Europa League outright predictions: Barca still have quality to land Euro glory
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Alex Jack
Barcelona boss Xavi will hope to guide his team to Europa League glory this season
Barcelona boss Xavi will hope to guide his team to Europa League glory this season

- Barcelona v Manchester United the pick of the knockout round play-off draw
- Arsenal and Real Sociedad through to last 16
- Recommended bet: Back Barcelona to win the Europa League

With the group stages now behind us, the attention now turns to the knockout stages of the Europa League, which will start in 2023.

Some massive clubs, often accustomed to playing in the latter stages of the Champions League, are involved in the knockout round draw this term.

Meanwhile, the group stage winners, including the likes of Arsenal, Real Betis, Feyenoord and Real Sociedad, already have their place in the last-16 of the Europa League and will be awaiting the arrival of potential heavyweights.

Barca and United grab focus

The knockout round play-off draw certainly did not disappoint, and the pick of the eight ties has to be between Barcelona and Manchester United.

Two sides that have entered new eras this season, the names of the clubs alone mean these should be two highly-anticipated games at Camp Nou and Old Trafford on February 16 and 23, respectively.

United are continuing to settle into life under new manager Erik ten Hag, while the overhaul continues at Barcelona after a summer that saw them sign the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

These should be two thrilling clashes between two historic sides, with the winner likely to be one of the contenders at the business end of the competition this season.

Juve not the force they once were

Massimiliano Allegri will hope to turn Juventus' season around by winning the Europa League
Massimiliano Allegri will hope to turn Juventus' season around by winning the Europa League

Juventus making an early exit from the Champions League shows how far the Old Lady has fallen in recent years.

Once a side competing in Champions League finals, the Bianconeri now have to throw their efforts into the Europa League if they are to have European success this season.

Currently sitting in fifth place in the Serie A table with 10 points between themselves and frontrunners Napoli, this Juve side are trying to find their rhythm.

Injuries have not helped their cause this season, with returning star Paul Pogba their most high-profile player on the sidelines.

Juve will be expected to overcome Nantes in the knockout round play-off, but it is hard to see them going all the way in the Europa League this season.

Gunners showing promise

Arsenal have enjoyed a tremendous start to the season, both domestically and in Europe.

The Gunners already have their place in the last-16 secured after finishing top of a potentially tricky group that included Bodo/Glimt, PSV Eindhoven and FC Zurich.

Wins over Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea have also seen the Gunners rise to the top of the Premier League table ahead of the World Cup break.

With the Gunners seemingly in the battle with Manchester City for the English crown, it remains to be seen if they can continue to fight on multiple fronts with the squad depth they have.


Arsenal might be the slight favourites in the outright market with LiveScore Bet at 4/1, but Barcelona may be the better option at 9/2.

While the Blaugrana disappointed in the Champions League, they were in a tough group alongside Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

If Barca can keep star striker Lewandowski fit, as he has scored 13 goals in 13 La Liga appearances so far this season, then they will take some stopping to be denied the Europa League title this term.


Europa LeagueBarcelonaManchester UnitedReal SociedadJuventus
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