- Chelsea have the shortest odds to win the Europa League
- Arsenal and Napoli the big tie of the quarterfinals
- Valencia’s odds make them an attractive bet
For Chelsea, this is not how it was supposed to be. As arguably the second richest club in England and one of the wealthiest in Europe, April is meant to be a time when they are mixing it with Europe’s elite as they close in on their first Champions League crown.
Instead, as the season reaches its sharp end, they are planning their assault on the Europa League – UEFA’s secondary club competition.
2019 Europa League Odds
*Odds taken 04/02/19
Chelsea’s place at the top of the Europa League betting reflects their position as one of Europe’s so-called giants, but the fact they are in this competition at all comes down to a fifth-place finish in the 2017-18 English Premier League – a poor return from a club that, courtesy of owner Roman Abramovich’s deep pockets, can attract the best players in the world.
Goals from @RBarkley8 and @_OlivierGiroud_ for @ChelseaFC and a night of flares and a V sign to Sarri from @hazardeden10 take Chelsea nearer to the next round of the @EuropaLeague at the home of @Malmo_FF @JavierGarciaBPI pic.twitter.com/JCG10ugz4Q
— Paul Currie (@PaulCurrie7) February 14, 2019
Easy Passage to Last Eight
Chelsea was favored to win the Europa League as far back as February. Unsurprisingly, they have made relatively light work of getting to the last eight of the Europa League. Their group stage was negotiated with ease – five wins and a draw – and in the first round of the knockout phase, they made light work of a tricky-looking tie against Swedish giants Malmö, who they beat 5-1 on aggregate.
Chelsea 3-0 Dynamo Kiev.
Job done. pic.twitter.com/bwVa37t0cK
— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) March 7, 2019
Their last-16 tie with Dynamo Kiev was negotiated with even greater ease – a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge was followed a week later with an equally emphatic 5-0 triumph in Ukraine – and with a quarterfinal tie with Slavia Prague to come, they more than justify their billing as favorites. Their odds of +175 appear realistic, but we do feel that there is better value to be had elsewhere in the draw.
Kind Half of the Draw
The draw has been kind to the Blues and if they are able to overcome the Czech side in the last eight they will face the winner of Benfica vs Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final.
— Juan Denize (@juanmdenize) February 21, 2019
The other half of the draw looks potentially more difficult, with second and third favorites, Napoli and Arsenal, drawn together in one semi, with the Spanish pairing of Villarreal and Valencia meeting in the other.
All of which makes the Napoli/Arsenal tie pivotal in the shake-up of this season’s competition, with the added subplot of Napoli being the former club of Chelsea manager, Maurizio Sarri. The prospect of a Chelsea/Napoli final is an enticing one and would be one of those stories that make soccer the sport it is.
Redemption for Sarri?
This competition also offers Sarri the chance to redeem something from what has been a horribly disappointing season for the Stamford Bridge club, with them locked in a four-way fight for a top-four place (and Champions League qualification) but currently 17 points shy of second-place.
⚪️ Dortmund 0-1 Spurs
?? PSG 1-3 Man Utd
? Man City 7-0 Schalke
? Bayern 1-3 Liverpool
? Kiev 0-5 Chelsea
?️ Arsenal 3-0 Rennes
Every Premier League side won their second leg and advanced in Europe ? pic.twitter.com/6NsaDg15oy
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 14, 2019
Both Napoli (+400) and Arsenal (+500) will look to have a say in Blues’ hopes of winning the Europa League – and will be favorites in the unlikely event of Chelsea slipping up against Slavia Prague – but we feel the value is with Valencia (+800).
Valencia the Dark Horses
The Spaniards have experience of winning this competition – albeit way back in 2003-04 – and worthy of note is that while they are sixth in this season’s La Liga, they have only lost four games. They also play in a style that is well suited to knock-out football.
Uefa .@EuropaLeague 2018/2019
Pela Liga Europa, o Celtic deu adeus à competição perdendo para o Valência.
2ªFase – 21/02
Valencia-ESP 1 – 0 Celtic-ESC
agg: 3 : 0
— Futebol Super FC (@FutebolSuperFC) February 21, 2019
So, while Chelsea’s short odds are well justified and it’s logical that Arsenal and Napoli follow them in the betting, Valencia at +800 are well worth considering.
Pick: Valencia (+800)