4 teams which are the favorites to win the Europa League

FC Internazionale v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
FC Internazionale v Eintracht Frankfurt - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
Giulio Prifti

From year to year, the Europa League has only gotten more prestigious. There are better players, better teams and more money going around.

It gets taken more seriously by coaches and players, as the smaller clubs can prove that they are good enough to beat the big guns, while the top clubs can qualify to the CL through this way.

In this year, the level of squads is better than ever. Teams like Milan, Inter, Marseille, Sevilla, and Leverkusen have already dropped out. Of the remaining 8 competitors (Slavia Prague, Chelsea, Napoli, Arsenal, Villarreal, Valencia, Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt), everyone can kick his opponent out. This article gives an insight into the 4 favourites of the competition and why they are able to win it all. The four most likely clubs are ranked into a top 4 list, where number one is the biggest favourite.

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#4 Eintracht Frankfurt

Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Internazionale - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: First Leg
Eintracht Frankfurt v FC Internazionale - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: First Leg

Frankfurt turned from a team that was thought to drop out in their group, to a favourite to win the competition. In a group containing Marseille, Lazio and Apollon Limassol they dominated and did not drop any point, scoring 17 and conceding only 5 times.

In the next two rounds “Die Eintracht” was able to kick out Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan, both excellent teams as well.

The only German left in Europe is probably the most dangerous team offensively, having two excellent strikers in Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic, who are able to beat every defence that faces them.

They are also on a very good form, not only in the Europa League, as exemplified by them having not lost since December. Another thing which makes them so dangerous is the fantastic support the team gets from their fanbase. An example are the 13,500 people that followed them to Milan, where the fans again produced a great atmosphere and created a big corteo.

Frankfurt’s biggest weakness is their lack of experience. Neither the players nor their coach have a lot of experience on such a big stage. The pressure might be too much for the young players and could force them into errors, which they normally would not do. It is also possible that one of the remaining top coaches could outplay the system of Adi Hütter and therefore beat them tactically.

Another problem might be, that the fans are known for firing pyrotechnics, which the UEFA are known to punish with matches behind closed doors.

#3 Chelsea

Cardiff City v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Cardiff City v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Since the beginning of the campaign, Chelsea FC have probably been the biggest favourite to win the cup. In a relatively easy group, consisting of BATE Borisov, PAOK and Vidi, they ended at the top, only dropping two points. It is quite impressive that they mostly rested their stars like Eden Hazard and had players who have not featured for the most part of their league season. After two other rather simple games against Malmö and Dynamo Kyiv, they stand in the quarterfinals.

Chelsea probably have the best squad in the tournament right now. They have stars like N'Golo Kanté and Hazard, who can turn a game around on their own. The London club is probably also the most experienced team in the competition, as most of the squad’s players are used to playing in the Champions League. With Olivier Giroud, Chelsea also have the competition’s top scorer in their squad. Another extra boost for the team is that they can reach the Champions League by winning this tournament. They could well miss out on qualification for Europe's premier tournament with the way their league season is going.

Chelsea’s form is in shambles right now, losing 5 of their last 9 league games, the performances in Europe are the team’s only bright side this season. Another aspect is the results of Sarri’s side against other top six teams in 2019. In the first three months of the year, they only won once against a big opponent.

The players also seem to play against their coach, just as they did with Mourinho and Conte.

#2 Napoli

AS Roma v SSC Napoli - Serie A
AS Roma v SSC Napoli - Serie A

The Italian team is the only one on our list, who came into the competition through the Champions League. In the group stage of the “bigger brother”, they nearly were able to knock out Liverpool, in a group that also had Paris St. Germain and Red Star Belgrade in it. After they dropped out, Napoli were able to beat FC Zürich quite easily, before nearly losing out against RB Salzburg.

Napoli’s biggest strength might be their coach. Carlo Ancelotti is by far the most experienced manager left in the Europa League. His main discipline are European cups, as he already won the Champions League three times.

The Italians not only have the possibly best defender in the competition in Kalidou Koulibaly, but they also have a very fluid and fast attack. Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz Milik are all insane players that are able to score against every opponent.

The team’s most important attacker, Insigne, is injured and will probably miss the next round.

Another thing that might hinder them in the competition is, that they seem to fall apart when it matters the most. Against their biggest opponent: Juventus, the team mostly loses and plays below their usual level. In the cup, where they dropped out against AC Milan, the squad’s performance was possibly the worst one of their season so far. Their last game in the Europa League, as Salzburg dominated them, also seems like a bad sign for upcoming games in this tournament.

#1 Arsenal

Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Newcastle United - Premier League

The second English team on this list had a very good run in their group. In a group with Qarabag, Vorskla and Sporting, they only conceded in the first game. Arsenal also just dropped two points in a tie against the Lisbon club. In the knockout stage, they came back two times, after losing the first leg against BATE Borisov and Stade Rennes.

In Unai Emery, Arsenal have the most successful manager of the tournament’s history on their side. He won it 3 times in a row with Sevilla before joining Paris. The North London club also seems to play the best attack of the remaining teams. With Aubameyang, Özil and Lacazette, they have got three insanely talented attackers, that all fall in the bracket “world class”

The Gunners also seem to get into a momentum, where they are able to beat everyone. The team not only conceded once in their last five league games, they also ended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten streak at Manchester United.

Their biggest weaknesses, defence and consistency, both seemed to be ruled out, due to a formation change in the last few games.

The only possible aspect, which could make them not win it all, is their consistency against top clubs. Usually, they play good against their opponents and are even the better team, but sometimes Arsenal are unlucky, inefficient or just fall apart. An example is the 5-1 loss against Liverpool, when the Reds destroyed the Gunners.

Edited by Aaditya Narayan


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