It’s time to get serious in the UEFA Europa League, and while some may choose to believe that’s a ‘jokey’ statement, it really isn’t. The secondary European competition is going to feature some big teams this season, and in some instances, there are notable clubs that may not even make it beyond the playoff round.
Before we get into all of that, though, it’s certainly worth noting that in addition to the British Isles teams we’ll be looking at shortly, Linfield are also on the verge of history. They beat Qarabag 3-2 in the first leg, and if they can hold off the team from Azerbaijan, they’ll be celebrating a famous passage into the group stage.
As reported by BBC and The Scotsman, though, we’re here to discuss Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rangers and Celtic. All three teams will view the Europa League as an added bonus for the season ahead, because while they may be able to cause a shock or two, we just can’t imagine a scenario in which they win the whole thing. With that being said, they don’t really need to
Alas, we’ll focus on what we know to be true: and that is that all three teams have a wonderful chance at getting through. Firstly we have Wolves, who are 3-2 up from the first leg over in Turin against Torino. Some Wolves fans will still be a bit cautious, given their old school habit of getting their hopes up only to be let down, but Torino need to score at least two away goals without reply at Molineux and we can’t see that being a thing that actually happens.
Then you’ve got Celtic, who hold a fairly comfortable lead over AIK as we gear up for the second leg. Again, they have a tendency to embarrass themselves, but they should be more than good enough to edge into the group stage.
Doing it for the UK
Rangers are expected to win in the eyes of many fans, but Legia Warsaw aren’t just going to roll over and play ball. The Scottish giants are goalless with the Poles after the first leg, and it’ll be interesting to see how they approach this one. If they come firing out of the blocks then they could easily fall short, but from a ‘quality’ perspective, we don’t believe they should be worrying themselves.
If all three are able to get through to the group stage, that’d be a big statement of intent from the British clubs. Manchester United and Arsenal will almost certainly be amongst the favourites to win the entire Europa League this season, and with that being the case, it’ll be interesting to measure all five of them up and see whether or not the lesser known sides can do some damage.
Even if they don’t we’re excited to see how it all goes down tonight, because one way or another, we feel as if there are going to be a few surprises that will be discussed tomorrow morning.