Europe League – Europe’s most unpredictable competition starts again
The Europe League begins its group stage in September featuring a lot of British interest and some other intriguing match ups to keep an eye on.
The Europe League, the biggest of UEFA’s European Club competitions in terms of entrants, begins its group stage in September featuring a lot of British interest and some other intriguing match ups to keep an eye on.
Chelsea head to Greece to meet PAOK Salonika and also have BATE Borisov of Bulgaria and MOL Vidi of Hungary appearing for the first time so they might even be able to make it six wins out of six depending on how seriously manager Maurizio Sarri takes the competition. The prize for the winners is automatic entry into next seasons Champions League however so it is nothing to be sniffed at.
Arsenal and Unai Emery begin their first European campaign together welcoming Ukrainian minnows FC Vorskla Poltava to the Emirates and will be overwhelming favourites to win. Sporting Lisbon and FK Qarabag of Azerbaijan stand in their way and the knock out stages but you would still have to fancy the Gunners to shoot into the next round.
Celtic have a tougher task with Norweigian champions Rosenborg, RB Leipzig and big spending FC Red Bull Salzburg but will be hard to beat at their Glasgow fortress of Celtic Park. City neighbours Rangers under European veteran Steven Gerrard face some tough although not top-level opposition in Rapid Vienna, Spartak Moscow and Villarreal from Spain.
Burnley were knocked out in contentious circumstances to Greek side Olympiakos who face off with Italian giants AC Milan and Real Betis from la liga in Group F as a reward.
Elsewhere in the competition Lazio and Marseille should emerge from Group H but Entrechat Frankfurt with a fierce European pedigree won’t make it easy for them. Zenit St Petersburg should get out of Group C with Bordeaux but FC Copenhagen and Slavia Prague will fancy themselves. Nobody will look forward to long winter trips to Dynamo Kiev and Spanish heavyweights Sevilla will be able to have the run of Group J while you cannot look past Bayer Leverkusen in Group A although FC Zurich should progress alongside them.
The group stage of the competition runs until December then the knockout phase begins when the 24 groups qualifiers made up of the winners and runners up, are joined by the eight Champions League teams that finished third in their groups. They then play on a two-legged knockout basis until the final on Wednesday May 29th to be held for the first time in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.
This competition is harder to predict as you have eight Champions League teams coming into the knockout stage but there is a lot of value and profit to be made from some mismatches. If you think you can spot where the weak links are going to come undone then head to Profit Accumulator, the UK’s largest matched betting community with 7 days a week customer support and new innovations such as Oddsmatcher to help you get the maximum value from your selections.
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