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Published on January 8th, 2012 | by Sportingly Better Tipster

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Europa League Predictions – Tournament Tips 2012

UEFA Europa League Betting Odds

  • Manchester City (5.50)
  • Manchester United (7.50)
  • Schalke (12.00)
  • Valencia (13.00)
  • Atletico Madrid (15.00)
  • Udinese (17.00)
  • Athletic Bilbao (19.00)
  • PSV (21.00)
  • FC Porto (26.00)
  • Lazio (26.00)
  • FC Twente (29.00)
  • Olympiakos (29.00)
    30-1 Bar

Full Draw

  • Braga v Besiktas
  • Lokomotiv Moscow v Athletic Bilbao
  • Rubin Kazan v Olympiakos
  • Ajax v Manchester United
  • AZ Alkmaar v Anderlecht
  • FC Porto v Manchester City
  • FC Salzburg v Metalist Kharkiv
  • Lazio v Atletico Madrid
  • Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon
  • Plzen v Schalke
  • Stoke v Valencia
  • Wisla Krakow v Standard Liege
  • Hannover 96 v Club Brugge
  • Steaua Bucharest v FC Twente
  • Trabzonspor v PSV
  • Udinese v PAOK Salonika

The Challengers

Manchester City, Manchester United, Ajax, Valencia and FC Porto all dropped into this season’s UEFA Europa League competition and unsurprisingly dominate the betting market.

Current favourites of the bookmakers are Manchester City, despite being drawn against fellow Champions League drop-outs FC Porto. Whether Roberto Mancini will go for UEFA’s second competition or not remains to be seen, but the Abu Dhabi backed side possess a wealth of talent and even taking City’s second string, The Citizens have enough quality and depth to go all the way. Defeat in the FA Cup to Manchester United may reinvigorate a desire to win the Europa League this season with the ambitious owners desperate to pick up further silverware and begin a spell of dominance both domestically and in Europe.

Second favourites Manchester United also enter the knock out stages of the Europa League via their exit from Group C in the Champions League. England striker Wayne Rooney has already publicly expressed his desire and that of his manager’s to win the competition, but the Europa League will always be second fiddle to Manchester United’s Premier League demands. Whether Manchester United will invest during the January transfer window remains to be seen, but the Red Devils second string will be severely tested, especially given long term injuries to the likes of Tom Cleverly and Darren Fletcher.

German side Schalke are a very good outfit and have impressed already in this season’s Europa League competition. Schalke are undefeated in the competition so far winning four out of six games, conceding just twice throughout the group stage and only Standard Liege can better that. Thirteen goals were scored for Schalke¬† in Group J and Dutchman Jan-Klass Huntelaar is one of Europe’s top marksmen. Schalke are just three points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and Horst Heldt can also call upon Raul and Jefferson Farfan. The draw against Czech side Plzen is also favourable for the third favourites.

The Best of the Rest

PSV Eindhoven won five out of six games in Group C scoring 13 goals and the Dutch side are currently second in the Eredivisie. PSV are the top scorers in the Dutch top flight, with the likes of Dries Mertens, Ola Toivonen, Tim Matavz and Georginio Wijnaldum. The draw of Trabzonspor will have pleased Fred Rutten despite the Turkish side appearing in the Champions League earlier this season.

The Spanish contingent of Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao are also worth keeping an eye on.

Valencia’s plus 5 goal difference in the Champions League was not enough to secure their passage into the last 16 and Los Che will need to overcome Tony Pulis’ side if they are to progress. Valencia are currently third in La Liga and in Roberto Soldado, Unai Emery has a very competent striker who has been in excellent goalscoring form this season.

Atletico Madrid topped Group I with 13 points and the Spanish outfit have Colombian Radamel Falcao in their ranks who fired FC Porto to Europa League glory last season. Diego and Arda Turan are also gifted midfielders who could potentially provide the difference for Los Colchoneros and new coach Diego Simeone will be looking to stamp his mark on the club with the Madrid side languishing in mid-table domestically.

Similarly to Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao may also feel that the Europa League provides the best chance of success this season. The Basque outfit topped Group F with 13 points, the same group that contained French side PSG. Los Leones are really yet to see the best of marksman Fernando Llorente this season and Marcelo Bielsa will be looking to get the best out of Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez and Iker Muinan during the second half of the season.

Udinese are a strong outfit at the Stadio Friuli at home and are riding high in Serie A. Udinese made hard work of qualifying but in Antonio Di Natale, Udinese have an experienced striker who is always capable of getting goals.

Best Bet: Manchester City to win @5.50
Value Bet: Schalke to win @13.00

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