Genk vs Sarpsborg 08 tips STEV3BROWN
Genk were unable to maintain their winning run at the weekend, though that shouldn’t have dented their confidence too much. The Belgian side come into this final match-day as the Group I leaders, but they’re position at the top is in jeopardy. In order to progress, Philippe Clement’s men must avoid defeat, though if they lose, then depending on the result in the other game, the leaders after five matches could find themselves without a place in the last-32. Genk’s Europa League campaign has been up and down so far. At times, the Belgians, who currently sit top of the league domestically, have looked like a very good side; they’ve got forward plenty, have created chances and have scored goals. However, defensive deficiencies have often come to the fore, while they struggled massively when losing in the reverse of this fixture. When the teams met in the reverse fixture, Sarpsborg were well on top, as they scored three goals, conceded just one and finished the game with a pleasing +1.30 expected goal difference. If Genk defend anything like they did in Norway, then they’ll find it tough to confirm such red-hot favouritism, which based on performances in this competition alone, looks somewhat unjust. Few would’ve expected Thursday’s visitors to be in the hunt for a place in the knockouts come match-day six, but Sarpsborg have shown the wider footballing audience that they’re no mugs. The Norwegians have been relatively useful at keeping teams at bay, while they’ve made a habit of both keeping themselves in games and scoring goals at important moments. The early market suggests that Genk winning on Thursday night is a formality, though it’s hard to agree with that. The Belgians struggled against the Norwegians in the reverse fixture, so it’s easy to see them not having it all their own way on this occasion, especially since their most recent home effort in this competition was a displeasing one. On match-day four, Genk drew 1-1 at home with Besiktas and they didn’t exactly set the world alight, as they recorded just 0.74 expected goals. Sarpsborg have a very respectable expected goal difference of +0.51 in Group I, which is better than Genk’s of +0.23. If we consider this in conjunction with the fact that Genk were outplayed in the reverse fixture, then it’s very difficult to oppose the visitors. Frankly, there’s less between this pair than the disparity in prices suggests, which means that Sarpsborg have been underestimated by the early market and are thus worth supporting to get a positive result in Belgium on Thursday evening.