The Europa League has many of the same features as a Champions League day, however, the trader hype is generally not as big. We do have two big EPL teams left in the contest and they should get interest. 

Whilst the Europa is not quite as exciting as the CL, we are still talking about treble days with limited games and they can be a good dividend source. And if it looks like Arsenal or Chelsea might win it later on, there is media there too. 

Europa League involvement can give a player more shelf life in the season, but you have to be a bit more careful with them than a strong CL contender in case others choose to cash out ahead of the season end.

That said, if you find a player at the right price, or can find a player with Europa involvement that also fits the shift towards Summer, there are still good picks out there.  

Personally, if I feel like a punt, I prefer to go for the dark horses rather than the obvious. If the trade does not work out, the ones who have been lightly bought in anticipation will not drop as much. And, at cheaper prices, that dividend pay off is sweeter. 

Otherwise, another good strategy is to buy the obvious very early and sell to those buying late in the build up.

As with the CL, we can loosen up our requirements when looking for performance players here since they will, on average, be able to win with 150-175’s rather than 200’s. 

Again, there is no competing league games on April 11th however note we have 4 games in play rather than just 2 for the Champions League. 

Europa League QF 1st Leg

11th April - Arsenal v Napoli

Betting Odds: Arsenal 2.29 Draw 3.6 Napoli 3.25

SPI Win Probability: Arsenal 44% Draw 26% Napoli 30%

Key Players


In form: Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ramsey
Notable: Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil


In form: Insigne, Verdi, Mertens
 Milik, Callejon, 

Market and Player Assessment

Tough match up. Arsenal probably slight favourites to win on the night but in the tie as a whole it is very much a 50/50. This will make many reluctant to punt. Should be nice rewards for the winners and possibly a bit of a kicking for the losers.

Arsenal need a decisive advantage to take to away leg or the market will swiftly swing towards Napoli especially given Arsenal’s dire European performances away from the Etihad.

Aubameyang and Lacazette are the big goal threats for Arsenal obviously and are both looking strong lately. Neither are amazing performance players but with fewer matches on the night they have a good chance. Lacazette would be my pick. 

Close behind is Ramsey who has a bit less threat but makes up for it with better overall involvement. Nice goal for him last time out and if this is him hitting form he could do really well. 

Other shouts are Iwobi and Mkhitaryan who could easily challenge with a goal. Both have the current Expected Goals to give about 1 goal in 5 games so it’s a long shot but could happen.

Ozil is always worth a mention as he is a cut price minor media magnet. Not much consistent threat recently but involvement is good. 

Insigne is the main man for Napoli and appears to be fit after an injury scare. But that’s worth checking on. Excellent stats from him lately and would not surprise me if he did well.

Verdi is also a great player who has had an injury ravaged season. Great recent stats and had his goal been the matchwinner at the weekend just gone he would have been pushing 200. For the cut price, a great punt although off trend in many ways. I think many are unaware how good he could be. One to watch in pre-season for sure. 

Milik and Mertens have strong goal threat. Milik may win on a soft day but he is a poor performance player in general. Mertens is better but may be injured.

Callejon is probably a bit underated and is not a bad dividend punt at his cut price. He is another like Verdi who could have had a big score recently if he happened to hit the game winning goal.

11th April - Benfica v Eintracht

Betting Odds: Benfica 2.32 Draw 3.54 Eintracht 3.24

SPI Win Probability: Benfica 46% Draw 26% Eintracht 28%

Key Players


In form: None
Notable: Felix, Pizzi, Seferovic, Grimaldo


In form: Jovic
Notable: Haller (injured?) Kostic

Market and Player Assessment

Another fairly even match up although Benfica will be the favourites at home. 

This is as much about the general performance rather than just the scoring because it is a showcase for talent most notably Felix and Jovic. Defender Grimaldo is also attracting attention for a big Summer transfer. If any of them score or shine, particularly Felix, there will be lots of market attention on them.

I am not sure the market will be too bothered if either Felix or Jovic look like going out because it is the transfer speculation that is the main reason to hold them.

For Benfica, I can’t find anyone particularly in form bar veteran striker Jonas who is not on FI. I like Pizzi as the performance pick. Felix just behind him in performance terms but given the hype he has the potential to rocket if he scores. He is not in amazing form but he’s doing well, 1 goal in the last 2 and decent threat.

Seferovic is also decent for threat but his baselines will be low.

Eintracht’s main man is Jovic obviously and he is looking in decent form. Haller is also good on these limited game nights but may be injured. 

Arguably Kostic is the form man and people will remember his recent win. However, he looks a good performance player on the surface but you have to look at his DIRE passing accuracy. If not for that, he would be a beast. But as it is, he will need 2 goals and he doesn’t have the threat to do that consistently. 

11th April - Slavia Prague v Chelsea

Betting Odds: Slavia 5.75 Draw 3,98 Chelsea 1.7

SPI Win Probability: Slavia 9% Draw 22% Chelsea 69%

Key Players


In form: None
Notable: None


In form: Giroud, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi
Notable: Hazard, Higuain, Alonso

Market and Player Assessment

Should be an absolute walkover according to the betting, the algorithm and common sense.

With that in mind, there could be rotation which has been common in the Europa League for Chelsea. 

Giroud, Barkley and Hudson-Odoi look strong if playing. Giroud looks deadly, with a hatrick in the last Europa game and 2 goals in the break for France.

Barkley has his critics but for FI purposes he is a superb player. His recent goal threat is good and he usually has strong possession too. If Hudson-Odoi is given a start he has been doing well in the Europa with goals in both of the last 2. It was very soft opposition, though, but then, it is again here. 

Obviously, you can’t count out the usual suspects like Hazard or Higuain if playing but personally I am expecting rotation as that has been Sarri’s way previously. He may well stop that towards the business end of the Europa but with such a soft match my guess is he won’t. 

As noted in the Scouting section, Alonso has been improving in FI terms (if not in reality!). 

With no disrespect intended for what should surely be the many Slavia fans reading, I can find nothing to be excited about in Chelsea’s opponents!


11th April - Villareal v Valencia

Betting Odds: Villareal 2.68 Draw 3.32 Valencia 2.88

SPI Win Probability: 38% Draw 27% Valencia 36%

Key Players


In form: None
Notable: Chukwueze, Fornals, Cazorla


In form: None
Notable: Parejo, Rodrigo Moreno, Guedes, 

Market and Player Assessment

Another close game and the betting and the algorithm has this pegged as an equal match up. Certainly with Valencia away at least, I agree. Although I would expect Valencia to win over both legs. 

Nobody particularly stands out for Valencia at the moment. Parejo will be the go to man although I would tend to back him more in the home leg where high possession is more likely.

You can never count him out but his goal threat is mainly from penalties, so he is in the notable category rather than form despite recent dividend wins. It’s hard to predict a penalty so it’s not something that is easy to punt on for one game. 

Rodrigo Moreno is usually a threat, 1 goal in 6 though so hardly on fire. Generally a poor performance player but he is capable of 2 or 3 goals on his day which could win it. 

Guedes is the other notable, he has potential although is not particularly in form. If he did well though he might get attention.

For Villareal I think Chukwueze should hog the attention if he gets a start or comes on from the bench to score. He’s got a lot of potential and is a young up and comer. With Villareal flirting with relegation he may end up in a fire sale and moving somewhere decent. 

Same could go for Fornals who is also potentially a very good FI player. But he has rotation problems at the moment, with sub appearances in the last 2. He is also in a goal drought despite a smattering of chances. 


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