Capital One Cup winners Swansea City can get their season back on track against Romanian outfit Petrolul Ploiesti in the last Europa League qualifying round, with the 21/20 about the Welsh side winning at half-time and full-time the pick of the bets at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea had effectively finished the tie by half-time in the first leg of the last round, sweeping aside Malmo in a 4-0 victory, and a repeat of 2012/13 top-scorer Michu’s 37th-minute opener against Romania’s fifth-placed team should be enough to see Michael Laudrup’s team take the win and control of the tie ahead of the second leg at the Ilie Oana.
Michu grabbed nine of his 22 goals in all competitions before half-time in his first season in English football and should get plenty of support from new £12m signing Wilfried Bony, who is expected to start the game having played every minute so far of the Swans’ first European campaign since 1991.
This will allow former Rayo Vallecano midfielder Michu to drop back into his preferred position behind a central striker.
Ivorian international Bony bagged a brace on his Swansea debut against the Swedish side and scored again after coming off the bench in the 4-1 league loss to champions Manchester United.
The Swans had an excellent record of closing out games from an early position of strength in the Premier League last season, with a 100 per cent win record when in front at the break – a feat only matched by title contenders Arsenal.
Laudrup’s charges have been installed as strong 9/25 favourites for the win in 90 minutes, with the draw priced up at 31/10 and the visitors a 7/1 chance, but the half-time/full-time play makes greater appeal at 21/20.
While they face a Petrolul team who are unbeaten in their first nine competitive games this season in all competitions, it should be noted that Malmo were on a similar run before their visit to South Wales with eight wins in their previous ten matches.
The Yellow Wolves, who finished 17 points behind Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest in third place last season, are unlikely to be a pushover but they could see their spirited Europa League resistance finally broken against the Premier League club.