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In The Mixer: Experts talk up 20/1 Roma’s Europa League bid

Updated on 4:34pm GMT 30 January 2023
In The Mixer: Experts talk up 20/1 Roma’s Europa League bid

Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.

In The Mixer is FST’s weekly column where we catch up with our team of experts in football betting and get their opinions on the hot topic of the week.

After covering the Europa Conference League earlier this month, we asked our team of experts for their Europa League winners and they have largely shunned the favourites for Europe’s second tier competition – with Jose Mourinho’s Roma emerging as the most popular choice.

Roma fancied for back-to-back European silverware

Aaron Rogan

Sports journalist at FST

After claiming the inaugural Europa Conference League crown last year, Jose Mourinho is out to lead Roma to another European trophy. His side have to navigate the first knockout round next month, but they come up against a Salzburg side who have exited their last two Europa League campaigns in February.

Meanwhile, Roma returned from the World Cup break with four wins from their first five, claiming a 2-2 draw with AC Milan in the other. While Mourinho conceded the title was beyond them ahead of Sunday’s clash with Napoli, his side are locked in a race for a top four place.

Winning the Europa League could be their backdoor into the Champions League next term and the Giallorossi look like good outside contenders at 20/1. Mourinho is reestablishing himself in the Italian capital and he has a squad of players with recent experience of winning a European trophy, so they could make a deep run in this competition.

Bobbie Jackson

Sports journalist at ICS

With Barcelona and Manchester United meeting in the play-off round, one of the big contenders is set to depart, while Arsenal are likely to be distracted by their pursuit of the Premier League title, leaving the Europa League wide open.

Roma present great value at 20/1 to go all the way as they look to follow up on last season’s success in the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Cup-specialist Jose Mourinho, who won this competition with Manchester United in 2016-17, is tough to look beyond and Roma appear to have come back from the World Cup break fully focused, enjoying a five-game unbeaten run with four of those outings ending in victory.

They do have to come through a two-legged play-off round tie but should have enough to overcome Red Bull Salzburg.

Henry Hardwicke

Sports journalist at Racing Post

As the betting suggests Arsenal and Barcelona are the most likely Europa League winners, but in terms of a value bet, I’d take a punt on Roma.

The Italians have lost just three of their last 16 matches, they finished the group stage strongly with back-to-back wins over HJK Helsinki and Ludogorets and they can be fancied to come through their knockout round playoff match against Salzburg.

The Yellow and Reds can call on talented performers Tammy Abraham, Paulo Dybala and Lorenzo Pellegrini and they have Conference League, Europa League and Champions League-winning Jose Mourinho in the dugout.

Mourinho guided Roma to Conference League success last season and at 20-1 they look good value to move on to Europa glory.

Jack Ogalbe

Sports journalist at ICS

Arsenal’s Premier League title charge means the Europa League will not be a priority, while the tie between Manchester United and Barcelona will eliminate one side but potentially burn the other one out.

Instead, there could be value in looking at the Italian teams, despite a Serie A side not winning this tournament since 1998-99.

Roma claimed the inaugural Europa Conference League title last season and having triumphed with both Porto and United, Jose Mourinho is a dab hand at this competition.

However, the team to watch could be 12-1 Juventus, whose 15-point domestic penalty means they can reassess their goals.

The Bianconeri can afford to immerse themselves in this competition and Massimiliano Allegri’s men have a point to prove considering their off-field issues.

Allegri annually bemoaned his side peaking too early during his first spell in charge and may now look to tailor their campaign to ensure they are ready to go in time for May’s final in Budapest.

Spanish duo receive some backing

Liam Flin

Sports journalist at Racing Post

With Arsenal likely prioritising the Premier League title race and Manchester United locking horns with Barcelona in the tournament’s knockout round playoffs in a tie which could swing either way, the market leaders are worth avoiding in the Europa League outright betting.

Instead, Real Sociedad look the value at 16-1. Seven of the last 11 winners of the Europa League have come from Spain and Real Sociedad have looked excellent in La Liga this term, establishing a top-four spot since returning from the World Cup break.

They are already through to the last 16 after winning five of their six matches in Group E and have recently welcomed back star creative outlet Mikel Oyarzabal after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Striker Alexander Sorloth has plugged the gap left by Alexander Isak, who departed last summer, and they look ready to make a statement on the continental stage.

Joe Casey

Sports journalist at Racing Post

They may not quite be the force of old but Xavi has got Barcelona playing good stuff and they are an appealing prospect to win the Europa League at 9-2.

The Catalan club are top of La Liga and look a solid proposition to get the better of Manchester United over two legs given the Red Devils’ occasional lapses this season.

Erik ten Hag’s team are still a work in progress and Barca can take advantage en route to a first European title since the 2014-15 Champions League.

At a much bigger price, Bayer Leverkusen have improved hand over fist under Xabi Alonso and have flown up the Bundesliga as a result. A clash with Monaco is winnable and they could outrun their 33-1 odds.

United backed and a Europa League outsider betting tip

Ian Wilkerson

Sports journalist at Racing Post

It is turning into a good season for Manchester United with a top-four berth well within their grasp and one foot in the EFL Cup final, but don’t rule the Red Devils out of a European triumph as well.
Erik ten Hag has found the right mixture at Old Trafford and has got a tune out of Marcus Rashford, so they cannot be ruled out against anyone.

Many will be put off by the fact they have been paired with Barcelona in the first knockout stage, but their chances are well reflected in the prices and it is a duel they look capable of winning.

Sure, Barca are strong but they could prove evenly matched and with little to get excited about beneath the top three in the betting, Ten Hag’s side look well placed to make a strong challenge.

Gareth Freeman

Sports journalist at FST

Barcelona and Manchester United both look good options to me at 9/2 and 9/1 respectively ahead of their meeting in the next round, but there is a strong field in the Europa League this year and that means there are some quality sides available at big prices.

At what looks a huge 33/1, Bayer Leverkusen could provide us with a second successive German Europa League winner after Eintracht Frankfurt’s success last year.

Bayer have started to click under the guidance of Xabi Alonso after he replaced Gerardo Seoane in October following a poor start to the campaign. Leverkusen are essentially free to focus on this competition as they sit in mid-table in the Bundesliga so it represents their best chance of Champions League football for next year.

Bayer have a talented squad and the incentive is there for a real challenge in the Europa League, so they look good value as an outside bet in Europe’s second tier tournament.

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