An enormous batch of Europa League qualifying fixtures kicks 2015/16 off for several teams, with West Ham, courtesy of their commitment to playing football in the fairest possible manner, among them.
The Hammers host Andorra’s FC Lusitanos in the first-leg of their opening preliminary round, with the bookies taking caution to the extreme in affording the London club a price of 1/100 for victory.
Odds of this proportion are too short for even the filthiest of rich to make a wager on, but bolting the Irons – a sure fire winner – into a fourfold with Rosenborg, Ferencvaros and Celje the bounty sky rockets to a respectable 8/1.
A relatively strong side will take to the Boleyn Ground field clad in claret and blue this evening, with first-teamers of Diafra Sakho and Diego Poyet’s calibre set to be included alongside a raft of youngsters.
The ridiculously inferior nature of their foes – they were unable to win four of their last five domestic games to sign off on the previous season – should render this one a mind-numbingly straightforward affair, meaning we’re essentially relying on three teams to slam-dunk this fourfold into the black.
Rosenborg to beat Vikingur @ 7/50
The Troll Kids are in great Tippeligaen form, winning six of their last eight league and cup fixtures and scoring 28 in the process.
Their Faroe Islands-based adversaries have a woeful home record in attempting to qualify for this competition, claiming just one qualifying clash in front of the faithful since their 2010 debut.
Ferencvaros to beat Go Ahead Eagles @ 95/100
This is set to be a testing fixture for the Hungarian runners up, but if they can rediscover the form that helped them cruise through the second half of the previous season they’re in with a chance of victory.
Following the conclusion of the winter break, they won 18 of their final 23 domestic games, losing just once, keeping 16 clean sheets in the process.
The Eagles found the going much tougher, losing 11 of the last 13 fixtures of 2014/15.
NK Celje to beat Slask Wroclaw @ 21/10
Slovenia’s silver medallists from last season staggered over the finishing line with the odd positive result punctuating a deluge of disappointments.
This is the reason for their underdog status here, but fortunately for Celje, their visitors are dreadful on the road.
Slask won at Wisla Krakow on their last away day, but prior to that they’d gone nine sojourns without success, with three of the four preceding the aforementioned slaying ending in defeats without scoring.