It’s taken me a couple of days to run through all of the Europa league players for the Round of 32 (R32). I’ve filtered out the chaff to find the players most likely to get market attention in the lead up to and during the next round of Europa games.
This should save members a lot of time, and provides a wide variety of players to pick from.
I have filtered this down to 18 Key Players and 11 cheaper punts below for members. You can click on each one to see my thoughts on all of them, just like scouting.
I’ve considered both their prospects in this coming Round and for the rest of the season as a whole.
The R32 starts on 20th February. This year, I recommend doing any last minute European shopping at least a month in advance, so I’m running this article at the right time.
I will do a similar preview of the Champions League R16 next week as early as I can. Most real “Full Season Fit” big hitters from Key Strategy are in the CL, but some make an appearance in the Europa too.
And I’ll be previewing every round of the Europa and Champions League from here until the Final exclusively for members.
We had a lot of success from this series last year, with lots of members emailing me with stories of wins for players mentioned here. No pressure, then. I hope I can do the same this season!
As a side note, this article series coming round again reminds me that we are less than a month away from the members area first birthday! Fantastic to think about how much the site has grown this year, thank you to all members and particularly to those of you that joined early on and stayed for the full year.
I would not have had the confidence to continue with the site without your support and encouragement.
I use my usual method for identifying strong performance players, but I put much more focus on their stats in knockout games (i.e the groups) rather than just domestic.
I also put much more emphasis on fixtures than usual. I usually take into account the betting odds and I like to reference this algorithm on a site called fivethirtyeight.com too.
The betting odds are useful for determining who people generally think will win the game.
To counter this, the algorithm has proven very good at seeing through bias/lazy assumptions – it was often correct in disagreeing with betting odds last year – highlighting when there was a good chance of an upset including Ajax knocking out Juventus.
Europa League - Round of 32 - Key Players
The Europa is obviously a bit more low key than the CL, but these represent some of the biggest names in the tournament that have a chance of getting attention and doing well in performance scoring.
The Europa may be lower key in reality, but from the quarter finals onwards, we are talking about Gold Day wins on limited match days – they are very lucrative and will generate plenty of excitement.
Advice on individuals is discussed for each player below. But in general, these are players you want to be signing up sooner rather than later if interested rather than waiting until the week of the game when they may have risen already in anticipation.
Being the mug who buys in the week of or worse on the day of the game is not smart, particularly for more expensive players.
- Just like Scouting – click the name to open up analysis of each player.
A performance player of exceptional quality, and one I’ve tracked on this site for as long as I can remember. Amazing he was 60p a year ago actually.
£2.80 now. I think he still represents value for many reasons.
January transfer – still going on, unlikely, but possible.
Europa League strength – such a strong player he can win any game. And Sporting have a soft match up this round at least at home in the first leg.
Plays for Portugal at the Euros.
If January doesn’t happen transfer-wise, the rumours will almost certainly be back by Summer. At the same time as the Euros, he represents a valuable “combo” player as I’ve discussed in recent State of the Market posts.
A knockout would be a short term blow but he has longer term factors that can drag up the price later on.
*edit* – I can see he is flying as I write! £3 now. The good news is that whether this transfer rumour turns out to be rubbish or not, it doesn’t matter too much, his long term prospects are solid.
A player I have admired for a long time, he never showed his ability at Sevilla, but he’s exploded into life at Ajax.
Extremely strong performance suitability and in good form.
I think he can be a very good hold for the next 6 months. He will need Ajax to have a good run in the Europa (Ajax are amongst the favourites), but he should play for Holland at the Euros which is a nice insurance policy.
A big transfer would be a dream, at 27 it is not too late. But he has just moved to Ajax so a lot would need to happen. He has spoken about a desire to play in the EPL. Seems a long shot but possible.
Getafe is a tougher game than many might think, particularly in the 1st leg away. Second leg should be much kinder.
At £1 though I think there is plenty here to make him a hold for the coming months rather than just a fixture punt.
Not generally a great performance player, but on limited game days with less competition, he can win the dividends.
Has had a good season in general, and scored 5 in the Europa group stage, including putting a hatrick past lowly Dudelange. Against very weak opposition, he tends to see more of the ball and build very good baselines too.
Against another weak side in CFR Cluj, it’s hard to see anything other than a crushing Sevilla victory and Haddadi has the ability to demolish them and put up a big score.
Slight rotation risk but he has played a part in most Europa games and with Dabbur now moving to Hoffenheim more space has opened up.
£1.39 decent value but we wouldn’t want him to rise much above £1.60. He’s a punt for both legs and could be held depending on who Sevilla draw next. A shock defeat would be a bit of a disaster but it seems very unlikely and the betting and the algorithm agree.
Should be a strong contender and very capable of winning if starting which I would expect him to.
We should absolutely not be punting on premium players for fixtures, the spread and commission is not worth it.
For premium holds like this our main worry is that a shock knockout can tank the price. That’s possible but unlikely vs Brugge.
He also has long term youth optimism and the Euros as a fall back, so I would not expect a drop to be too severe if United do go out.
Like Rashford, capable of winning it. Benefits a bit more from limited competition due to his poor baselines when played as the striker.
With no Euros involvement he is more vulnerable than Rashford to a knockout which although unlikely is possible.
Not a good fixture punt in my opinion, I think he’s a mediocre/neutral long term hold at least whilst in the current Old Trafford setup and outside of the France team.
Generally a very poor performance player but his scoring record is superb. 5 Champions League goals in the groups.
Against a very weak Ludogorets you’d expect Inter strikers to be filling their boots.
He is so bad at performance scoring though that 1 goal may not be enough and if other strikers out perform him he could be beaten to it.
Overall, I’m not keen on him as per recent reports in scouting due to his FI weakness and his overinflated price tag which assumed a Man. Utd move.
That looks less likely by the day in January and the price is dropping as a result.
I’d be more keen on this for later Europa rounds when he has less competition and when and if the price drops a bit further.
For an Inter fixture punt I’d be much happier with Lukaku than Martinez.
He’s not a great performance player either but he’s better than Martinez. And just as explosive, scoring 2 in the last 2 Champions League games, and managing 2 assists as well.
He’s got solid IPD value for the month ahead whilst you await the European games so not bad to pick up now. And an occasional win would not be out of the question, particularly in the Round of 32 with a very soft fixture for Inter.
Provided Inter have a good Europa run, and they are amongst the favourites, Lukaku could have a decent 6 months ahead with the Euros on the horizon too.
I thought buying him in August as he spiked to £2.30 was borderline moronic. But a lot has changed since then, he’s 39p cheaper in a market that has risen a lot. And we are much closer to the period of the season where he can profit.
Has attracted hype as a good young striker that has bagged a lot of goals in the Dutch league.
Gets transfer rumours, possibly for January. Having risen steadily for that, he’s in danger of a drop if that comes to nothing. But the rumours could be back by Summer.
A big performance could get him plenty of attention, but he will have to do a lot because he is going to be a poor performance player. I’d expect him to need 2 goals at minimum to compete.
Whilst a transfer could turn up and raise the price, it feels like a gamble and not one I would recommend.
Maybe for a Europa punt if the January transfer falls over and he drops sharply. AZ do have a soft fixture vs minnows Linz.
One of the season success stories who appeared in Scouting early and the wonderkids series (available from the Dashboard in the members area archive).
More than doubled in value since he was featured. The best thing about finding a hype kid that has real potential is that they tend to keep their price and have further to go rather than tanking back down.
He’s already bagged his first dividend win, and this is why I focus on finding the players with genuine FI suitability.
We aren’t doubling his price again anytime soon. But he remains a very solid choice for multiple reasons.
In the Europa, AZ have a soft match up and he has a chance of a big score. He hasn’t scored in recent games but the stats are decent, he’s not doing badly.
He will likely get good transfer rumours in the Summer too, with Barcelona linked already. And he is breaking into the Netherlands side as well.
Still a solid pick at £2.22.
One of those who could fly with a big performance, but he’s already way overhyped with too big a pricetag as I have reported in Scouting.
Really not looking that good for FI purposes, despite some good real life showings.
Could do well but he would have to have a very big day, probably at least 2 goals. Tough opening away fixture for Arsenal too. Also rotation risk. Not one I am keen on.
He’s shown some encouraging signs recently as covered in Scouting.
Rotation chances aside, if he plays he does have a chance. He’s a bit too expensive to be used just for a Europa league punt though, so you’d need to be confident of his shorter term prospects.
There is a window in January and up to the end of Feb where if you back him to start replicating his form from the Manchester United game and get a consistent few games a reasonable profit may be possible.
Beyond February though, the reasons to hold him start to dwindle, so I would not make this a longer term hold.
As per scouting, Zaniolo is a pretty poor FI player. He’s one people want to like though because he’s got real life potential.
Actually been pretty quiet in the Europa so I can’t recommend him on form.
But, if he did pull out a goal or two, he is one that will get attention on the market most likely.
I don’t like him long term because he’s not particularly FI suitable, but against reduced competition and a very weak opponent would be the time to punt on him.
Shorter term he has Man Utd January links (Who doesn’t?!) so he could drop if that doesn’t happen. May be worth waiting for that.
Of course you can always be unlucky and the transfer happens, but betting against these rumours rather than on them earns more in the longer run since 90% of them are garbage.
Cannot be recommended on form which has been poor by his standards all season.
He was one of my biggest successes last season picking him up very early and if I recall correctly sold as he was heading towards £3.50 in June. He ended up going as high as £4.16 by the season start.
But I don’t regret selling at £3.50, I had locked in a huge profit which was used elsewhere. I felt he was clearly overpriced at £4.16 as covered in pre-season scouting and that would have been true even if he had played a bit better.
Now, back down at £3.66 there is a case for returning to him. I would however wait another week or two until January transfer window hysteria settles down a bit. He rose about 20p ahead of the window for a transfer that seems very unlikely. Now on his way back down.
If he can be secured for £3.50-£3.60 his prospects for the next 6 months are much better than they were at the season start. Summer transfer rumours are near guaranteed, he has Germany involvement, and if he goes somewhere like Bayern, he could be a frighteningly good performance player.
If he finishes the season strongly and rekindles his best form, that would be a bonus that would deliver more immediate results. A good choice for the coming 6 months.
Shorter term, Leverkusen have a good chance of dominating Porto in the first leg at home, but it will be a tough game away. I would not punt short term on a player at this price though.
Ziyech is a fantastic performance player and can demonstrate that any game. Getafe away is tougher than many will think but he has the quality to compete. The home tie is a richer hunting ground.
A mild complication is that he currently has (vague) January transfer rumours although if I had to put money on it, I’d say Summer. But he is very likely to pick up links if the transfer does not happen this month.
There is a case for just buying now knowing that if the transfer link falls over, you still have the Europa to look forward to, as well as a Summer transfer later on. Ajax will need a good Europa run, though.
Holders may get lucky and find he does move to the EPL in January but I wouldn’t pin too much on that specifically.
Alternatively, you can give it a couple of weeks, hope the transfer falls over, and maybe get him for around £2 rather than £2.15.
I think both options are fine, I would go for the first and just buy now if keen, he has decent long term prospects and he’s a very good performance player which always gives me more confidence.
Risen recently in the hope of a January transfer that may or may not happen, I would bet it does not.
If this falls over and he drops under £2, I think he may be worth signing up with a 6 month hold in mind.
I would avoid buying right now though unless you really think the transfer is true, it’s at risk of a drop.
He’s not incredibly strong on FI, but he is capable of a win on a very good day. Gets some chances, but his baselines are not particularly strong for a midfielder.
If we can get a discount when the transfer drops, we could look at it for the next 6 months as Summer transfer anticipation builds, he has a chance of a good score in the Europa, and he has some Holland involvement too.
As per recent Scouting – Pellegrini has been overpriced and overestimated in my opinion. But, if his latest game stats become consistent he would be a great option.
I’d see how his next games shake out before deciding for the Europa.
If he looks strong in the coming league games (I’ll cover this in Scouting), I think he’d be an excellent choice with Roma facing Gent and expected to crush them.
Hasn’t actually played in the Europa this season, seemingly rested for these early games with veteran Escudero deputising.
If he starts in the knockouts onwards though, Reguilon can do some serious damage versus a weak CRF Cluj side.
I’d expect him to see plenty of the ball and get forward for chances. An assist may even win it. He’s been improving a lot recently as covered in scouting.
I don’t think he is a punt just for the Europa, he’s heading towards pricey defender territory now.
But as covered in scouting he looks a solid hold, and he may get attention if he starts and scores big in the round of 32. Sevilla are also strong favourites for a good run in the competition.
24 year old Benfica full back. Long expected to move to the EPL, he’s risen a bit in advance of January but he’s settling back down as the transfer looks like it will not happen this window.
If he winds up about 80-85p in a week or two, he’s a very decent choice for the Europa and perhaps beyond.
He’s got strong crossing ability and takes free kicks and corners. Has enough to challenge for a win, particularly in this round where Benfica face soft-ish opposition in Shahktar. And he’s the sort who would get swift attention if he did put up a decent score.
A longer hold also very viable with the Summer transfer window in mind, whilst hoping to pick up Europa bonuses along the way. Solid pick.
Just back from injury so we don’t have much recent form to go on.
But, he’s got real performance quality. £2.80 is not a bad price, although he has overheated in the past as per my review in this weeks January scouting.
A bit cheaper now than his high, he could get hype with a big performance score. That’s possible, and Inter have the softest of fixtures to give him the opportunity to shine.
Europa League - Round of 32 - Punts
These tend to be cheaper, under the radar punts that have the performance quality to pull off a win, seemingly from nowhere to most people.
They may have little to no prospects outside of Europe, but if they have performance strength and cheap prices, you can often buy a dividend contender for peanuts. On Gold Days, that can be very lucrative.
In the R32 it is a Silver day, but it is still a win and a chance for them to show their quality for later rounds.
The best example from this article last season is probably Pizzi at Benfica, who has actually won again already this season.
With these players, especially when they aren’t well known, you can often get away with waiting until the week before to buy, and don’t need to waste time with a month long hold.
Some people may not to bother with these at all, that’s fine. A few punt wins isn’t going to make or break your season!
Others like a punt including some members so I like to cater for that too. I like to have a little of fun with this myself, nicking a win with a cheap unknown punt is sweet.
Because they are generally not popular, I generally buy them in the week of the game, or sometimes even just before kick off if they haven’t risen much.
Punts by nature can go either way and most of them don’t work. We are therefore aiming for maximum pay out (a 10-20% quick capital appreciation and dividend win best case) with a minimal cost of losing (small spread).
Low Key Punts - Round of 32
Just like Scouting – click the name to open up analysis of each player.
23 year old Colombian striker, he scores for fun versus weak sides and Rangers have a favourable draw versus Braga, with the home leg first.
Also gets a mixed bag of transfer rumours which have been frustrated in January so he has had a recent drop.
This might continue a bit so picking him up in a week or two might be wiser than now.
Very capable of winning on the day though, and big performances may improve his transfer prospects for Summer.
I would still play it as a fixture punt though rather than a long term hold.
Pizzi is an excellent performance player, and has put up big scores in European ties often.
Despite that, his age and ineligible league keep his price down. People tend to forget about him.
He did remind people a month ago though with another win, and has jumped up to 58p as a result. That’s still very reasonable.
There is a good case for holding Pizzi throughout the Europa league fixtures if you want to. Benfica are amongst the favourites and are expected to progress. He is a genuine gold day contender for the later rounds.
Whilst an unexpected knockout would hurt, he also plays for Portugal which is a reasonable insurance policy.
Alternatively, provided the price hasn’t risen, a punt closer to the time is viable because he has a good chance of big scores.
But since he won recently, you might get late backers on this one.
Never count out veteran Dzeko who can easily steal the show on a European night.
Whilst early season strategy was heavy on elite veterans, cooling off on them towards Christmas, it’s not over for them.
When they come off a price drop and become apparently undesirable, they can be worth punting on for the run up to big European games, especially when they have a favourable fixture.
Roma are expected to thrash Gent so there is a good case for doing that here.
As long as the price is right we’re good. He’s coming back to 85p and still dropping so we can wait a bit longer.
Scoring for fun in the Austrian Bundesliga, Daka is a 21 year old Zambian striker with 14 league goals in 17 games, and 1 in the 6 CL matches this season.
Likely to be a poor performance player but can score and can win, his threat is good.
Despite being away, Salzburg have a good chance of beating Eintracht. The betting odds make Eintracht favourites but the algorithm disagrees and I think rightly so. Eintract are in poor form this season.
Salzburg have been weakened by the loss of some key players though so that may be a factor.
Daka has a recently signed a long contract so a chance of a Summer transfer seems thin.
However, traders have recent form for reading way too much into good Austrian league stats (Haaland). They will very rarely translate into a top league. At £1.28, there may be a rise in anticipation of more big performances from Salzburg players.
I’m not optimistic for Daka long term but as a player to acquire in advance of the game hoping to sell for a pre-match profit, I think it’s a decent punt at £1.28.
Who loves 28 year old Porto strikers with no chance of a good transfer!? Anyone? No? Ok.
Actually, he’s 31p with 6 goals in his last 5 games and has scored three times in the Europa so far. With just 4 scored FI games this season, he’s managed 228, -1, 23 and 183. That’s good.
This makes him a very viable short term punt that I would want to take very shortly before the game and let him run for the first game at least, ideally both.
Good record in the Europa, including a hatrick vs Besiktas last time out. He tends to have good threat vs softer teams.
And Wolves have a very favourable match up versus Espanyol, the betting odds and the alogrithm make them comfortable favourites.
Has dropped almost 20p in the last month after a spell of hype following 5 goals in 2 including that Besiktas hattrick. A goalless run since but he’s not doing that badly.
A good punt, I would see if we can get him a bit cheaper in a week or two if the drop continues.
He has some longer term prospects too so a longer hold is also viable. Bit of a long shot but could attract transfer rumours later and has fringe Portugal involvement.
A long shot punt. Good goal threat including in the Europa, and matched up with a weak Malmo side.
Coming off a hefty price drop from £1.41 in Sept to £1.09 now. If he has kept on dropping a week or so before the game he’d be a decent punt for the game given the soft fixture.
Not a great performance player but when he starts he has big goal threat in European ties and can win. Scored in both Europa games he started. Probably will start in the knockout stages.
Relatively stable price and a low spread makes it one of the safer punts. I would probably do so for the home leg rather than away. Arsenal’s away record in Europe is very mixed although that was under old management.
Betting odds favour Arsenal away but the algorithm flags it as a potential upset and I understand why. If you believe Arteta has turned it around Aubameyang can win away. But the home leg is a much safer bet.
27 year old Austrian CB for Eintracht. Worth highlighting his very high threat for a centre back. He’s scored 7 so far this season!
The threat is consistent and there is a chance he could nick a win.
In reality, Eintracht have a difficult match up vs Salzburg so it may be tough. For the chance at a Silver day win, it may not be worth it this time. But from the quarter finals it might be.
A great veteran punt who has good performance scoring credentials. Generally takes penalties too which is a bonus.
Down at 55p now, you can see he went up to 73p by May last year due to Ajax’s good Champions League run (comparatively, that was a lot more back then than it is now).
I’d probably wait until a couple of weeks before but he’s a decent punt for the games, particularly the second leg at home.
30 year old Sevilla midfielder at just 40p. He’s already put up some good scores in the Europa this season, including a 363 vs Dudelange in October.
With Sevilla against very poor opposition in CFR Cluj it could be a cricket score. Vazquez could profit because he has goal and assist potential, as well as very solid baselines in games where Sevilla dominate.
Slight rotation risk but I think that’s acceptable for the money. One to punt on in the week before the game maybe.