The 2020/21 Europa League action begins with a host of top clubs competing in the second tier competition of European football. The new season of Europa League promises some dramatic contests particularly between clubs who have Champions League pedigree. Over the past 9 campaigns, the winners have been either Spanish or English clubs. What promises to make it an eye-catching contest is the third place teams in group stages of UEFA Champions league dropping into the Europa League knockout stages.
With some of the best attacking talent on display, coupled with the unpredictable nature of the competition, the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League is one to look forward to.
We take a look at top 5 favourites to claim the UEFA Europa League title:
The Yellow submarine returned to the Europa league again under the stewardship of Unai Emery. Villarreal are the underdogs in the competition, but with Coach Unai Emery they have a serial winner of the competition leading them. Unai Emery has won the competition an unprecedented three times while managing Sevilla and would look to grab his fourth Europa League title. Villarreal have made some astute signings in the summer, with ex- Valencia midfield pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin joining the club. What remains to be seen is can they compete against some of the top clubs in the knockout stages of the competition?
Over the years, Napoli have carved out a reputation as a dynamic and fluid attacking team. Under RIno Gattuso, they have a manager who is ferocious and adaptive in his approach. Dries Mertens, Hirving Lozano, and record signing Victor Osimhein form a quality attacking trio which can create havoc even against the best of Europe. Kalidou Koulibaly in defence is solid as ever, Fabian Ruiz keeps adding creativity and guile in midfield and club captain Lorenzo Insigne can change a match on his own. Watch out for the Partenopei this season out!
3. AC Milan
AC Milan are on their way to return to Europe's elite. After a barren spell in Serie A and Europe, the Rossoneri have a point to prove. They face a tricky group with Celtic, Sparta Prague and Lille all capable of causing an upset. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to AC Milan last season and with his winning mentality revitalizing the Rossoneri, they have every chance to win the competition. Also watch out for the young Portuguese forward Rafael Leao who could be the find of the competition.
Some people say that Jose Mourinho doesn’t fancy winning the second tier competition, but what they seem to forget is that Jose is a serial winner. He has won the Europa League in his first season with Manchester United and would love to end Spurs’ trophy drought. With Harry Kane firing on all cylinders and the fearsome pace of Gareth Bale and Son on the wings, the North London outfit are the bookies favourites to win the Europa League. Also, don’t forget Jose’s second season record of winning silverware wherever he goes!
The 2019 Europa league final loss to Chelsea in Baku will forever be remembered by the Gunners fans and players alike. The loss had major implications for Arsenal as a club, both financially and strategically. However, the Gunners are a confident bunch under Mikel Arteta and would love to end their European trophy drought. Arsenal have a relatively easy group and it would be smooth sailing even if they decide to play their promising youngsters. With the signing of Thomas Partey, the gunners have a top level midfield enforcer in the ranks that could compete against the best in Europe. If the draw is favourable, we could have a tantalizing prospect of a North London derby on our hands in the Europa League final.