Is the Europa League Set to be More Exciting than the Champions League?
March 02, 2016
It’s been a funny old season hasn’t it? Leicester or Spurs still seem destined for the title, and there’s potential for even West Ham or Southampton to knock Manchester City out of the top four.
And it turns out Europe’s top competitions are also seeing roles reversed because as it stands, the Europa League looks a much more entertaining prospect than the superior Champions League.
Both are down to the last 16 now, with the latter already through the first legs. So far it’s gone pretty much as expected. Barcelona have practically already sealed there place. As have Real Madrid and Manchester City, while Bayern Munich vs Juventus looks finely poised.
The Europa League on the other hand has thrown in some real treats and that looks all set to continue.
Manchester United’s progress in the competition is a fine example of that. What was expected to be a routine win against FC Midtjylland turned into a shocking defeat in Denmark, only for United to storm to victory at Old Trafford thanks to a masterclass from 18-year-old debutant Marcus Rashford.
Now they will face Liverpool in the Round of 16 in what is one of a number of incredible fixtures in the Europa League. Which begs the question, will more people be tuning in on Thursday nights rather than the obligatory Tuesday and Wednesday?
We Could Win For Starters…
For British fans, there’s certainly more chance of success. Both Chelsea and Arsenal are on the cusp of being knocked out of the Champions League whilst Liverpool and Manchester United lie third favourites to win the Europa League with Spurs just behind them.
All three have a real possible chance of winning. They’ve been handed tough draws for March 10, but get through those and there could be some favourable games into the final.
Spurs have been drawn Borussia Dortmund ahead of next week, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men in fine form so won’t be afraid of visiting one of the most intimidating grounds on the continent.
Why Is It More Exciting?
Thursday nights seem to let loose a little more. The Round of 32 saw aggregate scores of 4-1, 6-3, and 10-0 in the case of Rapid Vienna vs Valencia, whilst the first knockout stage of the Champions League only saw two sides score more than two goals.
It also gives fans the chance to see some young blood in the side. Tottenham have played the likes of Clinton N’Jie and Josh Onomah in the tournament, while some of Manchester United’s younger contingent got their first taste of top-flight football in the competition.
It all adds up to something a little rawer. Where teams are less on edge because of what’s at stake, and in a season which has been regularly flipped upside down, we could see the Europa League the much more appealing tournament as the season comes to a close.