It is in no doubt that that the Europa league is the strongest it’s been since it started in the 09-10 season. With the likes of, Manchester United, Manchester City, Porto and Valencia all featuring in the competition it will surely be a great tournament. And the round of 32 throws some mouthwatering encounters such as Porto v Manchester City, a tie fit for the champion’s league and Ajax v Manchester United another tie that wouldn’t be out of place.
However it is a tough call about who will the Europa League, The two Manchester clubs will be much fancied but will Sir Alex take the competition seriously. However with his competitive edge it would be no surprise for United to go out all guns blazing. Manchester City on the other hand have a difficult round of 32 tie against Porto to contend to, the Portuguese club are going strong in the Portuguese Liga and will be keen to hold on to their title. City will have to keep the likes of Hulk quiet to stand a chance of advancing.
Spanish sides such Atletico and Valencia will also be regarded as contenders, Atletico are playing Lazio so they have been handed with a difficult tie however if their potent attack with the likes of Falcao and Adrian Lopez hit form, Lazio will be surely up against it. The other main Spanish contender, Valencia have been handed a stern test against Premier League side, Stoke City. The English will give Valencia a physical encounter playing English type football, something Tony Pulis will hope shocks the Spanish side who will be only used to playing the Spanish game of passing it around rather than using the long ball usually associated with Stoke.
Other sides that could contend for the title are top Russian club, Rubin Kazan who sit 3rd in the Russian Premier League. Udinese, who were desperately unlucky to miss out on Championship qualification losing 3-1 to Arsenal on aggergate back in August, and last year’s finalist Braga will be keen to claim the title this season.
The Europa League should throw up some surprises on the way and will be entertaining right to final whistle. It will be the most open wide tournament since its inaugural season in 09-10, expect this year’s Europa League to rival the Champions League in terms of quality and excitment