Europa League Free Soccer Pick: Sevilla vs. Zenit St Petersburg

Lee Phelps

Monday, March 30, 2015 5:17 PM GMT

Two former winners line up in this Europa League quarter final, so who has the best chance of winning this time? William Hill's Lee Phelps has scoured the betting to find the best odds for his pick.

Spain face Russia in this Europa League last eight match up with both former winners. Zenit picked up the trophy in 2008 when it looked like Russian football could take over Europe. Sevilla beat Benfica last May. Add to that the fact Andre Villas-Boas has won it as well (with Porto in 2011) and there are plenty of winners in this two-legged tie.

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Sevilla
The Spaniards won the tournament in 2006 and 2007 as well, so have something of a love affair with this trophy, making it four wins inside a decade would rival some of the very best European records.

The omens are good for them, in 2006 Sevilla beat Zenit to reach the semi-finals and ultimately won the tournament, not that Oscar Arias, the club’s technical secretary is taking them lightly: “Zenit are one of the strongest teams in the draw. It will be a very open, but difficult game. We know we have to travel a long way, and that's a handicap, but that's the way the draw has worked out and it cannot be an excuse. Zenit are a European outfit and have Spaniards like Javi García. José Rondón also played in the Liga. They are a powerful side with some very good players. André Villas-Boas has a squad full of quality”

Sevilla’s great strength has been their home form in La Liga. They are unbeaten, although it’s worth mentioning they haven’t faced Real Madrid or Barcelona yet – they drew 0-0 with Atletico Madrid.

They have also won their last seven Europa League matches at home in the Europa League spanning both this and last season. That list includes Villarreal, Valencia and Porto too. They have also only conceded three goals in that run.

They away form was an issue last season (not that it mattered in the end) but they have eve corrected that this year, with both road trips resulting in wins with three goals scored in Germany and at Villarreal.

 

Zenit St Petersburg
The Russians had a blistering start to the season, so much so that I tipped them to get out of their Champions League group. Unfortunately the form dipped and although they could have still made it with one game left, they lost 2-0 in Monaco and dropped into this competition.

They lead the Russian Premier League having lost just two matches all season, during a sticky patch in November. Their strike force of Hulk and Rondon has already managed 10 goals between them in Europe this season and can’t be taken lightly by an excellent home defence.

Despite the quality in his team Villas-Boas is well aware of the task at hand: “The defending champions is probably the hardest draw we could get. Sevilla have quality, experience and recent success in this tournament which is why they are favored by UEFA Europa League Odds.
All this makes our task even more difficult. However, we will play the second leg at home. We will need our fans' support and I am sure they will do their utmost to help us to get through.”

 

Soccer Picks
Despite the goals that Hulk and Rondon provide, most come at home in Europe and I sense that is where Zenit will have to win this tie, if they can. They have only scored one goal in their last four European away games.

So for this soccer pick I expect a tactical display from Zenit in a bid to restrict Sevilla scoring. If they can get back to Russia, losing 1-0 I think they will be happy.

Free Soccer Pick: Sevilla win and under 2.5 goals 4.0 (3/1) at Bet365

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