Top 5 contenders to win the Europa league this season
5) Olympique Marseille
The French club have once again found their feet, currently residing on the third place in the French Ligue behind heavy spenders PSG and AS Monaco. Their fine run has coincided with Dmitri Payet and Florian Thauvin hitting top gear. Having seen off competition from Sporting Braga in the round of 32 with relative ease, Marseille are a force to be reckoned with. Though they face a tricky tie against Athletic Club in the round of 16, Marseille would be fairly confident of their chances. The club boast the right balance of top talents like Payet, young talents like Maxi Lopez and experienced heads like ex-Bayern midfielder Luis Gustavo, which is bound to prove decisive as the competition progresses.
4) Olympique Lyonnais
Former French champions will have extra motivation for this year’s competition given that their own stadium will play host in the final in May. Despite a relative dip in their domestic form, Lyon easily got past the yellow submarine of Villarreal. With the likes of Nabil Fekir playing some of the most enthralling football in Europe at the moment and Mariano Diaz smoothly settling in to life in France, Lyon have one of the most deadly attacks in the competition. A mid-week trip to Russia is always a difficult one; however, Lyon will be optimistic of their chances against CSKA.
3) Borussia Dortmund
The Black and Yellow suffered a heartbreak in the competition couple of seasons ago, when they squandered a 3 goal lead against Liverpool. Therefore, the club would be keen on making amends this time around. BVB’s form shows no signs that the club might win the trophy however, they have had something they lacked before, luck. After virtually getting outplayed by Atalanta, BVB still managed to squeeze one in and go through, the kind of grit a team needs towards the business end. Under Stoger, BVB look much more resilient and are definitely strong contenders.
Europa League is Arsene Wenger’s best chance of breaking his European duck. Despite a busy transfer market, Arsenal look a much better side than they did a couple of months ago. The end of a long saga of Ozil and Sanchez seems to have brought back the happy mood in the Gunners’ camp. Mkhitaryan looks like he has been an Arsenal player all his life, and will be central to Arsenal’s hopes of winning the competition. They face AC Milan in unarguably the most thrilling tie of the round of 16; on paper, Arsenal are the heavy favourites to go through.
1) Atletico Madrid
After two heartbreaks in three years in European competition, Atletico would be keen to finally win a trophy even if it is not the Champions league. After shockingly getting eliminated from the group stages itself, Simeone’s men have a lot to prove to the rest of the world. The likes of Juanfran, Godin are on the wrong end of their careers but the club have strongly strengthened especially with the arrival of Diego Costa, who is on his day the best in the world, which suggests that Atletico are not yet ready to fade away. Perhaps, winning the title would be the ultimate statement.