Betting Preview: Should we back Arsenal to win the Europa League?

As it currently stands, Arsenal have very little chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season unless Mikel Arteta can work miracles very quickly and get us on a long, long winning run right until the end of the season.

But that is highly unlikely, given that we are languishing in tenth place and have only had two away wins from 11 attempts so far this season. It will be nigh on impossible to gain 12 points on Chelsea and Man United in our last 16 games.

So having said that, surely it would make perfect sense for Mikel Arteta to target one of the Cups to get a real chance at European Football in the next campaign. So that leaves the FA Cup and the Europa League as the only realistic targets for our new coach.

Obviously winning the Europa would be the Holy Grail for us, as it would get us back into the Champions League. Having reached the semi-finals two years ago and the Final last season, it is not so far-fetched to think that could go the final step this season and actually win it.

There does seem to be some really good teams in the Europa this year, including Man United of course, but with Solksjaer’s side currently in a battle for the coveted Wenger Trophy for the last Champions League slot, they may not be prioritising the Europa League, which we certainly must do. We could also face a challenge from Wolves, who are flying high in the Premier League and vying for sixth place with Sheffield United and Tottenham at the moment.

We all remember Unai Emery practically throwing away our chance of a Top Four place last season by keeping all his best players for the Europa League, a ploy that spectacularly backfired on the so-called Europa League specialist when we were severely embarrassed 4-1 by Chelsea in the Final in Baku. But there should be a Hobson’s choice available to Arteta by the end of this campaign unless that miracle that I mentioned happens of course. As long as we stay away from the relegation zone we can concentrate fully on our Cup Challenges.

Arsenal were always amongst the favourites for the Europa last season, but after having a look at Oddschecker for the best odds available on the Gunners this season, you can find them priced as high as 9/1 to win this competition for the very first time, which is a pretty good deal when you look at our recent form in the competition.

This years campaign started extremely well, with Unai Emery selecting our youngsters who impressively gave us three clear wins against Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vittoria Guimaraes, but as the malaise set in under Emery we failed to win any of our last three Group games, but still managed to cling on to top spot in our Group.

This has set us up for a very interesting tie against the Greek Super League Champions Olympiakos, who were thrown out of their Champions League Group by Bayern Munich and Tottenham, despite our rivals being thrashed by the German Champions 7-2. They are currently still top of the Super League and haven’t lost any League games in the last 11 months, but in Europe they have shown their true level, although they did manage a draw against Tottenham at home in the Champions League Group. They are normally hard to beat at home with their incredible support, but their away form is not so good except in Qualifiers. I must admit though that Olympiakos did win 3-2 at the Emirates in 2015 despite us having 70% of the possession.

We should manage to get past the Greek Champions though, and then there could be much tougher opponents from then on. Man United are the favourites with most bookies at a best priced 13/2 on Oddschecker after drawing Club Bruges in the next round. The Belgian League leaders are also no pushovers and could cause a shock, which could see Arsenal’s price come down. Wolves, who have a tricky tie at La Liga’s Espanyol, are variously priced between 12/1 and as high as 17/1 in places. We must also give a little mention to the UK teams from North of the border, with Celtic priced at 50/1 after being given a tie against Copenhagen, and Rangers as high as 150/1 after drawing Braga from Portugal. Both of them have good chances of making the next round.

So let us look at the other talented sides from other Leagues that we could possibly meet as we progress. High on anyone’s list must be Ajax, who were cruelly beaten by Tottenham in the semi-final of last year’s Champions League, but were narrowly edged out of this season’s Group Stages by Chelsea. They are still top of the Eredvisie and are priced between 6/1 and 8/1 after getting Getafe in the draw.

Next we have Inter Milan, who are just a couple of points below Juventus in Serie A. They unsurprising failed to qualify for the knockouts in the Champions League after coming up against Dortmund and Barcelona in their ECL Group. We could possibly be welcoming Alexis Sanchez back at the Emirates if we get drawn against them, but hopefully not until the later stages of the competition.

How about Sevilla, who are definitely a Europa League specialist with 3 trophies under Unai Emery. They have drawn CF Cluj in the next round and were always going to be one of the favourites with their previous record. They are currently in 4th place in La Liga and won their first five games in the Group Stages to make sure of top spot and are always going to be hard to beat.

So, Man United, Ajax, Inter Milan and Sevilla look likely to be our biggest rivals for the Europa League trophy this season, and there are other possibilities like Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and Salzburg to consider, but but to be honest, other than the first four mentioned we should not be scared to face anyone else in the competition.

That makes me think that backing Arsenal at this stage of the competition likes like a healthy investment at 9/1.

What do you think?

10 Comments

  1. Kev82 says:

    If we can’t win it, man u definitely won’t win it especially with ole at the wheel.. we took 4 points from them in the league so we’re more than capable of brushing them aside, I’d be more worried about Wolves who we can’t beat lol.. inter might be a tough nut to crack but Ajax and Sevilla will be in contention I think.

    1. OxInTheBox says:

      Inter won’t take EL seriously because of the title struggle in Italy.

    2. Sue says:

      Ain’t Giroud supposed to be going to Inter? Oh not again…..

  2. Sean Williams says:

    We got to the final last year, and were for a while the better team….then the usual collapse. I wouldn’t put money on winning it, but we must put strong teams out there. If we get to the final and our team learns to stay focused we will have a chance of winning it. Why not? But it will take 100% focus. Yeah we must go for it…..of course.

  3. jon fox says:

    We are not going to win the Europa and all realists know that. Kid yourself if it makes you happy. I will never kid myself. I prefer honesty.

  4. Shakir says:

    The serie A has become kinda like the premier league now,incredible fight for the top 4.And we cant underestimate Roma,they are flying right now.

    Its better to fight for a top 4 spot in EPL than gambling for the europa league in my opinion.If we are able to pick up some results from the upcoming games which i hope we will then theres a chance…

  5. antonioro says:

    The more advanced the stage of the EL competition,the much stronger teams fielded by the “ big teams”.Don’t believe for a second that a “ big team” is going to ignore the competition once the semifinals are in the sight…it is mental-once you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel ,is no way back,only forward.Just like “ what a hell,we almost there,why not going all the way to the end”?As a matter a fact,a trophy(no matter how important) still a trophy.And your name will be forever painted at the base of that cup…

  6. Reggie says:

    The only thing left for us to win in reality because of the standard is the EL. We are on a downward spiral and CL was becoming EL and EL is becoming a distant drum, that is fading. We need European competition, we need CL, with out either, we are crystal palace and west ham, thats a fact. Last chance saloon for AFC will be the EL cup. Arsenal is slipping into obscurity.

    1. SueP says:

      Hi Reggie,
      Do you think we really are on a downward spiral? Under Emery I genuinely feared for our future in the Premier League. The whole atmosphere around the club was to use the oft used word, toxic with poor results against teams very much below us that showed with performances that were totally apathetic.
      You are so right about the the CL,and until our owners ‘own’ the club in the same way as Abramovitch we will become the league’s also-rans that you have described. A miserable thought.
      I do think Arteta is on the right track but clearly the mindset within the club is so damaged it will take some time to fix and as you and others have pointed out, several of the players are just not good enough

  7. Reggie says:

    Sue, yes we have been on a downward spiral for the last 6 years, look back and you will see a graph of decline. We are slipping out of the top 6 and we are not in the real world showing anything yet as to why the trend should change. We all hope that Arteta is the mesiah but thet is all it is, hope. Reality is we have a manager who has no track record and we are pinning our hopes on a prediction that Arteta is a future top coach. In truth that is flimsy. Hope has to be turned into action before that works out.

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