Europa League Treble: Celtic test, West Ham balance and Leicester goals

The Europa League is back and to celebrate the first round of fixtures, we’ve put together a special Planet Sport Thursday night treble.

Get the popcorn ready, find a comfortable chair and prepare for what promises to be a classic night of soccer - especially for the British teams involved.

Celtic have a trip to Spain to contend with while Leicester take on one of Italy's giants. If that wasn't enough for you, the Hammers are also making their return to the big time… well, big for West Ham anyway.

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Real Betis vs Celtic

After bagging their first league win of the season, Real Betis will be high in spirit when they welcome Celtic to the Benito Villamarin stadium.

Manuel Pellegrini's men ended their three-match winless run with a 2-1 away victory over Granada.

Celtic, on the other hand, ended their run of two straight defeats with a 3-0 hammering of Ross County last weekend.

Stephen Welsh Celtic goal Aug21

Despite the win, there's still a stench of inconsistency surrounding Ange Postecoglou's side.

Betis only suffered one defeat this season - which came at the hands of Real Madrid. Their performance in that game was encouraging and if they are able to replicate it, Celtic shouldn't be anything more than a walk in the park.

Unfortunately, that's the problem with Pellegrini's men. While the outings against Granada and Real were promising, their attack was laboured and lacked conviction in earlier games against Cadiz and Mallorca.

Bearing everything in mind, we'll open this Europa League treble with a draw. Real may be the better side on paper but Celtic won't fall easily and they could punish the Spaniards if they're off their game.

Dinamo Zagreb vs West Ham

West Ham are back in Europe and to mark their return, they've been given an away trip to Zagreb.

The Hammers started their Premier League campaign like a house on fire - winning two and drawing two of their opening four matches.

Michail Antonio celebration West Ham vs Crystal Palace

The real question is whether they'll be able to successfully balance European duties with league commitments as the season rolls on.

It's certainly no easy task and there may be some weary legs towards the end of this group stage campaign.

Nevertheless, we're still in the early days and the Hammers will be as fresh as daisies. With that in mind, a win for the visitors is the bet to back.

Leicester vs Napoli

The game of the day will undoubtedly take place at the King Power Stadium when Leicester City host Napoli.

This is a fixture that has the makings of an instant classic and both sides are coming into it with some good results under their belts.

Jamie VArdy profile Leicester City Aug 2021

Leicester, for instance, have won three of their first five competitive games this season. The Foxes lost to Man City last weekend but it's fair to say that most teams this year will endure defeat against Pep Guardiola's machine.

Napoli, meanwhile, come into this encounter having won all three of their Serie A games. What's more, their latest victory was a memorable 2-1 win over Juventus.

This is another close game to call and our recommendation is to avoid the outright market. Instead, our tip is to back the over 2.5 goals bet in what should be a fiery affair.

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