Europa League Winner Odds: Chelsea 4/1 favourites ahead of competition return

Europa League Winner Odds: Chelsea 4/1 favourites ahead of competition return

Europa League Winner Odds: Chelsea 4/1 favourites ahead of competition return

The Europa League is back next week, with Europe’s secondary club competition commencing at the round of 32 stage.

As ever, two teams from each group have made it through the group stages and have been joined by a further eight teams from the Champions League, all of whom finished third in their respective groups.

There are a number of big names in the draw for the first knockout round and, as ever, the competition is wide open for any team to come through and win it. Reigning champions Atletico Madrid are in the knockout stages of the Champions League, so we are guaranteed a new Europa League winner this time around.

Chelsea favourites, Arsenal second

Chelsea are the current favourites in the betting market to win the competition, being priced at 4/1 with the majority of bookmakers. Maurizio Sarri’s men comfortably made it through to the last 32 of the competition, coming through a group featuring BATE Borisov, PAOK and MOL Vidi.

Maurizio Sarri’s team also arguably have the best player in the competition in Eden Hazard, who revealed earlier this week that he already knows what he will do in the summer and, if it is to join Real Madrid, will want to leave Stamford Bridge with some silverware.

Behind Chelsea are Arsenal at 6/1, with the two Premier League sides being the favourites to go all the way this season. The Gunners have been in the competition for the last two seasons and are desperate to return to the Champions League to help secure further funds to boost their squad.

Arsenal made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season, but crashed out of the competition to eventual winners Atletico Madrid over two legs, as they went on to beat Marseille. Unai Emery may well also be a big part of the fact they are second-favourites, having won the Europa League on three occasions during his time as Sevilla manager.

There have been two English winners of the Europa League since the competition rebranded in 2008 in Chelsea and Manchester United, while Fulham and Liverpool have also been runners-up in years past.

Other Contenders

Behind Chelsea and Arsenal in the betting market is Serie A side Napoli, who are led by former Stamford Bridge boss Carlo Ancelotti. Napoli gave Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain a run for their money in the group stages of the Champions League and boast one of the best home advantages in the competition at the Stadio San Paolo.

Behind 7/1 Napoli are domestic rivals Inter Milan, who are priced at a generous 10/1. It is generous considering the team’s current form in Serie A, but they will feel confident against any side given the fact they have Mauro Icardi in their ranks.

In terms of other British interest, Celtic also remain in the competition, with Brendan Rodgers’ side coming out of a competitive group featuring Salzburg, RB Leipzig and Rosenborg. The Scottish champions have a testing clash with Valencia in the first knockout round and are subsequently priced at 120/1 with Unibet to go on and win the competition.

Celtic Park is a ferocious ground to visit on a European night, although Rodgers and his men are really punching above their weight once it gets past the group stages of European competition.

Outside of the top four and Celtic, there are still some huge names in European football still left in the Europa League. Five-time winners of the competition since 2005 Sevilla should be written off with peril, having had such a superb pedigree in recent years.

AC Milan (25/1), Valencia (25/1), Lazio (33/1), Villarreal (33/1), Bayer Leverkusen (33/1) and Benfica (33/1) are other notable names with big odds to go all the way. Marseille were outsiders last season and made it all the way to the final before being well-beaten by Diego Simeone’s Atletico.

One team to watch also is Austrian side Salzburg (25/1), who are a team used to winning games both domestically and in the Europa League, having made the semi-finals against Marseille last season. They have dropped just six points and are unbeaten in the Austrian Bundesliga this term, while also winning all six of their group games in the Europa League, scoring 17 goals in the process.