UEFA club competition second tier ‘Europa League’, with the Friday’s draw saw teams whittled down to 16, as the competition edges closer and closer to the last two teams.
Now that the group stages are finally over, and each teams has been drawn with their next opponent in the competition. Let’s chronicle the five prospective teams that could win this season Europa League, having shown with their impressive form and consistency in the competition that they could win it.
So, without wasting time, let’s go on the journey as we chronicle the five prospective teams that could go on to win the Europa League this season.
Europa League: Top 5 Prospective Teams That Could Win The Title
AC Milan – (Italy)
Seven time UEFA Champions League winner AC Milan, are fast becoming a genuine force in Europe and Seria A again after along time away from UEFA competitions and been competitive in the Seria A. The Rossonerri managed to skipped through the hurdle of former European Champions FK Crvena Zvezda, in a match that produced six goals in both legs with the Italian giant Milan qualifying to the round of 16 with away goals rules.
With the Rossonerri’s next opponent been high flying Manchester United away from home, in the round of 16 it would be quite difficult to upstage the Red Devils just like they did with FK Crvena Zvezda. However, with the impressive form of their old war horse Zlantan Ibrahimovic, and the support cast of Ante Rebic and Hakan Calhanoglu Milan has enough quality to triumph in both legs and go as far to win the trophy they’ve never won in Europe.
On the other hand, we also cannot over look United, they may not have a potent forward that could deliver the goals like Milan has in Ibra. However, Ole’s led side are also well experience and capable enough to curtail the attacks of Milan, and most importantly with the high flying Bruno Fernandez still in the team United also has something working for them.
The tie would be decided based on the team that could score more goals, and if we’re to go by that Milan seem more like the team with no disrespect to Ole and his team.
Arsenal – (England)
A familiar opponent it is for the Gunners once again in this year Europa League’s round of 16, having been drawn against their last season enemy Olympiacos. The Gunners managed to get through their opponent, after a dramatic 3-2 triumph over Portuguese Champions Benfica in Athens to qualify for the round of 16 through a 4-3 aggregate.
After escaping the firepower of Benfica, surprisingly for the Gunners they were drawn with their last season tormentor who are also in brilliant form this season. In the round of 32 clash between Arsenal and their visitor, Olympiacos it was the goal of Pape Abou Cisse last gasp goal in 53rd minutes that levelled the tie and force extra time which got to the Gunners eliminated.
With that painful scenario playing on in the mind of Mikel Arteta and his boys, they wouldn’t want to take on their next opponent with soft hands knowing full well what they’re capable of. So with the team captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang back to his scoring, and the ever reliable Bukayo Saka dishing out top performances for the Gunners, then we could say Arsenal are one of five prospective teams to win the title.
Ajax – (Netherlands)
Considering how swashbuckling and brilliant the Dutch giant has been with their style of play and competing fiercely against the big boys, in the last four to three seasons. However, it would be foolish to write off Ajax in the Europa League, well any team that does that do it at is own peril because the Dutch side ain’t a team to over look especially with the combination of their young and experience team.
In 2017 we saw the Dutch side also played in the final against United, showing the world they can also fight to finish against the big boys of European football despite losing to Jose Mourinho led United in the final. The strange thing that happened in the final was that, despite United leading with the Paul Pogba goal Ajax were still playing more creative and fluent game, as such with the team more empower with both experience and quality they’re no doubt one of the team that could win the trophy.
So if not for anything, with the kind of manager they’ve got and the entirety of their team, they’re surely a serious contender for the European glory. But then to do that, they must first take care of an high flying side that also plays good football Young Boys of Switzerland in the round of 16.
AS Roma – (Italy)
Paulo Fonseca’s side may not have lifted a title for a long time now and also considering how underwhelming their campaign has been this season, however we cannot overlook the fact that they’ve got quite enough quality to go pass their opponent in the Europa League round of 16.
Facing the former champions of 2008-09 season when the competition was still UEFA Cup, it’s a big task for Fonseca and his boys to summon. However, with the in-form Borja Mayoral, Dzeko, and the defense splitting passes of former Arsenal midfielder they’ve got enough in their Arsenal to go on and win the trophy.
Shakhtar Doneskt on the hand are also not pushover in this competition, especially at the crucial stages like these one, but then the Ukrainian giant ain’t that blessed with same quality players that won them the title in 2008-09. No doubt they’ve got some decent players that could hurt teams on a good day which they showed against Real Madrid, but looking at the quality of players both teams has in their team the Giallorrossi definitely has more quality.
Tottenham Hotspur – (England)
Seeing Jose Mourinho led side on this list may seem like a joke to some, because of how underwhelming their campaign has been so far this season, however the Portuguese gaffer team can’t be overlook considering how he’s been able to lead his previous teams to a triumphant outing, notably Manchester United, in 2017.
The Lilywhites has been drawn to play Dinamo Zagreb following the round of 16 draw, after coming out on top of Group J in the competition the North London side, cruised past Wolfsberger AC 8-1 on aggregate in the round of 32. Tottenham winning 4-1 away put Jose Mourinho’s side in good shape to qualify for the next stage.
With their next opponent been the Croatian giant, in other to fight for a place in the quarter finals and probably go ahead and win his first title for the Lilywhites, it would be quite difficult however looking at quality for quality in both teams Jose Mourinho has the luxury of ever reliable Harry Kane, hardworking midfield pairing of Ndombele, Hojbjerg, and the experience of Gareth Bale to navigate the Croatian hurdle.
It’s still a long way to the final in Gdansk, however these teams on the list definitely has the qualities to make it to the final. But then, that doesn’t mean other teams not listed can’t make it to the final, knowing full well that in a football game anything could happen.