Tue, Mar 27, 10:05am by Staff Writer
The Europa League is down to the quarter finals with only eight teams still contention to lift the trophy. For many of these sides it is the qualification for the Champions League that comes alongside the trophy that is driving them to succeed. Indeed, for several of them it may be their only way to play Champions League football next season.
Atletico Madrid stand as favourites to lift the trophy that they last won back in 2012 in an all-Spanish final against Athletic Bilbao was. Sitting 2nd in La Liga behind Barcelona, Atletico are almost assured qualification for the Champions League, but it is silverware that they grave. Often playing as the 3rd wheel to Barcelona and Real Madrid, it is important that Atletico continue to add trophies to their impressive performances. They stand at $2.30 as they take on Sporting Lisbon.
Sporting have never won a game on Spanish soil, and these two sides battled it out to two draws the last time they met in the 2012 Round of 16. They are certainly up against it as they face Atletico and are priced at $23 to one better than 2005 when they were runners up.
Languishing in 6th position in the EPL, 13 points from the top four that would secure Champions League qualification, Arsenal are a side desperate to win the Europa League. It would be a much-needed boost with a trophy for Arsene Wenger as well as a place at the top table next season. At $3.50 they appear on track to achieve that goal after an impressive victory over AC Milan in the last Round.
They face the tricky task of taking on CSKA Moscow over two legs. One of which will be in Moscow which could well prove to be tough. CSKA dropped into the Europa League as they failed to advance in the Champions League from a group containing Arsenal’s compatriots Manchester United. It is unlikely, however, that they will be sharing secrets. CSKA stand at $34 to win the competition.
Similarly, RB Leipzig fell out of the Champions League after coming 3rd to Besiktas and Porto, finishing ahead of French side Monaco. They will make another trip to France to take on Marseille in the quarter finals of the Europa League. The Germans have been unable to match their exploits in the Bundesliga this season and will be hoping for more success in this competition at $8.50.
Marseille sit 3rd in Ligue 1 and realistically this is their best hope, but they are priced at $10.
Lazio and Salzburg make up the last tie in the quarter finals. Despite having beat Lazio home and away in the 2009/10 group stage as well as being unbeaten this year in the competition Salzburg stand at $15 compared to the Italians at $8.50. This will be an intriguing tie as Salzburg look to be the first Austrian team to win the Europa League.
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