Anderlecht vs Zenit Petersburg
Competition: UEFA Europe League
Date: 16th February 2017
Kick-off: 21:05 CET
Anderlecht secured placement in the knock-out stage as the second placed in Group C, behind St Etienne. They suffered just one defeat in the group, against the first placed side. Since that match they are undefeated in the last nine matches in their domestic competition and won six of them including the last one against Zulte Waregem (4:2). Four goals on that match were scored by four different players (Hanni, Bruno Massimo, Tielmans and Chipciu), which I rate as a positive moment. Coach Weiler has most of his key players available including the best scorer Teodorczyk. He has scored five goals in six Europa League matches, as well as 17 in the domestic Jupiler League.
Zenit Petersburg were first placed in their Group D and had superior results. They have achieved five victories and lost only to AZ Alkmaar in the last round on the road. Since then Zenit played nine friendly matches and won four of them. Nevertheless, the actual form isn’t at the desired level. Zenit lost to Sparta Prague and played an 1:1 draw with Odense in the last two friendlies ahead of this match. Coach Lucescu has more options in the defense after the former Chelsea player Branislav Ivanovic has completed his transfer. His experience could be crucial as the 32-year-old had spent nine years at Stamford Bridge. Two more players should also be mentioned – Yohan Mollo came from Krylia Sovetov, while Hernani came from Atletico Paranaense.
Anderlecht vs Zenit Petersburg: Head-to-head Stats
Anderlecht and Zenit Petersburg have met in the group stage of Europa League in the season 2010/11. Zenit won both matches with same result 3:1. They were part of same group in Champions League in the season 2012/13. Both sides won their home match with 1:0.
Anderlecht (1983) and Zenit (2008) are former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners respectively.
Anderlecht vs Zenit Petersburg: Prediction
Anderlecht are undefeated in their last nine matches in all competitions. The atmosphere in the squad is positive, while the players’ confidence is high. Zenit have a major disadvantage going into the tie: the lengthy winter break. The pause in the Russian Premier League usually is a big disadvantage in the early stages of the European knockout stage. 1.83 for Anderlecht in Draw No Bet option.
Anderlecht vs Zenit Petersburg: Tips
I will also try Anderlecht’s straight victory for 2.63 . It won’t be easy, particularly because Lucescu is the most experienced coach in this competition with 222 UEFA club fixtures, however Anderlecht could make a surprise at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels.