It hasn’t been the best of seasons for Manchester United to this point, but they remain on course to achieve their goal of achieving Champions League qualification for next season. There are two possible routes of entry for the Red Devils, but winning the Europa League could be the most apparent.
United have been chasing a place in the top-four throughout the season. However, punters are less inclined to stake money on the Red Devils achieving that. Instead, many have turned to bet on Liverpool winning the Premier League, as that has a much better chance of actually happening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to this point, but his transfer strategy could be vindicated should United achieve their goal. But, which should punters be placing their Man Utd betting selection on Europa League success?
United’s European Pedigree
Manchester United have achieved success in Europe throughout their history. Since 1999, the club have appeared in five European finals. Their success rate in these finals has also been encouraging, as they have won three of them and lost just twice. Those defeats came in the Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011 when they came up against an iconic Barcelona team managed by Pep Guardiola.
United have already achieved success in the Europa League recently as they won the competition in 2017 against Ajax. Five of the players that played in that final in Stockholm are still with the club, including Paul Pogba who scored in that showpiece event in Sweden.
Solskjaer Resting Players
It will get to a point this season when Solskjaer will need to make a judgement call on the competition that he will opt to favour. United will need to win four ties to make it to final, which is less than the number of games that they will need to win in the Premier League to secure their top-four spot. The Premier League will also be a more unlikely route for the Red Devils as they will need to overcome challenges from Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United and Wolverhampton Wanderers to finish in the required space.
That means the manager will likely take the same approach as Jose Mourinho in that Europa League-winning season and save his best players for the European competition. During that season, Mourinho rested Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for the games in Europe, and Solskjaer could follow suit and put all his eggs in the Europa League basket.
Competition in Europa League
The Red Devils are the leading chances in the Europa League and have been the favourites with Ruby Bet since the competition kicked off in September. The teams that have dropped down from the Champions League are all of high-quality, but they also have bigger fish to fry in their domestic divisions. Both Inter Milan and Ajax have dropped into the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League groups, but both are in the middle of a domestic title race, which would most likely be their preferred competition to win. The other leading chances that are left in the competition include:
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
- RB Salzburg
United have already beaten Wolves this season, and Arsenal have struggled more than United in the Premier League. Meanwhile, AS Roma could find themselves in a similar position to United by having to favour this competition for European progression, but they don’t have the same quality as the Red Devils. RB Salzburg were one of the stories in the first half of the season as they almost made it out of a Champions League group that included Liverpool and Napoli. However, since then they have lost Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino, who were their best players during that stage of the competition.
That means United will have the best possible chance of achieving their goal of achieving Champions League qualification as the teams that are involved are either not as strong as the Red Devils, or have their eyes locked on their respective domestic league titles. Should United rest their players in the league, then punters will feel optimistic that the Red Devils will be crowned Europa League champions.