Soccer's UEFA Cup Group Stages Begin
By Staff
Following the completion of three qualifying rounds, the UEFA Cup gets back underway tonight with 40 teams from around Europe battling it out to see who will make it to May’s final in Istanbul.

The teams have been organised into eight groups containing five teams each and tonight sees the first round of games. Four sides from England have made it through to the group stages with three of these taking to the pitch tonight.

Tottenham Hotspur are rooted to the bottom of the Premiership and must now face high-flying Udinese, currently sitting second in Italy’s Serie A. Online bookmakers do not see a ‘Spurs’ victory as impossible with,,, and giving odds of 3/1 that the London-based side will leave Udine victorious. However, a home win is seen as likely with,,,,, and going with evens. A draw would not be a bad result for Tottenham and is offering 5/2 while most others including,,, and are listing 9/4.

Having one of their best seasons in decades, Aston Villa host Dutch giants Ajax with nearly everyone including, and offering the home side at odds of 4/5.,,,, and are offering ‘The Villains’ at 5/6 while is going with 4/6. An away win is unlikely with and offering 15/4 while and are going with 7/2.

While Manchester City delay its first round of games, Portsmouth rounds out the English interest in the UEFA Cup. The south coast side host Portugal’s Braga with bookmakers including making them narrow favourites at 11/8. is offering 7/5 for a home win while,, and have 6/4. A Braga victory is down as 8/5 with, and followed by,,, at 13/8.
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