Europa League PreviewA great European competition that offers excellent entertainment for most despite playing second fiddle to the Champions League. In this year’s edition of the UEFA Europa League, we have a couple of big teams, such as Arsenal, Manchester United, Roma, Malmo and Real Sociedad, who will be looking to go as far as possible in the competition. All European competitions this season will be condensed to accommodate for the FIFA World Cup in November, so players will be stretched to their limit. 

Read on to find out who will play against who and which team has the better chance of progressing to the knockout stage.

Group A 

Arsenal – PSV – Bodo/Glimt – FC Zurich

Arsenal look like the team to beat with a very impressive start to the season, contrasting to last season’s opening few games. Mikel Arteta has imprinted his ideology on his Arsenal squad and with the new signing of Gabriel Jesus lookinn like the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Arsenal are the outright favourites to win the group at 1/3 (1.33) but have tricky fixture to manage. Ruud van Nisterlrooy’s PSV put up a great fight against Rangers in the qualifying stages of the Champions League but they the Dutch side got the Europa League to contend with. PSV are at 6/1 (5.00) to nip first place. Bodo/Glimt will host a tricky round of fixtures in Norway as their opponents need to adjust to the pitch being of the artificial nature and also the extreme wheather up north. The Norwegian team are listed as outsiders but aren’t far off an incredible match that will change the dynamic of the group. We are pricing Bodo/Glimt changes to win the group at 10/1 (11.00) whilst FC Zurich are at 14/1 (15.00) to stake a claim to Group A. 

Group B 

Dynamo Kyiv – Rennes – Fenerbahce – AEK Larnaca

This season will be the 17th consecutive season that Dynamo Kyiv have qualified for a UEFA group stage but this campaign will be different. The Blue and Whites will play their home fixtures in the Polish city of Krakow due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s a massive achievement on it’s own that Mircea Lucescu’s team made it to the group stages, their chances of winning the group are slim and thus priced at 7/2 (4.50) Favourites to finish top of the group are Stade Rennais at 11/8 (2.37) who reached the round of 16 of the Europa Conference League last time round. The French outfit have only lost four of their last 26 European home games, one of which came against Dynamo Kyiv in 2018. Fenerbache, who beat Slovacko and Austria Wien to qualify for the UEFA group stage are at 7/4 (2.75) to win the group. Last season the Yellow Canaries finished third in Group D, so will be hoping to improve on that performance this time around. Lastly, AEK Larnaca ended their four-year exile from group phases by beating Partizan and Dnipro-1 in the qualifiers. The Cypriot side doesn’t boast an impressive record in Europe; they won only two games from the 12 group matches, so they are likely to finish rock bottom in Group B, their chances to win the group are at 8/1 (9.00)

Group C 

Roma – Ludogorets – Real Betis – HJK

Roma enter the Europa League group stage in high spirits as they lifted the UEFA Europa Conference League with serial winner Jose Mourinho pulling the strings. Roma are once again being tipped to have what it takes to go deep into this competition and are priced at 2/3 (1.67). Their Spanish counterparts, Real Betis, will be eyeing their first continental quarter-final since 1998 and are priced at 17/9 (2.90) to top Group C. Ludogorets will be competing in their ninth group stage in the last decade, beating sutjeska Niksic, Shamrock Rovers and Zalgiris Vilnius in qualifiers. The record for the Bulgarian champions is not favourable at all; they finished bottom of their group in each of the last two seasons. Ludogorets are priced at 12/1 (13.00), and rounding off the group are HJK at 12/1 (13.00) to win the group. 

Group D 

Braga – Malmo – Union Berlin – Union Saint Gilloise

Braga, a consistent presence in the Europa League, the Archbishops have only failed to get out of their group once, reaching the quarter-finals just last season. This time around the group might be their toughest one yet. Braga are at 2/1 (3.00) to win the group. Union Berlin made their UEFA group stage debut last season when they qualified for the Europa Conference League. An impressive fifth-place finish in the Bundesliga last season will make Urs Fischer’s team serious contenders to win the group at 7/4 (2.75) . A few KM across the border in Belgium, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise will be making its maiden appearance in the group phase of the competition. The debutants are priced at 4/1 (5.00), placing them on an equal par as Malmo, who are competing in their seventh group phase in the last 11 years. 

Group E

Manchester United – Real Sociedad – Sheriff – Amonia

Manchester United are under new management once again, as Erik ten Hag takes on the task of rebuilding the once dominant force. When featuring in this competition, the Red Devils managed to reach the Final, only winning it once. This time around, United should not face difficulties making it through this group, and we are pricing them to win the group at 4/7 (1.57). A Spanish club always manages to cause United trouble as they lost their last two finals against Sevilla and Villareal, this time it’s Real Sociedad’s turn to torment the Red Devils. La Real ended as runners-up in their last three groups, so this will be the minimum target for Imanol Alguacil’s team. Real Sociedad are at 2/1 (3.00) to win Group E. FC Sheriff Tiraspol announced themselves when they beat the eventual Champions League winners Real Madrid at the Bernabeu – something no other team managed to do in the competition last season. Sadly, the manager and half of their mainstay team are departing to join the Ukrainian army, so their chances might be very slim; they are at 12/1 (13.00). Will Omonia Nicosia have what it takes to challenge the big two? They need to have a huge turnaround to pull it off as they’ve won just one of 12 group games in this competition.

Group F 

Lazio – Feyenoord – Midtjylland – SK Sturm Graz

Last season’s Europa Conference League finalists Feyenoord will be hoping for a similarly lengthy run in this competition. Last season the Dutch side played 19 matches in Europe, giving them great experience which might prove invaluable this season. Feyenoord are priced at 12/5 (3.40) who are paired up against Lazio who are familiar faces, given that they’ve featured in the Europa League group phase eight times in the last decade. I Biancocelesti are priced at 9/10 (1.90) to push throught to the knockout stages. Meanwhile, the Norwegian side Midjylland will be competing in their thirst successive season in the group stage but they won just two out of their last 16 matches in this stage. Their chances to win the group are priced at 6.1 (7.00), same as the chances of SK Sturm Graz who finished the rock bottom last season. 

Group G 

Olympiacos – Qarabag FK – SC Freiburg – Nantes 

A very interesting group with great potential to be an entertaining one as all clubs are in a good position to progress to the knockout stages. Two teams who lack experience in UEFA competitions come from the ‘big five leagues – Nantes and Freiburg. Nantes have struggled to get off to a good start in the French Ligue 1 and are priced at 3/2 (4.35), on the other hand, Freiburg are a favourable bet to win the group as they got off to a brilliant start and are at 3/2 (2.50). Then we have the vastly experienced European side Olympiacos who reached the knockout stage in each of the last four seasons. Currently, affairs are a bit rocky for the Greek Champions as they sacked their manager and suffered a humiliating defeat by Maccabi Haifa but are still at 2/1 (3.00) to win the group nonetheless. FK Qarabag are the least favourite to win the group as they are priced at 13/2 (7.50)

Group H

Crevena zvezda – Monaco – Ferencvaros – Trabzonspor

Another group that does not feature an obvious front runner nor an underdog. All teams in the last group have been beaten in the Champions League qualifying last month. Red Star Belgrade, also known as Crevena zvezda, failed to make it past Rangers in the last 16 of this tournament and are priced at 10/3 (4.35). Monaco will be competing in their sixth group stage since 2015, reaching the round of 16 last season. Los Monegasques failed to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition when they where defeated by PSV Eindhoven after extra time. Monaco are the theoretical favourites at 6/5 (2.20), whilst Ferencvaros make their return after a 15-year absence from the European scene. The Green Eagles are yet to reach the knockout stage and we are pricing them at 9/2 (5.50) to top the group. Trabzonspor are the last teams in this group, qualifying after winning their first Super Lig title since 1984 last season. They are winless in 13 European matches, losing nine of them, a record Abdullah Avci’s team will look to put right. We are pricing the Turkish team’s chances at 10/3 (4.35)

Outright Winner

The Europa League is a special competition that produces great moments, teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal will be looking to win the competition as a means to get into next year’s Champions League as well as adding to the trophy cabinet. Each team will be involved in a jam packed schedule with games on a Thursday night being somewhat difficult to manage for player’s stamina and recovery periods. The two most likely teams to win this season’s UEFA Europa League are Manchester United at 7/1 (8.00) and Arsenal who are at 11/2 (6.50)

As mentioned above, these big teams might put less focus on this competition which might give other, so to say, smaller teams a chance to progress. As our outsider that might be a good shout at winning the competition we have Roma at 14/1 (15.00), this comes with the widely experienced manager Jose Mourinho and also Union Berlin at 40/1 (41.00) who might surprise a few people with their performance in Europe. 


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