Thu, Apr 19, 8:18am by Staff Writer
The Europa League is down to the final four remaining sides who are in search of the European silverware and the much-coveted qualification into next season’s Champions League. UEFA added the extra bonus to boost the credibility of the Europa League in a bid to entice more fans to engage with the competition. Clubs have certainly got behind the move, highlighted by Manchester United’s victory last season at the expense of poor domestic form.
Of the four teams left, the two favourites will meet each other in the semi-final, as Atletico Madrid take on Arsenal. The Spanish giants are sitting comfortably in La Liga in 2nd place so their driving force will not be the Champions League qualification. Instead it is much needed silverware that Atletico need to elevate them closer to the status of rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid. They last won the Europa League in 2012 and have a squad capable of doing it again. As they look to send off stalwart Fernando Torres in style as he leaves at the end of the season. They stand at $2.
Arsenal are the polar opposite of Atletico, they desperately want and need qualification into next season’s Champions League. The financial benefit and credibility for signing new players is vital if they are to bounce back from a disappointing season. They sit 6th in the EPL whilst also struggling in the two domestic cup competitions. They have, however, played some impressive football in the Europa League this season and are priced at $4.33. Being drawn against Atletico though means they face the toughest route to glory.
In the second semi-final Red Bull Salzburg will take on Marseille.
RB Salzburg produced an incredible comeback in their quarter final as they overcame Lazio. Having lost 4-2 in the 1st leg, the Austrian side required a miracle to reach the semi-finals and they managed to produce it. The 4-1 win secured a 6-5 aggregate win despite Lazio scoring the first goal on the night. They are looking to be the first Austrian side to make the Final since 1994 when they did so as Casino Salzburg and lost out to Inter Milan prior to their name change. They stand at $6.
Marseille will enter this clash as favourites as they are priced at $4.50 to win the competition outright. They required an emphatic 5-2 win to get past German side RB Leipzig in the quarter finals. Playmaker Dimitri Payet will be the dangerman for the French club as they aim to go one better than the two runners up places they achieved in 1991 and 2004.
Europa League Odds – Sportsbet
Atletico Madrid $2
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