Premier League pair head 2018-19 Europa League betting
Arsenal and Chelsea FC are heading the betting for this season's Europa League
London rivals Chelsea FCand Arsenal head the outright betting for the UEFA Europa League this season – ahead of competition specialists Sevilla and a plethora of other clubs from Spain, Italy and elsewhere.
The Blues and Gunners met early on in the Premier League season at Stamford Bridge with Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea FC running out 3-2 winners.
New Arsenal boss Unai Emery knows what it takes to win the Europa League, having landed it three times with Sevilla in as many seasons between 2014 and 2016.
The Gunners reached the semi-finals under predecessor Arsene Wenger last term but lost to eventual winners Atletico Madrid. Chelsea FC, who won the competition in 2013, are 6/1 favourites in the Europa League betting at William Hill – just ahead of Arsenal.
Three starters from the Blues’ 2-1 win over Benfica in the final five years ago are still on their books in Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill and David Luiz – who played in midfield – and Victor Moses was an unused sub.
Blues star Eden Hazard missed the Europa final due to injury, but is set to remain in West London this season despite persistent rumours linking him with replacing the departed Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid.
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois did leave the Bridge for the Bernabeu, however, with Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic going the other way on loan. Sarri also added Brazil-born Italy midfielder Jorginho from former club Napoli and got a new number one in Kepa Arrizabalaga for around £70,000,000.
As for the Gunners, they have changed managed for the first time in more than two decades but backed Emery in the transfer market. German goalie Bernd Leno, veteran Switzerland right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, young French prospect Matteo Guendouzi, Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira are Arsenal’s summer signings.
Every player has their price at Sevilla, meanwhile, who have won the competition five times since 2005-06. Given that terrific record in the Europa League and its predecessor, the UEFA Cup, the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan side look overpriced at 14/1 but they may be because they have had to go through qualifying this time.
It’s been a typical summer of change in Andalusia, with new boss Pablo Machin losing World Cup-winning midfielder Steven Nzonzi and also seeing fellow French defensive player Clement Lenglet cashed in. Roque Mesa’s loan spell from Swansea City has been made permanent, however, and Aleix Vidal returns from Barcelona with Portugal poacher Andre Silva loaned in from AC Milan.
Speaking of the Rossoneri, Milan will participate in the Europa League this term after having their European ban overturned. How much of a priority this competition is for the red half of the San Siro remains to be seen, but they’re 16/1 shots to win it.
Milan let Silva leave on loan because they, in turn, brought in proven Serie A goalscorer and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain to the season – in exchange for selling defender Leonardo Bonucci back to Italian champions Juventus.
They’ve also moved other centre-forwards Carlos Bacca and Nikola Kalinic on, but there has been further investment in the Rossoneri squad.
Gennaro Gattuso can now call upon Torreira’s Uruguay team-mate Diego Laxalt and another bright defensive prospect in Mattia Caldara. Alen Halilovic and Tiemoue Bakayoko – on loan from Chelsea FC – bolster Milan’s midfield ahead of the Europa campaign.