Europa League Outright Preview

Uefa Europa League

Published: 02/02/2012

The UEFA Europa League may at times prove to play a rather disappointing support role to the Champions League however there are lots of sizeable outright odds available for backers as the tournament prepares to resume at the last 32 stage.

The tournament will be strengthened by the addition of eight Champions League drop out clubs which include the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City.

It is the latter that currently heads the market at 5/1 however Roberto Mancini’s side must first navigate a stern examination against Porto if those odds are to be justified.

City were unlucky not to progress in the Champions League having accrued ten points in the group stage – a tally usually sufficient enough to move through to the last 16.

But ultimately, the Blues were edged out by Bayern Munich and Napoli, two teams with a far healthier and greater European pedigree – and Port are very much of the same ilk.

United cannot really be taken seriously as 7/1 second favourites, especially considering that manager Alex Ferguson will have little interest in the tournament with Premier League matters on his mind and the club’s crushing Champions League exit at the hands of Basle still fresh in the memory.

United’s last 32 opponents are Ajax and the Dutch side’s outright odds of 66/1 may begin to look a bit of a steal if they can negotiate their way past the Red Devils who are likely to field a second string team.

Udinese are excellent at home and they could be big dangers at 25/1 with PAOK up next for them.

Compatriots Lazio are also well priced at 20/1and together with Udinese, the Italians could have a real strong hand moving into the latter stages of the competition.

But it is from Spain where the likely winner could emerge. Although Atletico Madrid look like being sent packing against Lazio and Athetic Bilbao face a tough test against Lokomotiv Moscow, Valencia appear to have all the right credentials to pick up European Club football’s second prize.

Unai Emery’s men were probably a bit unlucky to miss out on the last 16 of the Champions League having looked more than a match for Chelsea despite ultimately succumbing to a 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in the deciding group fixture.

Sitting third in La Liga behind the big two of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Valencia have a lot of class and a squad which looks far too good for the majority of the opposition left in the Europa League. They are a powerful unit at the Mestalla and although they can sometimes be found out on their travels, Valencia progress comfortably through to the end of this competition by getting the job done at home.

Stoke are up first for the 2000 and 2001 Champions League runners-up and in all truth it looks to be a bit of a European mismatch on paper.

At 14/1, there doesn’t appear to be greater value amongst the remaining 32 clubs and the Spaniards hold big claims based on their talent and experience on the big stages of European football.

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Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (02/02/2012) but are subject to change.

02/02/2012     © Frixo 2018

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