Europa League Play Off

This year the Europa League will have some big teams competing for it, with the likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Arsenal, Juventus and Ajax all in the mix. For some teams, this trophy will provide the ticket to play Champions League football next year, and for some, it will quench the thirst for a European title. 

In this blog, we are going to preview the play-off fixtures. This means that teams who came in second in the Europa League group play against the teams that have been relegated from Champions League football as they finished in third place in their respective group. 

Barcelona V Manchester United 

One of the biggest games of the Europa League play-offs will surely be the battle between Barcelona and Manchester United, both of which are undergoing a transition. Manchester United newly appointed manager Erik Ten Hag will hope to get stability back to Old Trafford. Xavi, on the other hand, will hope to get Barcelona back on their feet after what has been a very difficult season, especially owing to their financial troubles. 

Dropping down from the Champions League after finishing third in the group is a hard pill to swallow, especially for Barcelona who are in desperate need of money. The group in which Barcelona competed was very competitive, but they failed to beat Inter on both occasions, which ultimately sealed their faith in the Europa League. The football that Xavi is trying to implement is very similar to the way Pep Guardiola set his team up in the past. The talisman Lionel Messi is irreplaceable, especially in Champions League games where his magical left foot could conjure the winning goal. 

On the other hand, Manchester United are focusing more on building a team that is capable of competing at the highest level. Dutch manager Erik Ten Hag, is focusing on young players, and the signings brought in have proved to be successful especially Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez. We are anticipating a very tense game as both teams fear an early exit from their only European competition this year. 

Both teams to score is priced at 3/5 (1.60) with Barcelona to win and over 2.50 goals at 11/8 (2.37). Manchester United to score first is priced at 7/4 (2.75) and a correct score of 2-1 for Manchester United is priced at 31/4 (8.75)

Ajax V Union Berlin 

Ajax have struggled to keep up with other teams in the Champions League and have thus been relegated to the Europa League playoffs. Their respective group was a difficult one as they were up against Liverpool, Napoli and Rangers. After the summer transfer window it would be hard for any team to remain competitive as their manager, star winger and centre-back all left for Manchester United. Ajax now line up against Union Berlin, who in the Bundesliga have started the campaign very well but fell off from that initial surge as the games piled up. 

Union Berlin have been playing a very attractive brand of football. Instead of sitting deep and inviting pressure to then strike with a counter attack, they instead try and put the team on the back foot. Berlin will hope to replicate the heroics that Eintracht Frankfurt did last season when they lifted the trophy. 

Having both sides eager to get at the opposing defence and cause havoc will surely make it for an interesting viewing especially for the neutrals. We are pricing both teams to score at 13/20 (1.65) with Ajax to win and over 2.50 goals in the match at 7/5 (2.40). 

Sevilla vs PSV 

PSV found themselves up against Arsenal in the group and managed to get themselves in second place, but now, they are up against Sevilla. The Spanish side haven’t enjoyed their time in the opening stages of this season, suffering one of their worst starts in their La Liga history. Currently they find themselves in the relegation positions but still in one of the top international competitions. PSV have recently lost their main man in Cody Gakpo after he was heavily linked with Manchester United but Liverpool snatched him for a very good fee. 

Ruud Van Nistelrooy will surely have his hands full trying to keep his side on an upward trajectory and a push for a title such as the Europa League won’t do them any harm. Sevilla, on the other hand, might rescue their season with a run in the Europa League so this game might be pivotal in their season. The game of football is all about confidence and the Spanish side are quite low on it. 

Both teams to score in the first match is valued at 13/20 (1.65) with a Sevilla correct score win of 2-0 at 6/1 (7.00)

Juventus v Nantes 

The Italian giants have endured a couple of seasons where their stronghold on the Serie A title has been toppled. European competitions haven’t been Juventus’ best friend, as they always seem to fall at the last hurdle. Up against Nantes, they will surely fancy their chances after being knocked down from the Champions League by Benfica, who surprised us all and finished top of the group. Juventus are up to third place in the Serie A after a very solid end of 2022. 

On the other hand, FC Nantes have a tall order if they have to make it to the next round of this competition. Sitting in 14th place in the French League and just four points above the relegation zone, things are not looking that bright for Les jaunes et verts. 

We are pricing a home win without conceding a goal in the first leg at 1/1 (2.00)


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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing

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