PSV Eindhoven will hope to get off to a good start in the Europa League group stages as they host Portuguese side Estoril in the Philips Stadion.

psv dejongAfter exiting at this stage of the competition last season, Phillip Cocu’s side will be hoping to at least reach the knockout round this season, but they have been handed a tough group which contains Russian’s Dinamo Moscow, Greek giants Panathinaikos, and Thursday’s opponents Estoril, who finished fourth in the Portuguese league last season.

PSV may sit top of the Eredivisie but they go into the match having suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday with PEC Zwolle seeing them off 3-1. The Eindhoven side suffered a huge injury blow during the defeat with star winger Memphis Depay tearing a groin muscle, and the attacker has been ruled out for around 6-8 weeks.

Jong PSV winger Aleksander Boljevic joined in first team training in the absence of Depay, but Cocu ruled out any chance of Zakaria Bakkali returning to the squad, telling media he was, “Absolutely not an option” after the contract dispute between the player and club.

Possible PSV line-up: Zoet, Arias, Willems, Rekik, Bruma, Guardado, Maher, Wijnaldum, Narsingh, Locadia, De Jong

Opponents Estoril have made a poor start to their league campaign and only earned their first win at the weekend with a 2-1 win over Nacional. The squad which finished fourth last season underwent an overhaul in the summer with eight new faces coming in, while twelve left including influential midfielder Evandrowho joined Porto.

Estoril took place in the Europa League last season, but like PSV they were knocked out in the group stages without a win after facing Sevilla, Slovan Liberec and Freiburg.

Possible Estoril line-up: Vagner, Mano, Tavares, Miguel, Rafael, Goncalves, Babanco, Amado, Arthuro, Seba, Kuca

Prediction:

Estoril are on paper the weakest team in the group and if PSV wan’t to reach the knockout round then they will need to record a win on Thursday with tricky ties in Russia and Greece to come. Losing Depay is a huge blow with the winger so influential to the way PSV play, but Cocu has enough talent in reserve to see PSV through this match, especially with Luciano Narsingh and Georginio Wijnaldum in good form. Estoril don’t look as strong as they were last season and PSV should be comfortable victors.

PSV 3-1 Estoril




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