Notes for New Readers

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.

Europa League SF 1st Leg

2 May - Arsenal v Valencia

Betting Odds: Arsenal 1.94 Draw 3.65 Valencia 4.4

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

Key Players


In form: Aubameyang, Lacazette, Ramsey (injured?),
Notable: Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Iwobi


In form: Guedes, Parejo
 Santi Mina, Soler, Moreno

Market and Player Assessment

Unlike the CL, there are no spoiler games scheduled for this day so all of the action will be Europa League focused. 

Tough game but Arsenal’s home form in the Europa has been solid so that is probably why they are favourites with both the betting and the algorithm. Over both legs though it is tougher and it’s an even match up.

Arsenal therefore have to take a significant advantage in this leg if they want to keep market confidence.

Could be a fair market reaction in favour of the victor particularly if it is Arsenal because if they get to the final they have more potential for increased media coverage.

Aubameyang is the form man with 2 goals in 4 and the threat to have had more. He did not score vs Napoli but he played both legs and had good chances in both games.

Lacazette is in decent form as well and did get the winner away at Napoli. Weak threat over both of those legs but he did put his single effort away (a free kick). As a dampener, he was subbed off early in both games which if repeated will hurt his scores.

Ramsey has heavy rotation given he is on his way out but did start at home vs Napoli and scored. I like him a lot as a performance player and if he starts he could do very well. He may be injured though. 

Ozil started the home leg vs Napoli but not away so could be called on. He can post a big score and is also media worthy so at £1.35 is a decent value punt. 

Longer shots are Iwobi and Maitland-Niles who could easily challenge with a goal. 

Iwobi is capable but suffers rotation making only sub appearances in both Napoli games with no impact. Seems out of form and I am not keen. 

Maitland-Niles looks a bit better as a punt, having started both games vs Napoli. Although his threat in the last 4 has been 0, he did get a good chance home vs Napoli which he fluffed. His poor passing accuracy drags him down but trends as they are and at a reasonable price, if he did get a goal it could get a sizeable market reaction. 

For Valencia, Guedes will get a lot of attention having scored two braces in his last 5. Some nice goals in there too if you can find the clips. If he shows consistency and scores again in this match people should be quick to buy him.

Parejo will always be of interest and in the home leg it is his time to shine. He could win with a good baseline alone although he is generally reliant on those penalties.

Valencia seem to be getting a lot of penalties though. He missed two in early April but has since made amends, scoring 2 penalties in the last 3 games. Only problem is nobody is interested in buying him right now trends being what they are. 

Soler will probably not start but worth highlighting as someone who could improve for next season, some nice underlying stats particularly for involvement. 

Rodrigo Moreno is usually a threat but is bang out of form. Generally a poor performance player but he is capable of 2 or 3 goals on his day which could win it. On recent match history though I would not bet on this. 

Santi Mina is a long shot budget punt with some possible transfer interest (in the Transfer Centre). Good goal threat recently and bagged a brace vs Levante on the 14th of April. Played the home leg vs Villareal so may start, this is my favourite cheap punt from Valencia.

2 May - Eintracht v Chelsea

Betting Odds: Eintracht 2.88 Draw 3.5 Chelsea 2.61

SPI Win Probability: Eintracht 34% Draw 26% Chelsea 40%

Key Players


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


In form: Giroud, Hazard, Alonso, 
Notable: Higuain, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Azpilicueta

Market and Player Assessment

Unlike the CL, there are no spoiler games scheduled for this day so all of the action will be Europa League focused.

The away leg will be tough but over the tie Chelsea are expected to win and then go on to win the final. Chelsea players may therefore be carrying high expectations that, if dashed, could hit prices.

However, there are some decent value Chelsea options that still make for good potential punts. 

Eintracht will need a decisive advantage to take away to hold their prices with the possible exception of Jovic whose main reason to hold is the transfer.

Speaking of Jovic he still looks like the danger man. He went on a streak of scoring 5 in 6 in March-April but has not scored in the last 3 outings.

That could be a reason to be down on him but his expected goals has held up and he could easily have scored in those games. I still back him particularly on a soft day where big baselines are not always required. 

Haller is a good option but is still working back from injury and may not figure. 

Rebic was in strong goal scoring form in March-April but had nothing in the last 2 games. His passes are also almost as likely to go to the opponent as his team mate. It’s really bad and it will often drag his scores down. 

I savaged Kostic in the QF preview for his poor passing and he had his revenge by pulling out his biggest ever score and winning the dividends. It’s interesting to look at how that happened!

A huge 247 in the QF which is astonishing because again his pass accuracy was 61% in that game. How did he do it? Game winning goal plus huge numbers of crosses, recoveries and interceptions. He does have this all round game but this is unusually good for him. He can pop up with big scores out of nowhere but they are hard to bet on for one match. You’d likely need to hold him long term to catch them. 

For Chelsea, they have always rotated throughout the tournament but I wonder at the business end and against tougher opposition they may change that.

If not, Giroud has started the last 4 scoring 4 goals. All those came in 2 games and in the other two he was no threat at all. So, depending on which version turns up he could do very well or not. As a punt at just 46p though this is pretty great. 

If Giroud does not play then it should be Higuain who broke his duck last time out vs Burnley but has otherwise been in poor form.

In a tough game I would expect Hazard to start. He has not played many Europa games but did start the last one vs Slavia. I can’t exactly say he is in form having gone 4 without a goal but if he plays his underlying numbers have been decent and I would make him a strong challenger.

Barkley has started 3 of the last 4 Europa ties (although does tend to get subbed off, which cost him a win in February). His usual decent threat was absent in those last 3, though. Always capable and I usually like him as a cheap punt but the form has dipped. 

Loftus-Cheek is a selection risk as always but when he does play he often puts up some great numbers with excellent passing (and accuracy) as well as some goal threat. If he started, he would be my punt pick along with Giroud.

I noted Alonso‘s improvement in the Scouting and the last Europa preview and he duly delivered a 240 score and the win on Apr 11. He has not played since then due to injury but he may be back this weekend. 

Across his last 4 his goal threat has been superb for a defender and with the market so down on him he is a value punt too.

Azpilicueta is also looking better. Does not quite have the goal threat of Alonso but he might knock in 1 goal in 6-7 at current threat level, and he has the baselines to make any goal count. Long shot but the extreme budget price makes it a reasonable bet.

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