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Stewart Coggin

English Sides on Verge of Qualification

By November 19, 2012

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All three English sides could book their passage through to the Europa League second round with matchday five victories on Thursday. Newcastle United have been the most impressive of the trio of Premier League clubs, and they are fancied in the Europa League betting to see off CS Maritimo and qualify for the last 32.

Alan Pardew's side has struggled at times domestically this season, and despite several first-teamers being rested for the Europa League, they have won just two of their six matches after European outings.

But it has been a different story in Group D where the Magpies have picked up eight points, winning their two home games and drawing away. They will be confident of continuing that trend against a Maritimo side on two points and almost certain to be eliminated. Newcastle hit the woodwork three times when the teams met in Portugal, although they could have lost it late on when Valentin Roberge's powerful header from a corner was nodded off the line by Davide Santon.

Tottenham have struggled to get out of second gear in their Europa League campaign, although they too could qualify on Thursday if results go their way. They will need to win away to Lazio and hope that Panathinaikos triumph against Maribor to book their passage through this week.

Spurs manager André Villas-Boas partnered Jermain Defoe with Emmanuel Adebyor for the first time this campaign in the 3-1 win over Maribor last time out, with the English striker enjoying a prolific night as he bagged all three goals at White Hart Lane.

Adebayor should again get the nod as he embarks on a three-match domestic suspension following his red card in the 5-2 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday.

Lazio are a tough nut to crack at the Stadio Olimpico where they have lost just once all season. Vladimir Petkovic's side will enter this match full of confidence. They recovered from a poor start to defeat Roma 3-2 in the derby and followed that up with an impressive 0-0 draw away to Juventus, a match in which goalkeeper Federico Marchetti excelled for the visitors. Spurs may have to wait until matchday six to seal qualification.

Liverpool should secure their place in the next round with a win over Young Boys at Anfield. They won a thrilling contest 5-3 in Switzerland in September and the likelihood is that they will again have too much firepower, even if star men Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard are rested. Anji Makhachkala will also qualify from Group A with a win over Udinese.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers will not want to be traveling to Udinese needing points in matchday six, with the Italians' 3-2 win at Anfield still fresh in the memory.

Chris Brunskill / Getty Images


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