308/1 Acca: Our Europa League Group Picks

Group A: Lyon Group Winners – 1/1

In Group A of this season’s Europa League, Ligue 1 outfit will play the likes of Rangers, Sparta Prague and Brondby and arguably come into this group as favourites ahead of the likes of Rangers, due to the quality that they possess in their squad over the Scottish champions, although Steven Gerrard’s side will no doubt give them a good run for their money.

Lyon are currently managed by Peter Bosz and have added to their squad since Memphis Depay’s departure to Barcelona, bringing in Jerome Boateng, Xherdan Shaqiri, Emerson Palmieri and have also seen Moussa Dembele return to the club, following an unsuccessful spell at Atletico Madrid last season.

Undoubtedly, Rangers will also be looking to qualify having managed an unbeaten season on their way to winning the Scottish Premiership last season, but they must be wary of Sparta Prague who managed two victories against Celtic in last season’s competition. What will give Rangers hope though is their excellent group stage showing against the likes of Benfica, Lech Poznan and Standard Liege last season before hammering Royal Antwerp 9-5 in the Round of 32.

Lyon are priced at 1/1 to win Group A - click on the link to claim this bet in your bet slip!

Group B: Real Sociedad Group Winners – 11/10

Real Sociedad are the next club on this list of side’s that are being backed to top their group, but, they will have to get the better of the likes of AS Monaco, PSV Eindhoven and Sturm Graz if they are to do so.

Imanol Alguacil’s side had an impressive campaign last season, winning the Copa del Rey for 2019/20 due to the postponement of the final and had a decent showing in the Europa League, progressing through a tough group containing the likes of Napoli and AZ Alkmaar. The Spaniards have an array of excellent players in their side too, with the likes of David Silva, Adnan Januzaj, Mikel Oyarzabal and Alexander Isak all plying their trade at the Basque club.

AS Monaco have had a poor start to their league campaign, sitting in 16th place after five matches on just four points, whilst PSV have won four out of four matches. Sociedad have won their last three games in La Liga against the likes of Rayo Vallecano, Levante and Cadiz having lost 4-2 to Barcelona on the opening weekend.

Real Sociedad are priced at 11/10 to win Group B.

Group C: Napoli Group Winners – 11/10

In Group C, we have chosen Napoli to be the group winners, ahead of the likes of Leicester City, Legia Warsaw and Spartak Moscow.

The Serie A side are in this competition due to their lacklustre performances under Gennaro Gattuso last season which saw the Italian sacked and replaced by Luciano Spalletti, having finished one point behind fourth-placed Juventus. The Naples club have an array of high-quality players on their books such as Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Hirving Lozano and on their day, have the capability to beat the best, as they showed via their 2-1 win at home to Juventus on the weekend.

Meanwhile, Leicester City have started this season in a moderate fashion, having won three and lost two of their first five matches in the Premier League, following their narrow 1-0 loss at home to Manchester City last time out, the Foxes will be aiming to have a much better Europa League campaign than they did last time out as they suffered a shock exit to Slavia Prague in the Round of 32.

Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw aren’t expected to compete with Napoli or Leicester City for top spot in their groups, although Spartak did finish second in the Russian Premier League last season and have the likes of Victor Moses, Quincy Promes and Jordan Larsson on their books, whilst Legia will have a couple of recognisable faces in their side to watchers of English football, as Artur Boruc and former Foxes winger Bartosz Kapustka in their squad.

Napoli have the odds of 11/10 to finish at the top of Group C.

Group D: Eintracht Frankfurt Group Winners – 4/5

2019 Europa League semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt will have to finish ahead of the likes of Fenerbahce, Olympiakos and Royal Antwerp if they are to qualify as group winners.

Eintracht had an impressive season in the Bundesliga last time out, recording a fifth-place finish, but they did sell star striker Andre Silva to Leipzig in the summer, replacing the Portuguese forward with Sam Lammers on loan from Atalanta, as well as buying Rafael Santos Borré who managed 56 goals in 80 league games for River Plate.

Fenerbahce qualified for this tournament via a third-place finish in the Turkish Super Lig last season where they finished just two points short of Besiktas, meanwhile, Olympiakos predictably stormed the Super League Greece standings last season, finishing 26 points clear of PAOK in second place, but, they were knocked out by Ludogorets on penalties in the Champions League third qualifying round having drawn 3-3 on aggregate.

Royal Antwerp could provide a couple of shocks in the group, having shown their capability last season when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at home in the group stages. The Belgian Pro League outfit have added a couple of notable names to their squad for the 2021/22 campaign, with the likes of Bjorn Engels, Viktor Fischer, Radja Nainggolan and Mbwana Samatta all joining.

Eintracht Frankfurt are priced at 4/5 to win Group D.

Group E: Lazio Group Winners – 4/5

Lazio are the favourites to win Group E ahead of Galatasaray, Lokomotiv Moscow and Marseille due to the sheer quality in their squad.

The Serie A side are managed by former Chelsea and Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri who won this competition in the 2018/19 season with the Stamford Bridge club. Lazio’s squad includes the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas Leiva, Luis Alberto, Felipe Anderson, Pedro, Ciro Immobile and more, which will likely give them the edge over the rest of their group opponents.

Turkish Super Lig runners-up Galatasaray will be hoping to cause some problems to Lazio, although they did recently let go of talismanic figure Falcao this summer, with the Colombian joining Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. Meanwhile, Lokomotiv Moscow showed at times last season in the Champions League that they can be an awkward side, having drawn 1-1 and 0-0 with the La Liga champions.

Marseille could well be the side that will challenge Lazio the most, having qualified for this competition via a fifth-place finish in Ligue 1. Jorge Sampaoli has experience as manager of Chile in knowing how to upset the odds with an underdog side and will be looking towards the likes of Cengiz Under, Amine Harit, Dimitri Payet and Arkadiusz Milik to give his side the spark in attack.

Lazio have the odds of 4/5 to finish at the top of Group E.

Group F: Sporting Braga Group Winners – 2/1

Sporting Braga may be a slight shock on this list of clubs that will be looking to win their group, but Group F does consist of Red Star Belgrade, FC Midtjylland and Ludogorets.

Carlos Carvahal’s side finished fourth in the Portuguese top-flight last season behind Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto and Benfica, but what could favour them is their previous experiences in Europe, having shown their capability in Group G last time out, finishing level on points with Leicester on 13 after six matches, before being knocked out to AS Roma in the Round of 32.

Midtjylland could only manage a second-place finish in the Danish Superliga last season and were soundly knocked out of the Champions League third-round qualifier by PSV 4-0 on aggregate, having mustered up just two shots on target across the two legs.

Red Star Belgrade won their league under legendary Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic, but, were recently knocked out of the Champions League third-round qualifying by Moldovan outfit Sheriff Tiraspol 2-1 on aggregate.

Bulgarian champions Ludogorets may have knocked out Olympiakos in the Champions League qualifiers, but they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Malmo in the Champions League playoff round having managed just five shots on target across the two legs, one fewer than the Swedish side managed in the whole of the first meeting which Malmo won 2-0.

Sporting Braga are priced at 2/1 to win Group F.

Group G: Bayer Leverkusen Group Winners – 11/8

Bayer Leverkusen will fancy their chances of becoming group winners ahead of Celtic, Real Betis and Ferencvarosi in Group G.

The Bundesliga outfit have recently appointed Gerardo Seoane as manager and have had a decent start to the season, earning seven points from a possible of 12, with their only loss of the campaign being to an Erling Haaland inspired Borussia Dortmund last season. They have shown so far this season that they are full of goals, scoring 12 in their opening four matches.

Celtic are looking to rebuild their reputation in Europe having been humiliated in last season’s Europa League under Neil Lennon, finishing bottom of Group H below AC Milan, Lille and Sparta Prague which is in stark contrast to Leverkusen who got 15 points from theirs ahead of Nice, Slavia Prague and Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Meanwhile, Ferencvarosi will likely struggle to match up with the German side for quality, but, are the Hungarian champions.

Real Betis will provide stern competition in this group under Manuel Pellegrini following their sixth-placed finish in La Liga on 61 points, but they have had a poor start to life this season, drawing two and losing one of their opening three matches against Mallorca, Cadiz and Real Madrid.

Bayer Leverkusen have the odds of 11/8 to win Group G.

Group H: West Ham United Group Winners – 10/11

The final team we have back to win their group is West Ham United, having been drawn up against Dinamo Zagreb, Genk and Rapid Vienna in Group H.

David Moyes will be looking to qualify from this group as winners having worked so hard to get to this stage with the Hammers. The Scotsman’s side have started the season well, winning two and drawing two of their opening four league fixtures, including the 4-1 hammering of Leicester City at the London Stadium. With quality players amongst their ranks such as Kurt Zouma, Declan Rice, Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek, there is every chance of the Hammers easing their way through to the knockout rounds.

Dinamo showed that they can be a thorn in a team’s side when they knocked Tottenham Hotspur out in the Round of 16 with 3-0 home win over the Lilywhites, but, they were beaten 3-0 by Sheriff in the Champions League qualifiers this season in the Moldovan outfits path to qualification for the tournament this season.

Genk finished second in the Belgian Pro League last season and aren’t likely to have the quality to compete toe to toe with a Premier League side, whilst Rapid Vienna were beaten home and away by Arsenal in the group stages last season, a side which West Ham finished above of in the Premier League standings.

West Ham are priced at 10/11 to win Group H.


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