I wanted to squeeze in a quick look at the Europa League Round of 32 before Christmas. I recommend reading the CL article yesterday first as it explains my approach to this.
The Europa may not have the glitz and glamour of the Champions League but what it does have is an extra round, and often a lot of weak teams for the bigger sides to stomp on. Less risk of shock knockouts and teams can really rack up big scores against soft opponents.
I often prefer to have a team in the Europa rather than the CL for this reason.
In earlier rounds – it could be chaotic – you’d have a lot of teams in action on a Europa night. That number is getting whittled down and down from now on – so these are very credible opportunities for some big dividends.
Because it’s so close to Christmas I’m going to keep this one very brief – just picking out the teams that have a good chance of a long Europa run, and those who might struggle.
This is well worth factoring into what we are buying right now – picking high performing popular “Core” player types with good CL/Europa prospects is a simple but likely very effective tactic right now.
The fivethirtyeight.com Algorithm
The Betting Odds (oddschecker.com)
Europa League Analysis
I’m going to do this a little differently for the Europa – there are too many sides in this round to do a game by game analysis. I’ll instead highlight the strongest/weakest teams.
As I say I’ll likely do a full player preview nearer the time but we already have lots of recent coverage on all these sides in the Scouting section.
These sides are likely to have a deep run in the tournament and at least have a favourable Round of 32 fixture. The key assets from Scouting are likely to have a good chance.
Likely to get significant optimism on the market ahead of the soft fixture – but of course – this does come with a little pressure. If they get a shock knockout that could be punished. But, algorithm, betting and common sense indicate they should make it through the next round at least.
These are decent sides but they have a tough R32 fixture. Could see some nervy trading in the build up as people fear a knockout. Could be significant rewards for the winners though – particularly if they get an easy draw in the R16.
Manchester United (will be expected to go through vs Sociedad, heavy betting favourites. Algorithm thinks an upset is likely though and Sociedad are no mugs).
These sides have a tough draw and are not expected to win this next round or go far in the tournament even if they do.
As I said yesterday we have the luxury of just backing favourites this year so that would be the priority for me.
Sides that may have one or two interests as punts, and have a decent R32 fixture but aren’t expected to go far in the tournament.