The UEFA Europa League returns on Thursday with English sides Newcastle, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham all hoping to qualify.
Today’s football tips come from Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host Sparta Prague.
Todays Football Tips
Chelsea (1.36) v Sparta Prague (11.00); Draw (5.00)
Chelsea brought a 0-1 lead from the Czech Republic in the first leg in an uninspiring contest, but the Blues remain firmly on course for qualification tonight.
Chelsea will be keen to keep their recent run going, after winning their last three matches, all in different competitions.
Rafa Benitez has indicated that Frank Lampard will not be involved in the squad after admitting the in-form midfielder needs to be managed effectively during the latter stages of his playing career.
Defender Branislav Ivanovic may also be rested, but Fernando Torres will lead the line for the Blues following Demba Ba’s ineligibility after turning out for Newcastle earlier in the competition.
Oscar and Eden Hazard have both linked up well of late, but Africa Cup of Nations winner Victor Moses could replace Spain international Juan Mata in midfield.
Ryan Bertrand and Gary Cahill could also be involved with Chelsea having one eye on Sunday’s clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.Opponents Sparta Prague will be without midfielders Jiri Jarosik and Josef Husbauer, so manager Vitezslav Lavicka may switch to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation with Rudi needing to chase goals in this tie.Sparta Prague have only once conceded more than one goal in 16 matches in the Gambrinus Liga this season, but the tendency for under 2.5 goals may be overawed by Chelsea’s dominance at Stamford Bridge and Lavicka’s need to attain goals.With only a narrow advantage in the bag, Chelsea will be keen to win tonight and build momentum for Sunday’s all important clash with Manchester City in the Premier League.
Chelsea -1.5 Asian Handicap @2.025
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