Europa League Favourites
While the Europa League doesn’t draw as much excitement from fans as the Champions League does, there are still some top teams competing in the competition. The most successful club when it comes to Europa League titles is Sevilla. The Spanish outfit has won the competition on five occasions and incredibly they have won it for the last three years running. Let’s take a look at who Paddy Power are backing to win it this year.
1.Manchester United 5/1
Jose Mourinho’s new team is currently the bookies favourite to lift the trophy come May next year. Although the Red Devils haven’t got off to the best of starts this season, it comes as little surprise that they are being backed to win the Europa League. With a squad featuring a number of high profile players, one would expect them to canter through to the semi-finals at least.
Mourinho will want to win it in his first season at United and he will definitely go all out to win; even if it isn’t Europe’s top competition. To make this even more important for the club is the fact that they more than likely have blown their chances of winning the Premier League so will see the Europa League as a must win.
2. Roma 17/2
The Italians could well have been competing in the Champions League this season but fell at the final qualifying hurdle to Porto. Now they have to set their sights on going all the way in the Europa League and they will feel that they have the squad to challenge anyone they face. They have a strong looking squad featuring top international players such as Daniele De Rossi, Stephan El Shaarawy and Kevin Stootman.
Roma are looking dangerous so far in the Serie A and the Europa League and they will want to keep building up confidence as the season wears on. A really decent bet they may be.
3. Schalke 04 12/1
This is a German club that doesn’t make as many headlines as Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund do but can still play some top football. They were winners of the UEFA Cup in the 1996/97 season and what better way to celebrate that anniversary than by winning it again 20 years later. So far they have made a very promising start to this season’s campaign and they have definitely sent out a strong message that they are contenders for the title.
4. Shakhtar Donetsk 12/1
The Ukrainians won the Europa League back in the 2008/09 season. In recent years the battle for top spot in Ukraine has been between themselves and Dynamo Kiev. While they lost out on top spot in the league for the last two seasons, they will be eager to go all the way in the Europa League to restore some pride.
Up front they have former Arsenal forward Eduardo while Croatian defender Darijo Srna offers lots of experience. They are far from favourites but definitely capable of surprising a few.
5. Zenit St Petersburg 14/1
They won the UEFA Cup, as it was known back then, in 2007/08 and their fans will be desperate to see them do it again this season. Mention the name Zenit and people don’t immediately regard them as a threat but they have some more than useful players.
Up front they rely on Aleksandr Kokorin and Artem Dzyuba while in midfield their Belgian star Axel Witsel plays a vital role. Russian teams are always strong at home and most teams will not fancy playing a knockout game there. Definitely not everyone’s favourite but nevertheless a team to look out for.