Which team is our Europa League 2017-18 Winner Tip? Previously known as the UEFA Cup, this competition changed name (and format) from the 2009-10 season.
The 3rd placed teams from the 8 Champions League groups, have joined the group winners & group runners-up from the 12 Europa League groups – together they make up the 32 teams that will play knock-out matches until a winner of the Europa League is crowned. The Round of 32 will take place on 15 & 22 February 2018, the Round of 16 on 8 & 15 March 2018, and the Quarter-Finals on 5 & 12 April 2018. All these matches are 2 legged ties (all these matchdays fall on Thursday).
The Final will take place on Wednesday 16th May 2018, at Parc Olympique Lyonnais – the home stadium of French side Lyon.
In 2017 Manchester United won this competition, for the 1st time in their history. Sevilla won the previous three in a row (2014, 2015, and 2016), as well as winning in 2006 and 2007 – their 5 total wins is a record. Neither of these teams will be involved in the Europa League this season – they have both qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
There are 4 teams that we think could realistically win the 2017-18 Europa League, and that we considered as our Europa League 2017-18 Winner Tip:
- Atletico Madrid (winners in 2010, and 2012) – Champions League group stage dropout into Europa League. Should have no problems qualifying for the 2018-19 Champions League, via La Liga. Faintest of chances to win La Liga title, but Barcelona seem really likely to win it. Opponents are FC Copenhagen in the Round of 32.
- Arsenal (never won this competition) – Unlikely to qualify for the 2018-19 Champions League, via the Premiership. Play Ostersunds FK in the Round of 32.
- Napoli (winner in 1989) – Another Champions League group stage dropout. Embroiled in a tense battle with Juventus for the Serie A title. Almost certain to qualify for the 2018-19 Champions League, via Serie A. Face RB Leipzig in the Round of 32.
- Borussia Dortmund (never won this competition) – Involved in a close battle, with several teams, to qualify for the 2018-19 Champions League via the Bundesliga. Title not realistic due to dominance of Bayern Munich (who have a huge lead on the teams below). Up against Atalanta in the Round of 32.
There is the added carrot of a Champions League place in 2018-19 for the winners of this season’s Europa League (as has been the case in recent seasons). Out of these 4 teams, Arsenal almost certainly (and Borussia Dortmund might) need to win this competition if they want Champions League football in the 2018-19 season. Atletico Madrid & Napoli, are almost certain to qualify anyway through their domestic leagues.
Even though Atletico Madrid are really unlikely to need the Champions League spot that winning this competitions gives, we really can’t see past Diego Simeone’s men as the most likely winners of the 2017-18 Europa League and as such is our Europa League 2017-18 Winner Tip. Whilst the Argentine has been in charge: Atletico Madrid have won the Europa League once (2012, although please note that Simeone only took charge midway through that campaign), and finished runners-up in the Champions League Final twice (2014, and 2016). The Argentine also won La Liga once (2013-14), a league only otherwise won by Barcelona or Real Madrid since 2004-2005 to date.
We think 7/2 on offer at Sun Bets (odds checked on 26th January 2018, but odds may change at any time) for Atletico Madrid to win is unbelievable value, which is why we have picked them as our Europa League 2017-18 winner tip. A team of this calibre will be disappointed to not be competing for the Champions League title this season. However, with Barcelona likely to win La Liga this season – Simeone can possibly rest players in La Liga (he should comfortably be able to get a top 4 spot anyway) and thus afford to play his strongest sides in the Europa League. Spanish teams also appear to take this competition more seriously, and perhaps give it more respect, than the English teams and media give it. La Liga has provided 8 winners in the last 14 completed seasons – an incredible 57% success rate.