Everything you can expect to see in the Europa League 2023

As the footballing world sets its sights on the Wo

Talk Football
Everything you can expect to see in the Europa League 2023

As the footballing world sets its sights on the World Cup in the run-up to Christmas, many club teams that don't have many internationals travelling to Qatar will be looking to train, regroup and make sure they hit the ground running when the season starts again.

Europa League predictions today may differ from a few weeks from now, once the World Cup has run its course. Plenty of clubs in the Europa League will be hoping that any players who have got on the plane for their country and flown out to Qatar will not be injured.

Although the vast majority of key international players will play for teams participating in the UEFA Champions League, the Europa League is still a prominent club competition. It also includes teams that have dropped out of this year's Champions League group stages, so the standard is still extremely high. This includes teams such as Barcelona and Manchester United.

We won't pretend that either of these teams is operating at the same level they were when they met in the Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011. Barcelona's iconic team of that period were a total footballing marvel and had a handful of some of the most gifted players to ever set foot on the pitch.

Barcelona today still have some fantastic players, which is why most bookmakers have them as second-favorites to win the Europa League this season. You can find Manchester United trailing in third place, behind Barcelona. Despite the great turnaround Erik ten Hag has performed for the Red Devils following the abysmal start to the campaign, a public disagreement with Cristiano Ronaldo has become huge news, and he will not be welcome in the changing room.

Even with the World Cup on the horizon, this particular sports news has dominated sports tabloids and blogs all over Europe. It will be giving the Manchester United manager a headache. In addition to this, they are a team that is still in transition and their form in the Premier League is sporadic. Although they sit above Liverpool in the European qualification places, they are still far off the team under Sir Alex Ferguson that was once so feared around Europe.

On the other hand, Barcelona has recruited well by bringing in Robert Lewandowski, one of his generation's greatest strikers. They are pushing the reigning Champions League winner, Real Madrid, unbelievably close to the top of their domestic league. This is thanks to the incredible form shown by the talismanic Polish captain.

The current favorites to win the Europa League are English giants Arsenal. They have been this season's surprise package in the Premier League as they have spent the majority of this season sitting at the top of the Premier League. Mikel Arteta has shown a lot of promise as Arsenal's manager. Despite drawing some initial criticism, he seemed to buy himself some time by bringing domestic honors to the Emirates.

Now that he has had a chance to settle and implement his footballing philosophy, he has a young team of pure quality. Players such as Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard are leading the way and steamrolling through domestic teams in the division. They beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season and took three points against last season's Premier League and Champions League runners-up Liverpool.

While beating Liverpool this season seems a lot easier than it has in the past couple of years, it shows how much Arsenal have begun to breach the duopoly Manchester City and Liverpool have created at the top of English football since 2018.

Arsenal will likely find themselves back in the Champions League next season if they continue this blistering run of domestic form. On the current balance of play, they are the best team left in the Europa League by quite a margin. This is why they are the favorites to win the trophy when the final takes place in Budapest in May next year.

However, one thing that is guaranteed with Arsenal is drama and excitement. They have an excellent core of young players, but some have been susceptible to losing their cool over the last couple of years. Suppose that mentality begins to creep in slightly. In that case, it could spell disaster for Arteta's men. Barcelona, Manchester United or even other outsiders such as Juventus, Ajax or Real Sociedad could be there to take advantage and strike when they show a moment of weakness.