Wed, Jan 3, 10:32am by Staff Writer
The Europa League has reached the Round of 32 stage following the conclusion of the groups. At this point in the competition in the group winners and runners up are joined by eight third placed teams from the Champions League group stage. Meaning there are some top quality sides in with a chance of European silverware. Matches for the Round of 32 will take place from Friday 16th February (AEDT).
Athletico Madrid stand as favourites having dropped into the Europa League after failing to secure a spot in the further stages of the Champions League. A disappointing campaign saw them draw four matches with only the one win. Currently sitting second in La Liga, they are in fine form and will certainly have eyes on silverware. They are priced at $4.33.
English side Arsenal will undoubtedly be targeting a Europa League victory as a possible path into the Champions League next season. They are struggling domestically to match the might of Manchester City and the other top sides, so they will view the Europa as a huge boost. They stand at $6 behind Athletico, although if they fail to secure their star players in the January transfer market then that price could well lengthen. With Alexis Sanchez’s and Mesut Ozil’s future under speculation.
Borussia Dortmund are having a poor season by their standards as they sit 3rd in the Bundesliga. Boasting several world class players, however, they are a real threat in this competition. If the likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can rediscover their form then they look well priced at $9.50.
Despite leading Serie A, Napoli struggled in the Champions League and will have to take their chances in the Europa League. Although they face a tricky task in the Round of 32, as they will have to over RB Leipzig ($15) who have been impressive in the Bundesliga this year. Napoli match Dortmund at $9.50.
AC Milan’s struggles in Serie A this season have been well documented, and they will view the Europa League as an escape. One in which they will aim to regain confidence and form. Standing at $11 they are certainly not favourites but do have the quality to spring a surprise.
At this stage of the competition there are plenty of teams capable of winning the tournament with fairly long odds. Lyon and Lazio stand at $15 with both sides having the potential to go all the way in the Europa League.
An outside shot at glory would be Russian side, CSKA Moscow. Their performances in the Champions League suggests they have the quality to take on the best sides in Europe on their day. Priced at $51, CSKA will prove a difficult opponent for any of the clubs left in the competition as it progresses.
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