Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The draw for the UEFA 2018/19 Europa League Round of 32 took place in Switzerland today, setting up 16 fascinating contests to look forward across the continent next year.
Along with the 12 individual Europa League Group winners and 12 runners-up, 8 teams join the tournament at this stage from the Champions League, adding further intrigue to an already compelling tournament.
With some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Chelsea, Arsenal, Valencia, Inter Milan, Napoli and Sevilla, all involved in the Europa League knock-out stages, the much-maligned competition has a considerably more glamorous look to it this season.
The details of this year’s 2018/19 Europa League Round of 32 draw can be seen below:
2018/19 Europa League Round of 32 Odds
Viktoria Plzeň (6/4) v Dinamo Zagreb (1/2)
Club Brugge (2/1) v Salzburg (4/11)
Rapid Wien (8/1) v Internazionale (1/14)
Slavia Praha (2/1) v Genk (4/11)
Krasnodar (12/5) v Leverkusen (3/10)
Zürich (12/1) v Napoli (1/25)
Malmö (14/1) v Chelsea (1/33)
Shakhtar Donetsk (5/4) v Eintracht Frankfurt (4/7)
Celtic (10/3) v Valencia (1/5)
Rennes (13/8) v Real Betis (4/9)
Olympiacos (6/5) v Dynamo Kyiv (11/18)
Lazio (6/4) v Sevilla (1/2)
Fenerbahçe (7/4) v Zenit (2/5)
Sporting CP (6/4) v Villarreal (1/2)
BATE Borisov (7/1) v Arsenal (1/12)
Galatasaray (6/5) v Benfica (11/8)
First legs to be played on 14th February, with second legs scheduled to be contested on the 21st February.
The first leg of Fenerbahçe vs Zenit to be played on Tuesday 12th February, with second leg on Wednesday 20th.
The second legs of Lazio vs Sevilla and BATE Borisov vs Arsenal are also scheduled for the 20th February.
- There are 10 former winners of the Europa League and its previous iterations in this year’s Round of 32. Spanish side Sevilla have won the competition 5 times (2016, 2015, 2014, 2007, 2006), Inter 3 times (1991, 1994, 1998), with Chelsea (2013), Eintracht Frankfurt (1980), Galatasaray (2000), Bayer Leverkusen (1988), Napoli (1989), Shakhtar Donetsk (2009), Valencia (2004) and Zenit (2008) winning it once each.
- Arsenal beat BATE Borisov 4-2 away and 6-0 at home in last season’s Europea League Group Stage. Former Gunners midfielder Aleksandr Hleb, is still a member of the Belarusian side’s squad at the age of 37. Hleb appeared in 4 of BATE’s Group matches this season.
- Sevilla were the top scorers in the Europa League Group stages, registering a total of 18 goals in their 6 games, though Chelsea topped the charts for average shots per game with 22.7.
- Arsenal and Real Betis conceded the fewest goals in the Group Stage (2). Of the teams that qualified, Lazio concede the most goals in the Group Stage (11).
- Chelsea lead the way in the Europa League possession stakes so far in 2018/19. The Blues have had 66.1% of the ball on average in their UEL matches this sesaon. Real Betis are behind them with 62.1%, with Arsenal in 3rd with 60.7%
- Red Bull Salzburg’s Munas Dabbur is the competition’s current top scorer with 6 goals ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic, who has hit the net 5 times.
- BATE Borisov’s Igor Stasevich has racked up an incredible 6 assists in the Europa League so far, 2 more than the competition’s next most creative player – Lazio’s Ciro Immobile.
- No player has made more tackles per game on average than Dinamo Zagreb’s Petar Stojanovic. The 23-year old right back has averaged 4.8 tackles per 90 minutes so far in the UEL.
- Fenerbahçe are the most ill-disciplined team left in the competition. The Turkish giants collected 19 yellow cards in their 6 Group Stage matches.
- 22 players were sent off in the UEL Group stages. Villarreal’s Jaume Costa was sent off twice in 3 appearances for the Yellow Submarine.
- FC Zurich’s Andreas Maxsø has averaged a colossal 9 clearances per game in the Europa League so far. He will need every inch of his defensive abilities to keep Napoli at bay in the Round of 32.
Keep an eye out for FST’s detailed Europa League match previews, predictions and betting tips for the Round of 32 fixtures here.
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