The Europa League is Europe’s second tier club competition. Over the course of each season up to 160 teams compete in the Europa League with the overall winner receiving just over £5.5 million and perhaps more importantly, a place in the following seasons Champions League.

Due to the amount of teams that enter the tournament there are a huge number of games played each season in the Europa League; this coupled with the fact that games tend to be played mid-week (on a Thursday) means that avid football bettors relish each round of fixtures. But are these people on to a winner? Or is the Europa League dangerous ground for the bettors amongst us?

Not taking it seriously

Despite the fact that there is easy access to some great Europa League tips on the internet, it’s often hard to predict how a team will perform in the competition; especially as some clubs, or coaches, view it as a distraction rather than an opportunity. This is especially true of Premier League teams who are generally more interested in finishing as high as possible in the league as opposed to progressing in the Europa League; this is down to the amount of money in their domestic league.

For those teams who do treat it as a distraction it’s often the case that they’ll rest their senior, or better players for the Europa League games. For this reason we often see some of the top teams losing games they in theory shouldn’t.

Travelling distance

Due to the huge amount of teams in the Europa League there is inevitably some clubs in there from countries all over Europe. This can often throw up some mammoth travelling distances. Just a few years ago Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen had to travel just short of 5500 kilometres (5499 to be exact) to play Kazakhstan side Kairat Almaty in a Europa League third round qualifier This trip made by Aberdeen is the longest trip ever made in the Europa League.

Travelling such huge distances, through many different time zones will quite clearly have an impact on a player’s physical state. Having often played on the Sunday afternoon, having to make a long haul trip is the last thing that a professional athlete would want. It allows for very little recovery time, and this is also a contributing factor when it comes to manager’s team selections.

Unknown quantities

Each season in the Europa League we often find there is a few shock results. This is in part due to the fact there are some teams that many of us, especially in England, don’t know too much about. Of course we’re all abreast of the going ons in the major European Leagues such as the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1; but how much do the majority of football fans really know about the Belgian Pro League? Of course managers have access to statistic and footage regarding fairly unknown opposition, but do they really understand the opponent as well as they would a side from a more familiar league?


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