, as they have won just one of their last six matches in European football’s secondary competition. In fact, they have suffered defeat in three of their last five matches in the Europa League.
The Swedish teams’ recent matches in the competition have been low-scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in six of their last seven matches. AIK also have a poor home record in the Europa League, failing to win in their last four matches on their own patch. However, three of those home games have finished in draws.
Just like their recent Europa League games in general, AIK’s recent home games in the competition have been low-scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in their five matches.
Celtic (odds for victory 5/4)
The Scottish champions are looking to avoid elimination from a second European competition of the season, having exited the Champions League at the third qualifying round against Cluj.
Celtic will feel confident of progressing into the group stages of the competition. However, the Scottish team’s recent record in the Europa League is not a great one, as the first leg victory ended a three-game losing streak in Europe’s secondary competition.
Just like the home side, Celtic’s recent Europa League encounters have been low-scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in four of their last five matches in the competition.
Celtic have a woeful away record in the Europa League, winning just one of their last 16 games on their travels in the competition. The Hoops have also suffered defeat in three of their last four away games. Despite their poor recent away record in the competition, the Hoops are favourites to win this clash.
Once again, the visitor’s recent away games have been low-scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in four of their last five away matches. One factor in those low-scoring games is that the visitors have scored just three times in six away matches in the competition.
In truth, Celtic have one foot in the next round. However, the Hoops were also favourites to get past Cluj in the last round of the Champions League and of course, failed.
However, AIK have shown very few signs of having the quality to get past the visitors and recover the two-deficit, even with Celtic’s habit of snatching defeat of the jaws of victory in the last decade. We can see this game being another tight, low-scoring clash. The visitors are not great on their travels, but AIK are not great in general in the competition.
Our Verdict: Back the draw at odds of 23/10 and/or at odds of 4/6 (All odds from Bet365)
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Will Celtic book their place in the Europa League in a comfortable manner?