Verdict: Feyenoord win
Best Odds: 21/20
In what could be a lively Europa League knockout stage showdown on Thursday evening, Feyenoord will welcome Roma to the De Kuip.
Starting with the hosts, while Feyenoord might find themselves facing a real uphill battle in their bid to defend their Eredivisie crown this season, the Dutch giants are enjoying an extended purple patch. Picking up some perfect momentum over the weekend as they secured a routine 2-0 victory against bitter local rivals Sparta Rotterdam, Arne Slot’s side have continued to receive a string of plaudits from across the continent. Although the Pride of the South might have failed to punch a famous Champions League knockout stage ticket back in December, Feyenoord are unbeaten in all of their previous nine straight appearances across all competitions. Looking to claim what would be an eye-catching Europa League scalp over the next fortnight, Slot’s men have continued to shine with their recent defensive resolve. In fact, Thursday’s hosts have not shipped a single goal in all of their last five outings.
Both still dealing with respective injury issues, Feyenoord will be without the duo of Thomas van den Belt and 19-year-old Gjival Zechiel on Thursday evening. Likewise, once again missing out against Sparta Rotterdam over the weekend, number-one goalkeeper Justin Bijlow is seen as a real doubt here.
Continuing to attract a host of European interest ahead of the summer transfer window and notching 19 strikes in his 20 Eredivisie appearances this season, Santiago Gimenez will spearhead Feyenoord’s charge in midweek. Former Brighton star Alireza Jahanbakhsh will have to settle for a spot on the bench.
As for the visitors, watching their brief flurry come to an abrupt end of the weekend, Roma have continued to struggle with their consistency this season. Eventually falling to an action-packed 4-2 defeat at home against Inter Milan, new boss Daniele De Rossi will know the importance of claiming an immediate boost here. Tipped as a real outside contender in the race to book a top-four finish among Italy’s elite this year, the midweek guests have gained a reputation for their struggles at the back. Likewise, although Roma might have been last seen on their travels claiming a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Salernitana, De Rossi’s men have shown some extended issues on the road this season. Losing all of their other four showdowns outside of Rome, the Wolves should face a tricky test when they travel to Rotterdam on Thursday evening.
Still dealing with an extended knee injury and not making a single appearance across any competition so far this season, Roma will once again be without the services of England international Tammy Abraham. Featuring for the Ivory Coast during their AFCON success on Sunday, Evan Ndicka is not expected to travel to Holland in midweek.
While Romelu Lukaku might have bagged just a single strike in his previous seven appearances across all competitions, the Chelsea loanee will spearhead Roma’s charge on Thursday evening. Argentina ace Paulo Dybala will once again partner Lukaku in the final third.
Key Factors to Consider
- When Feyenoord and Roma met in the quarter-finals of last season’s Europa League, Thursday’s guests picked up a 4-2 aggregate victory.
- However, the Italian giants have lost four of their previous five showdowns away from the Stadio Olimpico.
- Feyenoord are unbeaten in all of their previous seven appearances across all competitions.
- Likewise, Thursday’s hosts have not conceded a single goal in any of their last five outings.
- Roma have recorded just a single clean sheet on their travels since back on November 12th.
Although Roma might have claimed a 4-2 aggregate victory when they met Feyenoord in last season’s Europa League quarter-finals, the Italian giants should face a stern challenge on foreign soil. Losing four of their previous five showdowns away from the Stadio Olimpico, the defending Dutch champions will be smelling the chance to make a heavyweight statement here. Continuing to receive a reputation for their rugged performances at the back, we are predicting a home victory on Thursday evening.
Verdict: Feyenoord win
Best Odds: 21/20