Now we have the Europa League Round of 16 Draw, I’ll run through the highlights.
These will be Silver Days on both the 12 March and 19 March, and they are coming up fast.
Early preparation is best with bigger hitters, punts can generally be taken just before the game unless there is a really tasty candidate who might rise ahead of the match.
As a Silver Day – the dividend is worthwhile but it’s not a Gold Day where I’d go massively out of my way to punt on a player I’d otherwise not be interested in.
It also means that for our punts we are best shopping at the extreme value end.
This feels a bit like the recent rounds of the CL – winning the dividend itself is fairly trivial but the winners gain access to the big ticket Gold Day’s from here out and that is a substantial prize.
We are mainly looking for promising players in winning teams and betting on their progress rather than just the dividend win in this round.
In many ways, it’s worth noting that Europa League Gold Day’s can be better than the Champions League.
In the CL, there aren’t many easy games where we can expect a walkover. In the Europa we could easily see something like Inter drawn against Istanbul where Inter would be heavy favourites.
The Algorithm Predictions
If I reference the algorithm below, I am referring to fivethirtyeight.com’s ratings which I like to reference – it has proven good at spotting where upsets may be on the cards and betting odds/conventional wisdom may be wrong.
Fernandes will be the main attraction whether people are willing him on or hoping for him to fail!
United couldn’t have a much kinder draw against minnows Linz. Though Linz did unexpectedly dump out Alkmaar to the cost of one of this season’s site darling’s Stengs.
Still, we should be expecting a comfortable victory for United, even in the opening away leg. Both betting odds and algorithm back United heavily to qualify.
Interestingly, betting odds give United a tough game away in the first leg, but the algorithm disagrees and thinks United are 49% likely to win away and 75% likely to win overall. This feels about right to me.
Fernandes definitely has the form to do it again and put up another big total.
As Fernandes’ price rises he is always going to hit more scrutiny as we are seeing on social media, and so he should. There is an element of jealousy to it and people who don’t hold trying to stem his rise because they think it hurts their other holds. But it’s also fair – a player at this price does have to justify it.
But all the chatter about this or that is basically short term noise and I don’t pay attention to it – Fernandes will prove good enough and deserve his price or he won’t and that’s what matters.
Current numbers suggest he can keep performing well including in the Europa but we’ll have to keep monitoring it.
Elsewhere, you can pick out any of the usual suspects like Martial, Greenwood to win although they are too expensive to be backing for the Europa alone you’d need other reasons.
Fred looks decent particularly for later rounds where a high baseline can win but I would say the price spike after his 2 goals and assist in the last round was fairly silly – this is not something we can expect regularly at all. He looks a bit dear at £1.64. I’d be more inclined to get him for the Quarters if his price drops further.
Last preview before the R32 Jota was on my punts list. Seemingly out of form and down at £1.50 he looked good to me given his strong previous record in the Europa.
Exploding with a Europa hat-trick, and even picking up good transfer rumours, he’s now £2.48.
Olympiakos is a decent draw and Wolves are expected to go through. But the first leg away leg may be tough.
At £2.48 the cat is out of the bag and the best value has gone. Will likely keep optimism though and will be expected to go through. And very capable of winning the dividend again his form is great.
I think he’s still a decent pick but at this stage holders will want to monitor the game closely – a shock knockout hurts – and he’ll need his transfer rumour to hold up too.
Cheaper than Jota at £1.79, Jimenez is in good form too and is a likely goalscorer.
Performance wise, I suspect it is a round too early for him – if he scores I’d expect him to be coming in 2nd-4th rather than winning it unless it’s a quiet day for Forwards.
In future Gold Day’s with less competition though he would be a contender. And he is picking up decent transfer links of his own to Arsenal and even Manchester United (though everyone is linked to Manchester United these days).
Really not bad to carry him into the next round at £1.79, hoping for progress to the Quarters and as an outside shot potential winner.
Eintracht have done well to beat Salzburg and now look strong favourites to make the quarters, the algoriithm and betting odds both convinced they will overcome Basel.
Andre Silva is the key man, scoring two in the last game and unlucky not to score much higher with Eintracht drawing away. Also assisted in the first leg.
As per my review over in Scouting this week, Silva at £1.03 looks great value for a player who can win, grab IPD, and potentially pick up a decent transfer rumour later.
Elsewhere we have Kostic who can do well particularly in the later Gold Day’s but overall I think the current social media hype makes him overrated and at £2.38 it’s too much to pay. You could bet on him for a decent score here driving the price but beyond that I’m not keen. Full review in Scouting.
Paciencia and Dost (injured?) both capable goalscorers as punts if they are starting.
Kamada was the hatrick hero of the last round. I would not expect a hatrick again but 1 goal and or an assist would not be out of the question.
With this kind draw, the optimism from the last round, and the slight price drop this week to £1.21 I think this is a good punt hoping for a possible win and progress to the Gold Day.
A big match up, unlucky for both teams to get a tough draw.
Overall both betting and algorithm agree that it’s an even match up with Sevilla the slight favourites.
With Sevilla starting at home and expected to win that leg, it suggests to me Sevilla may be the best target as they are most likely to get off to a good start and carry optimism into the away leg. But it’s tight.
El Nesyri is in great form since joining Sevilla and is probably the most likely man to find the net for them on recent form. 2 goals in the last game and he scored away vs Cluj in the last round too, with limited minutes. Rotation the issue but he is getting harder to drop with his huge goal threat. For £1.05 I think he looks good.
Ocampos another value option in good form. Not a brilliant performance player at all but as someone to carry into later less competitive Gold Day rounds he’d be decent.
We could wait to see if Sevilla look assured of progress first because he is highly dependant on a good Europa run. But equally, his current excellent goal threat is a good reason to be holding him for some IPD anyway at just £1.10. 4 goals in the last 7 and that is no fluke he can keep scoring.
Luuk de Jong a good goals punt and has played both of the last 2 Europa ties. Form is ropey but the goal threat is always there and at just 64p after a price drop he’s a decent IPD shout and a decent player to have for later Gold Day’s as a value punt.
It’s all gone a bit wrong for Reguilon with a variety of factors bringing him down with a bump this month from £1.90 to £1.50. Loss of form and mainly I think the rise of Ferland Mendy at Real blocking the hope of a return to Real. That has sparked talk of Sevilla signing him permanently.
That’s rough and there is a lesson in it. When a players value rests so heavily on a single assumption prices can be brittle. Once that Real return is off the table there is no way he justifies £1.80. Honestly at Sevilla next year he may struggle to hold £1.20.
Something to think about and it’s why I generally try to have more than one reason to hold a player – i.e betting on a player for a transfer is fine but at a high price you need something to fall back on if that transfer falls over like long term performance strength at his existing club. So many hyped hyped players are resting on one assumption of a particular transfer and if it falls over you are in serious trouble.
Suso has started well, baselines are strong, but he needs to add more goal threat as per Scouting. Would get a big boost from making it to the Gold Day’s, but unless he scores soon he may fade. Whether he can get minutes for Spain in the March friendlies also important.
Veterans Dzeko and Kolarov would normally be my value go-to players for Roma but this tough draw makes me much more cautious.
If they do make it past Sevilla and get a kind draw I’d get enthusiastic again but I think the risk of a knockout here outweighs the value in punting on them, even though they are possible winners.
Pellegrini might be a decent shout for the second leg with Roma at home, but he will likely be injured for at least the first leg. He’s improved in 2020 and is coming off a price slide to £2.42.
I liked him last scouting review Feb 16 but felt £2.75 was a bit much. £2.42 is much better, ideally I’d want £2.25 but the social media hype squad did their work well on Pellegrini even before his improvement – that means it can take a while for them to drop to value.
I think wait and see and if Roma look like they have a good chance of going through after the first leg Pellegrini could look good.
Under is improving and is a possible EPL transfer candidate later, with Spurs linked. With Roma in a tough draw I wouldn’t buy him just for this but if you fancy him for the transfer, his current form is good and a good performance in the Europa can get him attention. I think he looks good at £1.80 as long as the transfer rumour holds up and he could follow a path quite similar to Bergwijn.
Kluivert is improving as per this week’s scouting review. Price isn’t awful but I am not convinced by him as a performance prospect. Still, a goal or two could get interest there is an odd thing about FI where people are more ready to buy players for silly things like having a famous father.
I’d be more inclined to bet on him if Roma get through the first leg with a result and there is optimism they will go through.
Nice draw for Leverkusen who are a popular FI side. Rangers are soft and the algorithm makes Leverkusen 83% likely to triumph. The betting agrees, and both suggest they should win comfortably even in the away leg up first.
That’s good news for good Leverkusen assets in general, they are likely to win and likely to progress to Gold Day’s.
However, there is a note of caution about favourites and knockouts – a shock result can really play havoc. Doesn’t feel likely here though and unless Rangers turn them over 2 or 3 nil Leverkusen will still be favourites by the second leg.
Havertz has been improving as per scouting, I started reporting on this on 19 January at £3.87 and he’s done well, £4.44 now. His form is good and he’s a contender for the win for sure.
His longer term fit including good transfer rumours and Germany involvement, combined with his genuine FI potential mean I think he is still worth his £4.44. And I don’t think he’s particularly vulnerable to a knockout.
Leverkusen are a good bet to go all the way to the final and having Havertz on side for Gold Day’s would be attractive.
We also have Leon Bailey who looks good in general for his trend fit, though he may not start he is often rotated. I like him for £1.70 as a hold anyway and would consider Europa starts a bonus.
Demirbay is back on the radar at least in the short term following an upturn in form and this kind draw. With a lack of full season fit, he is very Europa dependant but with Bayer looking like progressing, Demirbay is very capable of winning in this round and on Gold Day’s.
I think holding him is fine but at some point I would be jumping off particularly if Bayer look like going out, or get a tough draw.
Lots of options looking at this list, as the prospect of less competition on Gold Day’s brings more players into contention.
27 year old Forward Alario looks the value pick. He may score, but not win in this round. But he would be a Gold Day contender for later and is in excellent form with 3 goals in 5 and threat to suggest more is on the way. 2 of those goals came in the last Europa games vs Porto. At 86p this may be the best value punt of the round – not necessarily for the win here but in hope of people punting on him for Gold Day’s later.
Moussa Diaby also capable, but he has been pumped a little heavily recently and looks at least 30p too pricey at £1.97 in my view. Despite the goals his overall game is a bit soft to really contend in midfield. But he may score and could win Gold Day’s so this kind draw really helps him out.
At the back it may be time to return to big baseliner but otherwise nearly useless Jonathan Tah. Members who were around last Summer for my performance scoring changes article will recall my analysis that this type of defender was going to really struggle. Tah dropped from £1.54 to 96p over the coming months as people caught on.
He can win on Gold Day’s though and he has EPL transfer links now so back at £1.27 I think he looks much better than he has all season. A touch unfortunate that a very rare big score vs Augsburg happened recently which possibly coincided with a transfer link and that pushed him up 26p. If not for that I’d say fantastic value… as it is.. still value at this stage but the shine comes off slightly.
I also like Paulinho as a very long term pick as an underated youngster but he really struggles for pitch time. Had a good tournament for the Brazil U23’s recently though and £1.39 looks great long term value to me. But a Europa start would be a surprise. A win if he did would not be though.
Is it worth backing Rangers? Not for the win I’d say unless you really like to be contrary. The algorithm makes them the most likely team to be dumped out.
Morelos and Hagi the best shouts but mainly for a stage upon which they can get attention rather than in expectation of a win. The fixture is tough as it is, and neither are particularly good performance players anyway.
Hagi in particularly seems to be overrated by traders on social media. Probably because he only has 4 performance scores on his record and 2 are over 200. These are boosted European scores though and he’s fortunate he had good days when he played eligible games – his usual performances would not be on this level.
Still. Both may pick up transfer rumours and a good performance could get them attention. An option but with the tough fixture it’s not something I’d go for.
Inter were instinctively clear favourites over Getafe to my mind but the algorithm disagrees making this a 50/50.
Maybe after Getafe dumped Ajax out I should give them more respect, the algorithm highlighted that Getafe were no pushovers ahead of that tie too.
Betting odds and algorithm make Inter slight favourites overall but it’s a very even match up.
Perhaps some traders may be overconfident on Inter here and that could mean a “shock” defeat hits some of their players. That could be a reason to tighten up on the ones that don’t have many other reasons to hold them other than the Europa.
Lukaku and Martinez as previously covered are very attractive for Gold Day’s. They are normally weak for performance but that won’t matter too much later on – goals will be enough and they have plenty.
Martinez is however grotesquely overpriced due to the transfer hype which makes me reluctant. I’d be more inclined if Inter had an easy match up but in a tough game it feels difficult to bet on for this money.
Lukaku would be a good punt for similar reasons, with Euro 2020 on the horizon. If this was an easy fixture and we had Euro 2020 in the locker as a back up I’d be keen. With a tough game and yesterday’s discussion about tightening up a bit on Euro 2020 and no longer banking it as a sure thing, I’m less inclined.
But both can very easily win and if they make it through to an easy Gold Day fixture they will look more attractive. Maybe if Inter take a decisive lead they may look better for the second leg.
For exactly the same reasons as Lukaku, life for Eriksen holders is made a bit harder because one of his main draws is his excellent performance prospects for Denmark where he runs the show.
However I am much more confident longer term on Eriksen – what he is showing at Inter so far is excellent and once his fitness is to Conte’s liking and he’s playing regularly (started both Europa games scoring and assisting) I think he’ll be a consistent strong performance player. Could be very up or down for him depending on whether Inter make it through and what happens with Euro 2020. But I think right now he looks a very good long term hold for £2.48.
Brozovic has taken a beating in the last month. Last review in January I liked him for £1.97 – he was showing good numbers and I think he’s unlucky not to have hit at least 1 big score in 2020. Savaged to £1.68 now, possibly due to a small amount of rotation and a worry that Eriksen steals his thunder.
I think it’s an overeaction and looks a good long term pick, he can pop up with a big score anytime. Also getting interesting links to Real and Liverpool lately.
About as low key as it gets but 25 year old forward Crivelli is just 34p and has bagged 3 in the Europa this season already, and Istanbul have a favourable match up starting at home to Copenhagen.
Probably one for some cheap IPD but he is known to score a couple a game (3x since October) so he is a (very) long shot dividend contender.