Europa League Playoffs – Should Teams Focus on Their Domestic Campaigns or Winning Europa?

Arsenal and Chelsea are 5th and 6th respectively in the Premier League. Arsenal are one point behind Manchester United for the 4th Champions League spot. Chelsea are two points behind. Sevilla and Valencia are 6th and 7th respectively in La Liga. Sevilla are 5 points away from the Champions League spot. Valencia are 6 points away. Similarly, Frankfurt are 3 points out of the Champions League spots in the Bundesliga. The question for their managers are, do we rest in the first leg and focus on the league, dominate the first leg and then rest, or just rest and then focus on the Champions League spots in the league? Not an easy spot for coaches. Anyway, onto today’s games..

92-78-9 on Soccer in 2018 up 8.17 units

32-26-6 on Soccer in 2019 down 0.41 units

Sevilla -1 at -132 for 4 units. Sevilla are outscoring opponents 24-1 at The Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in European play. I have been to a few games there in Sevilla and was disappointed that the beer was alcohol free… but Sevilla’s product on the field was great. Slavia Prague have never made it to this stage. Sevilla have won this competition 3 times. Ben Yedder and Sarabia are starting, which I love. Andre Silva is not starting for Sevilla, which I also love. Munir is getting another chance. Sevilla will want to dominate this game so they can rest a little in the second leg and focus on the league. I think they achieve that goal.

Villarreal/Zenit over 2 at -129 for 3 units. Zenit’s home games average over 2 goals a game in this competition. Zenit have been scoring most of their home goals after halftime lately.. so don’t get all nervous on me at halftime. Sardar Azmoun has found fine form since arriving in St. Petersburg recently. Dzyuba is always a threat. Villarreal’s last 4 games have all seen at least 2 goals. First legs overs are always a little dicey, but I like this one.

Arsenal Vs. Rennes over 2/ Inter Vs. Frankfurt over 2/ Chelsea Parlay risking 3 units at +140. Arsenal’s defense has been lacking ever since Holding went out with injury. Ben Arfa has been great this calendar year for Rennes. Aubameyang, Ozil, and Iwobi should provide enough creativity and pace to get a goal. Rennes’ last 7 games have all seen at least two goals. Rennes impressed me against Real Betis. If you don’t know why I love Frankfurt overs, then you haven’t been reading me. The Recap: Luka Jovic and Sebastien Haller.

Chelsea winning this competition would do wonders for Maurizio Sarri and his job security. Granted, winning this competition only kept Mourinho around in Manchester for a little while longer. I personally don’t think Chelsea will finish in the top 4 with road games at Liverpool and United still on the schedule. Also, I’m 100% sure Hazard will leave for Real Madrid or other greener pastures this offseason if Chelsea do not make Champions League. They go for it and get the win at home today against Dynamo Kiev. Kiev won the easiest group and then beat Olympiakos to get to this stage. Their “luck” runs out today.