Genk v West Ham
West Ham’s 4-1 win over Aston Villa has taken them to fourth in the Premier League, level on points with Man City, as it’s panning out to be another memorable season under David Moyes. They’ve also enjoyed plain sailing in Europe as they’ve won all three group games, scoring seven times without reply in clashes with Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Vienna and Genk.
The Belgian outfit have lost 10 of their past 12 games in Europe, conceding at least twice in each defeat and as many as four goals on five occasions. After nicking a win in their opening group stage clash with Rapid Vienna, they’ve since suffered back-to-back 3-0 losses to Dinamo Zagreb and the Hammers. They may have won their past two domestic games, but that came off the back of five straight defeats and they conceded at least twice in six of the seven appearances in total, with the exception against third-tier opposition in the Beker van Belgie.
The visitors will surely leave some key men on the bench as they can already boast a six-point lead over the other three teams in the group. However, they did rotate a little in their fixture with Genk last month and have won all three games by minimum two-goal margins, so they’ll expect to cement first place with another relatively comfortable victory here.
WEST HAM TO WIN
Brondby v Rangers
Brondby have only taken a single point group from clashes with Lyon, Sparta Prague and Rangers and are yet to even register a goal, so will require a big performance here to get back into the picture. They do enter this fixture having won four of five matches, though the exception was the defeat at Ibrox and it leaves them with four defeats from five games in Europe this season as they also lost both legs of their Champions League play-off with Red Bull Salzburg.
Rangers have formed a poor habit of conceding first, doing so in five of their past seven matches, though it hasn’t stopped them getting results and the latest turnaround saw them thump Motherwell 6-1. Steven Gerrard’s side have only lost twice across their past 17 games (W11-D4-L2) and although these did come in Europe, both Lyon and Sparta Prague represent a sterner challenge than Brondby.
RANGERS TO WIN
Leicester v Spartak Moscow
A 2-0 defeat hosting an improving Arsenal side has put a halt to Leicester’s five-game unbeaten streak, though the Gunners were well protected by Aaron Ramsdale’s man-of-the-match performance. That was only the third time in 16 appearances this season where the Foxes have failed to score, and having netted at least twice in each of the previous five, shouldn’t have too many concerns over their attack.
Brendan Rodger’s side have offered plenty of entertainment this season with 10 of their past 14 fixtures featuring at least three goals, while the six since the start of October have produced an average of 4.3 per game. The defence has struggled as various defensive-minded players have been afflicted by injury, with Wesley Fofana, Wilfried Ndidi, James Justin and possibly Ricardo Pereira all unavailable at present.
Spartak Moscow arrive at this fixture without a win in four, including a 4-3 defeat to Leicester themselves and a 7-1 humbling at the hands of Russian league leaders Zenit. With just two clean sheets from 12 appearances, both coming against bottom-half teams domestically, they look ill-equipped to earn a shutout here.
The visitors have also lost six of their past seven in European competition, even conceding twice in the exception as they stunned Napoli with a 3-2 win in September. Leicester have won seven of 10 home games in Europe since 2016/17, but having managed just a single clean sheet of their own from their past 14 matches, coming against Championship side Millwall, they’re going to have to outgun Spartak to take the points.
LEICESTER TO WIN AND BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Ferencvaros v Celtic
Celtic’s attack was unusually subdued at the weekend as they played out a goalless stalemate with Livingston, with even Kyogo Furuhashi unable to inspire them from the bench. The Hoops dominated possession but only managed two attempts on target, as Tom Rogic was sorely missed in the middle of the park. The Australian has also been joined on the sidelines by centre-back Carl Starfelt, so the defence will once again come under scrutiny as the latter has been an important factor in recent clean sheets. Ange Postecoglou does however have James McCarthy back in action, so Callum McGregor could be pushed forward to cover the loss of Rogic, having featured in a deeper role in recent games.
Celtic have still won five of six unbeaten games, including a 2-0 victory hosting Ferencvaros as they began salvaging their Europa League hopes. The Hungarian outfit are still pointless in Group G and have now lost each of their past six in European competition, conceding 14 goals across these matches, so Celtic’s blank at the weekend looks set to be rectified here. Indeed, Ferencvaros have only registered a single clean sheet from their past seven home games, coming against domestic strugglers MTK Budapest.
CELTIC TO WIN