Week four of the Europa League and Europa Conference League is upon us as teams look to boost their chances of progressing to the knockout stage with just three matches remaining.
With six UK-based sides in action on Thursday, our five-fold accumulator has a British feel to it with the games including the four Premier League sides alongside Scottish giants Rangers making up the selections.
- Ajax to win or draw against Brighton
- Liverpool to beat Toulouse
- Rangers to beat Sparta Prague
- West Ham vs Olympiakos BTTS
- Aston Villa to win and over 2.5 goals v AZ Alkmaar
Ajax vs Brighton
When these sides met in Brighton last month the atmosphere was very different, with the visitors in the midst of a crisis when arriving in England and even deeper in turmoil when leaving after a 2-0 defeat.
However, Ajax will be feeling more confident for the reverse fixture having won their last two games, beating Volendam 2-0 and Heerenveen 4-1 in new boss John van't Schip's opening pair of matches and could continue that good run against a side who have won just once in seven games and are coming off the back of draws against bottom-half Premier League sides Fulham and Everton.
Additionally, Brighton are winless in their last five away matches in a run which has included an embarrassing 6-1 loss to Aston Villa as well as a 2-2 draw in this competition at Marseille, who a then woefully out-of-form Ajax also managed to take a point off.
Given Brighton's recent struggles and Ajax's upturn in form, it is worth opposing the favourites and backing the hosts to avoid defeat at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Toulouse vs Liverpool
Liverpool thrashed Toulouse 5-1 at Anfield last month and should have no issues in getting the better of the French side once again.
The hosts have lost their last three matches and that run looks set to continue against the Reds, who have won four of their last five matches and have won all of their European outings this term.
Jurgen Klopp has rotated the pack in Europe so far but even a second-string Liverpool should be too strong for their hosts, as they started with Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz and Alexis Mac Allister in the home fixture and still dominated proceedings.
Toulouse have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five matches and may struggle to contain a Liverpool side who have scored at least twice in six of their last seven games, suggesting another Reds’ win is on the cards.
Rangers vs Sparta Prague
Rangers have been in fantastic form since appointing Philippe Clement as manager last month, with the Belgian unbeaten in his opening five matches, winning four.
They drew 0-0 with Sparta Prague last month and should go one better at Ibrox, where they have won five of their last six including a 1-0 victory over Spanish highflyers Real Betis in this competition.
Sparta have lost two of their last four away assignments and may struggle in the cauldron of Ibrox, as the Glasgow side can take the points and usurp the Czech side into second-place in Group C, or possibly first should Betis lose to Limassol.
West Ham vs Olympiakos
Both of these sides found the net when meeting in Piraeus last month and the same outcome looks likely in London on Thursday.
Olympiakos won 2-1 in the reverse fixture to end the Hammers’ 17-game unbeaten streak in Europe, but West Ham will take no chances at home and put out a much stronger side in front of their fans, with the likes of Lucas Paqueta and Edson Alvarez likely to start this time around.
The firepower of West Ham’s attackers, who have scored five goals in their last two games, should prove vital as they bid to cement their place at the top of the section, but their visitors could land a blow too.
Olympiakos have netted at least twice in their last nine matches and should score against a defence whose only clean sheet in seven home matches came against Premier League basement boys Sheffield United.
Aston Villa vs AZ Alkmaar
The Villans started their Conference League campaign shakily but have won their last two in the competition, including a 4-1 win over these opponents, and should continue that streak at Villa Park on Thursday.
Aston Villa have won 14 of their last 15 home matches and should have no issues against a side who have lost three of their last five in the Europa Conference League, including a 4-3 defeat to relative minnows Zrijinski.
Both of these sides have seen over 2.5 goals in two of their three group matches to date and, with the previous meeting seeing the ball hit the net on five occasions, the same outcome looks likely on Thursday.
Unai Emery is a European expert, having won four Europa League titles, and should have the nous to land another victory in a high-scoring affair and boost his side’s chances of progressing to the knockout stage.