The Top 5 Picks to Win the Europa League

    16 Feb 2021 | Europa League | Opinion
    The Top 5 Picks to Win the Europa League
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    The first of the knock-out rounds in this season’s Europa League is upon us and it is time to take a look at the favourites to win the competition.

    Tottenham Hotspur

    Spurs go up against Austrian side Wolfsberger next and Jose Mourinho’s side are the big favourites to progress through to the next round. Tottenham have won three European trophies before, the Cup Winners’ Cup and two UEFA Cups, but it has been 37-years since their last success. Mourinho has claimed four European trophies of his own, including two Champions Leagues and two UEFA Cups/Europa Leagues, the most recent of which was achieved with Man Utd in 2017. Spurs claimed the top spot in Group J ahead of Belgian side Antwerp but did drop points against the runners-up and third placed LASK or Austria.

    Manchester United

    United have claimed five major European trophies over the years, three of which arrived in the Champions League. In 2017 the club won their first-ever Europa League, defeating Ajax in the final 2-0. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is yet to win a major trophy and with the Premier League title looking like it will go to their local-rivals Man City, the Norwegian manager could really do with winning the Europa League this season. Spanish side, Real Sociedad provide the opposition in the first of the knock-out rounds and while David Silva and co had an excellent start to the La Liga season, they have since dropped out of the Champions League places.

    AC Milan

    AC Milan are the most successful European side left in this season’s Europa League and they go head-to-head with fellow Champions League winners, Red Star Belgrade next. AC Milan are flying high in Serie A this season and look like they could finally end their 10-year spell without a league title. The Italian giants have claimed 9 major European trophies, most recently in 2007, but have never claimed the Europa League before.

    Arsenal

    Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League since 2003 and have become a ‘cup side’ over the last 17-years, a tradition that current manager Mikel Arteta continued last season by claiming the FA Cup. The Gunners only have one European title to their name, the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup, and the club will be keen to win the Europa League this season as it could provide their only realistic route into the Champions League. Arsenal face Benfica next and the Portuguese giants have been off the pace in the race for the Primeira Liga title this season.

    Ajax

    Ajax lead the way in the Eredivisie once again this season and have secured 6 European trophies over the years. The Dutch club face a tricky test in the next round of the Europa League as they go up against a Lille side that are battling for the Ligue 1 title this season. If Ajax can use their extra experience in European competition, then they stand an excellent chance of progressing through to the next round.

    The Dark Horses

    Other than the obvious favourites, there are several teams that have performed well domestically this season or have a good record of going far in European competitions that could be considered as dark horses to win the Europa League this season…

    • Napoli
    • Villarreal
    • Bayer Leverkusen
    • Leicester City