The UEFA Europa League has remained largely competitive especially in recent seasons. It continues to deliver its fair share of goals, drama and excitement.
It has become an appreciable source of silverware for many mid-table teams across Europe, even more, the top club sides, too.
There is also the lure of direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League for the winners, making it more keenly fought for, season after season.
Last season’s final between Manchester United and Villarreal was the most dramatic it has been in years. The Yellow Submarines became Champions after scoring 11 penalties, needing David De Gea to miss. His was the only missed penalty of 21 played.
Unai Emery is the most successful manager in this competition with four trophies won- three with Sevilla and the other with his Villarreal team.
There have been three Gameweeks this season and some patterns have emerged which punters have begun taking advantage of. Here is a look at four teams in the UEFA Europa League and their prospects of delivering over 2.5 returns for punters.
The men from Naples have been stellar this season on all fronts, especially under new manager, Luciano Spalleti.
Indeed, Gli Azzurris have edged closer to domestic success in the last five seasons. They lost the title to Juventus just a few weeks to the end of the 2017/18 season. Maurizio Sarri’s men, at the time, finished the season with 91 points.
Carlo Ancelotti who was appointed immediately after also edged close to winning the title.
This season, they are in second place, three points behind AC Milan and with a game in hand.
Napoli sits second in Group C in the Europa League behind surprise team, Legia Warsaw. However, Spalleti’s men have continued to score goals like they are out of fashion.
Nigeria International, Victor Osimhen has been reborn in his second season, since signing from Ligue 1 team, Lille. The forward has scored four goals in three matches on the continent.
Frank Zambo Anguissa has been key to their performance from midfield. His ability to move the ball from midfield and send key passes for the forward has kept them ticking.
Napoli has recorded over 2.5 goal margins in every match in the Europa League this season.
They are one of the powerhouses in the Netherlands. In truth, they used to be strong oppositions in the UCL.
Like most teams in the Dutch Eredivisie, the priority is to promote players from the Academy and blend with a few experienced players.
Rodger Schmidt continues to favour playing on the front foot- pressing high and being direct in possession. Yet, when teams are able to overcome the press, scoring becomes even easier.
Mario Gotze, since joining has been one of Schmidt’s key men. The German has scored a goal in the Europa League and assisted three more.
The Boeren sit third in the group behind Monaco and Real Sociedad. However, there has been an average of four goals in matches involving PSV.
An over 2.5 stake looks sure to deliver great returns for punters.
Lyon is currently experiencing contrasting fortunes this season. While they have been abysmal in the Ligue 1, their Europa League record has been perfect, winning three out of three matches.
Since losing Memphis Depay to Barcelona in the summer, they have struggled to create and score goals in the League.
Players like Toko Ekambu and Moussa Dembele have failed to plunder the goals consistently. Yet, the former has scored five goals on the continent, two more than he has scored in 11 league matches.
It may be fair to say that the competition, at this stage in the Europa League, is not as high. The French giants top group A with nine points and nine goals.
It is very safe for punters to stake on over 2.5 goals in matches involving Lyon this season.
Manuel Pellegrini has made Betis one of the tougher teams to beat in the La Liga. The manner in which they qualified for the Europa League, on the last day was one of the finest stories last season.
Los Verdiblancos had to come from two goals down in the first half to defeat Celta Vigo to qualify.
This season, the team has continued from where it stopped. They sit fifth on the table with 18 points and second in the Europa League behind Bayer Leverkusen.
Nabil Fekir, Sergio Canales and Cristian Tello have been spectacular for Pellegrini’s side. They are fluid in possession and aggressive out of it.
Having averaged three goals so far, this pattern will expectedly continue long into the competition.