Zenit St. Petersburg v Anderlecht Betting Tips: Russians can turn it around

18:00/Feb 23

Football writer and Russian football expert Thomas Giles previews the upcoming UEFA Europa League match between Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg and Anderlecht.

Anderlecht may hold a 2-0 lead over Zenit St. Petersburg going into the second leg, however, the Russian side will feel they still have a chance of progressing to the last 16 of the Europa League, especially now they’re playing back on home soil.

Zenit are yet to resume their Russian Premier League campaign following their midwinter break and this lack of match fitness certainly showed in their 2-0 loss away at Anderlecht. However, we can certainly expect Zenit to up the tempo for this second leg and really go for it.

Mircea Lucescu’s team are one that focuses primarily on the attack and they are currently the Russian league’s top goalscorers with an impressive 33 goals in 17 matches whilst they also managed to find the back of the net 17 times in just six Europa League group matches in 2016.

Defence is always a concern for Zenit and, although they only concede an average of 0.76 goals a game in the Russian top flight, they did concede eight in Europa League Group D.

The Petrovsky Stadium at this time of year will certainly suit Zenit and it will be interesting to see how Anderlecht cope with the cold weather. Zenit have been fantastic at home in the league for a long time and have not lost a game at the Petrovsky since 29th August 2015. Furthermore, they have not lost a Europa League home match since April 2008 – the year they won the UEFA Cup.

Anderlecht did fantastically well to gain a two-goal cushion in the first-leg but will need to make sure they are ready for the challenge at Petrovsky on Thursday as an early slip-up could really cost them. Rene Weiler’s side are currently top of the Belgian league as they look to regain the title they lost last season.

Attack is certainly the Purple and White’s biggest strength and they top the goal-scoring charts in the Belgian league having scored 60 in just 27 matches – 12 goals more than second place Club Brugge. Defensively though there are a few issues with Anderlecht conceding an average of one per game.

Despite losing three away matches on the spin in October/November, Anderlecht have the best away record in the Belgian league with 27 points from 14 matches. Furthermore they did not lose an away game in the Europa League group stages.

Although they have a good away record, I think Anderlecht could become unstuck against this free-scoring Zenit side. It is also worth noting that the Russian side have won all of the previous meetings at the Petrovsky Stadium. With Zenit being so potent in the final third and needing to score at least two, we should see a few goals here and thus ‘Zenit to Win & Over 2.5 Goals’, at 13/10, is a good way to play this one.

Read more from Thomas here.

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Zenit St. Petersburg v Anderlecht
23.02.2017 18:00 \B\S\T
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