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Europa League Odds: Five managers to keep an eye on

Brendan Rodgers is one of the early favourites to win the Europa League
Brendan Rodgers is one of the early favourites to win the Europa League

The Europa League returns this week with the introduction of the group stages, albeit with a twist.

The number of clubs have shrunk from 48 to 32 and only the top team in each of the eight groups progresses automatically through to the last-16; the eight second-placed sides then advance to the knockout round play-offs where they’ll be joined by the eight Champions League drop outs.

Eight of the last 24 Europa League winners have come via the Champions League avenue,  so it’s probably worth watching out for Europa League darlings Sevilla and also Villarreal’s four-time winner Unai Emery!

But, for now, here are five Europa League managers who are well worth keeping an eye on this season...

Europa League Winner Odds

Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City)

Brendan Rodgers enjoyed immense domestic success with Celtic, he came within a whisker of winning the Premier League with Liverpool, and last season he won the first FA Cup in Leicester City’s history. However, he’s not had it all his own way in European competition.

The Northern Irishman has never made it out of the Champions League group stages while he’s come unstuck in the last-32 of the Europa League with Liverpool, Celtic, and then Leicester last time out. Rodgers will therefore feel that he has a lot to prove in this competition.

Leicester have been installed as the joint 14/1 favourites alongside Napoli, who just so happen to be in their group alongside Spartak Moskva and Legia Warszawa: the Midlands side are priced at 13/10 to top the pile.

Leicester City to win the Europa League

Leicester
WIN PROB: 7%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

Leicester City to win Group C

Leicester
WIN PROB: 37%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

Maurizio Sarri (Lazio)

At his fourth club in the last four years, Maurizio Sarri is a former Europa League victor with Chelsea. Now back in Italy with new club Lazio, the 2019/20 Serie A title winner will be looking to make his mark in his debut season in Rome.

Sarri was never loved at Chelsea and Juventus - despite winning trophies at both - however, the former banker should be given time to implement ‘Sarriball’ at Lazio, and the results could well be dazzling: when orchestrated to the required level, the Italian’s attractive brand of football is a must watch.

Lazio are set to embark upon a compelling journey across the continent, with I Biancocelesti the evens favourites to win Group E (Marseille, Galatasaray, and Lokomotiv Moscow). They tasted domestic cup glory on multiple occasions under ex-boss Simone Inzaghi and with Sarri now at the helm they have been handed odds of 20/1 to lift their first European trophy this century.

Lazio to win the Europa League

Lazio
WIN PROB: 4%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

Niko Kovac (Monaco)

Back in 2019 Niko Kovac was sacked by Bayern Munich three weeks after he oversaw a sensational 7-2 win away to Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham. It’s a tough life this managerial lark. The Croatian was no doubt wounded by the departure, with Bayern going on to win the treble under Hansi Flick.

Back in management with Monaco since July 2020, in his debut season Kovac took a combustible side that had finished 17th and 9th up to 3rd and within five points of the French title, and even did the double over PSG, only to then agonisingly lose to Parisians in extra-time of the Coupe de France. L’Equipe subsequently named him their best coach of the season.

Monaco have started the current campaign slowly but they will be expected to kick-on in the upcoming months. Kovac has constructed a well-balanced team featuring Wissam Ben Yedder, Caio Henrique, Benoit Badiashile, Aleksandr Golovin, and Aurelien Tchouameni, while he’s added talented young Dutch striker Myron Boadu from AZ Alkmaar.

Remarkably no French side has ever won the Europa League, Monaco are 40/1 shots to change this.

Monaco to win the Europa League

Monaco
WIN PROB: 3%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

Monaco to win Group B

Monaco
WIN PROB: 40%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

Gerardo Seoane (Bayer Leverkusen)

It was tempting to include a La Liga manager given that Spain’s top-flight has produced seven of the last 10 Europa League winners. However, neither Real Sociedad or Real Betis excite us at this stage, although as we mentioned earlier it’s worth monitoring how Sevilla and Villarreal fare in the Champions League.

Instead, we simply can’t wait to watch Gerardo Seoane’s Bayer Leverkusen in Europa League action given their goal-drenched start to the season. Employed in the summer as a replacement for caretaker Hannes Wolf, Seoane won three consecutive league titles at Young Boys and even booted Leverkusen out of the Europa League last season en-route to the last-16.

A speaker of six languages, Seoane promised attractive and entertaining football, and so far he has delivered emphatically with his five league and cup matches jam-packed with 21 goals; that’s an average of four a game. This includes a 4-0 thumping of Gladbach, a 4-1 win at Augsburg, then the weekend’s thrilling 4-3 defeat to Dortmund - a game they led three times!

Moussa Diaby (4), Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz (both 3) have all enjoyed fine starts to the season and we look forward to seeing the trio - plus Lucas Alario - thrive in European competition.

Seoane’s side look a decent price at 20/1 to become the first German winners since Schalke back in 1997, while they are available at 13/10 to top Group G ahead of Celtic, Real Betis, and Ferencvárosi.

Bayer Leverkusen to win the Europa League

Bayer Leverkusen
WIN PROB: 5%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

David Moyes (West Ham)

David Moyes will be the first ever West Ham manager to oversee a Europa League group stage campaign and he is the first to reach the main competition since the 2006/07 UEFA Cup when an Alan Pardew side featuring Carlos Tevez were soundly beaten by Palermo in the first round.

Moyes’ men conjured up a memorable 2020/21 season, finishing 6th, and the momentum has spilled over into the current campaign with the unbeaten Iron registering two wins and two draws so far. The 16/1 third-favourites are great to watch, score a lot of goals, and are hungry to progress to the next level.

West Ham have been handed a favourable group containing Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Vienna, and Genk. It will be intriguing to see how Moyes juggles the challenge of continental football; the Scot previously reached the Champions League last-16 with Man Utd - no Red Devils boss has progressed further since Fergie - while Everton made it out of their Europa League/UEFA Cup groups back in 2007/08 and 2009/10.

West Ham to win the Europa League

West Ham United
WIN PROB: 6%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.

Europa League Outright Odds

Napoli
WIN PROB: 7%
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Leicester
WIN PROB: 7%
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West Ham United
WIN PROB: 6%
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Bayer Leverkusen
WIN PROB: 5%
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Real Sociedad
WIN PROB: 5%
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Olympique Lyonnais
WIN PROB: 4%
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Lazio
WIN PROB: 4%
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Eintracht Frankfurt
WIN PROB: 3%
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Real Betis
WIN PROB: 3%
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Monaco
WIN PROB: 3%
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PSV Eindhoven
WIN PROB: 2%
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Olympique Marseille
WIN PROB: 2%
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Rangers FC
WIN PROB: 1%
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Galatasaray
WIN PROB: 1%
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Crvena Zvezda
WIN PROB: 1%
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Celtic
WIN PROB: 1%
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Fenerbahce
WIN PROB: 1%
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Olympiacos
WIN PROB: 1%
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Dinamo Zagreb
WIN PROB: 1%
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Sparta Prague
WIN PROB: 1%
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Sc Braga
WIN PROB: 1%
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Lokomotiv Moscow
WIN PROB: 1%
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Genk
WIN PROB: 1%
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FC Midtjylland
WIN PROB: 0%
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Ludogorets Razgrad
WIN PROB: 0%
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Legia Warszawa
WIN PROB: 1%
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Spartak Moskva
WIN PROB: 0%
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Brondby
WIN PROB: 0%
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Rapid Vienna
WIN PROB: 0%
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Royal Antwerp FC
WIN PROB: 0%
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Ferencvaros
WIN PROB: 0%
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Sturm Graz
WIN PROB: 0%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-26 07:17 Odds subject to change.
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