Basel vs Saint Etienne
|Date & Time||Thursday February 18, 2016, 1:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Saint Etienne 5/4 Draw 23/10 Basel 13/5
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The UEFA Europa League Cup Final this year will take place at Basel's home ground of St Jacob Park so if ever there was a carrot to dangle in front of a team this is a big one, Basel though face a tough task against a St Etienne team that are in fine form. With just under 400km seperating the two teams this will be the shortest distance a team travels in the last 32 and Basel will be looking to have another strong away performance. Basel are one of my outside fancies for the competition and have only lost once this season in the competition a home loss to Belenenses. Remarkably Basel have actually been better away from home where they were unbeaten and included a famous win for the side against Fiorentina(and their old boss). Basel led by Janko, Embolo and Delgado will be a tough team to handle and I have to say I'm intrigued in this game.
Saint Etienne have lost only once in the Europa League this season away to Lazio and have been a model of consistancy. At home Saint Etienne are unbeaten and have only lost three games at home in Ligue 1 all to top class competition with Nice, Marseille and PSG being the only teams to win at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Saint Etienne have a young side backboned by Soderlund (signed in January), Eysseric and Pajot. There are not alot of goals in this side with just thirty one goals in twenty six games this season but they are extremely tough to beat in Europe and will be really up for this game.
This looks to me a game that is made to be a draw, the match up is strong with Basel on paper just slightly stronger but playing away from home agaisnt a Saint Etienne team that are very good at home. Neither team will want to lose this one and I can see it being a stalemate in the end. The draw is good value here and one I will be on.