Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, left, celebrates with Paul Pogba after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester Utd and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Tuesday,Dec. 29, 2020. (Michael Regan, Pool via AP)
- The Europa League Round of 16 kicks off on Thursday
- Arguably the most intriguing tie of the bunch is Manchester United facing AC Milan
- Get the odds for all eight fixtures, along with three previews and their best bets below
The Europa League proceeds this week with an exciting handful of matches in the round of 16. There are still three Premier League sides in the competition, with Man United, Tottenham, and Arsenal all remaining.
The Red Devils will be clashing with AC Milan which is certainly expected to be a high-flying matchup. Elsewhere, a dominant Rangers outfit managed by Steven Gerrard takes on Slavia Prague, who upset Leicester City in the last 32.
Europa League Round of 16 Leg 1 Odds
|Ajax vs Young Boys||-175||+325||+425|
|Manchester United vs AC Milan||-155||+290||+400|
|Dynamo Kyiv vs Villarreal||+300||+235||-106|
|Slavia Prague vs Rangers||+140||+225||+200|
|Tottenham vs Dinamo Zagreb||-245||+380||+600|
|Roma vs Shahktar Donetsk||-177||+340||+425|
|Olympiakos vs Arsenal||+310||+245||-112|
|Granada vs Molde||-225||+340||+650|
Odds taken March 9 at DraftKings
Manchester United vs AC Milan Prediction
This is certainly the fixture which all eyes will be on. United welcome AC Milan to Old Trafford, who have seen their form dwindle as of late, especially in Italy.
For the Red Devils, they head into this clash as a heavy -155 favorite. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is fresh off a massive 2-0 victory in the Manchester Derby, now sitting 11 points behind City in the title race.
As for the Europa League, Man U finds themselves in the round of 16 after beating La Liga outfit Real Sociedad 4-0 across two legs. Bruno Fernandes scored a brace in the first tie, while the second was a scoreless draw. Goals have been few and far between for United lately though, scoring just twice in their previous four appearances. However, their backline has been sharp, failing to concede once during that span.
Milan was on a tremendous run in Serie A, but they’ve slipped up over the last month and a half. Defeats to Juventus and Inter have them sitting six points behind the latter in second place. Their struggles have spilled over to the Europa League as well, barely coming out victorious against Red Star Belgrade in the last round.
The Serbs secured a 2-2 draw at home in the first leg then tied Milan 1-1 in the following match in Italy. Stefano Pioli’s men slipped through by the skin of their teeth due to away goals.
Based on how the visitors have been playing lately, I have to go with the Red Devils here. Both sides haven’t been scoring a whole lot though while also defending well, therefore, expect a low-scoring affair.
Pick: Manchester United -155, Un 2.5 goals (+100)
Slavia Prague vs Rangers Prediction
Slavia Prague will have their hands full with an attacking-heavy Rangers side on Thursday. The Czechs advanced to the last 16 in heroic fashion, beating Leicester City 2-0 away at the King Power.
Slavia has progressed to the quarterfinals of this competition just once in their history, losing to Chelsea in the 2018/19 campaign. But, they will have the utmost confidence after beating a quality Foxes side who are well in the running for a top-four finish in England’s top flight. Prague has also been terrific on home soil in Europa, losing just once in their last ten games at Eden Arena.
🇨🇿 Slavia Praha vs Rangers 🏴
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) February 26, 2021
Gerrard’s Rangers have been the class of Scotland this term, already securing the title while scoring a ridiculous 77 goals in 32 matches and conceding just nine times. It’s clearly smooth sailing for them domestically, but this is a whole different story.
Rangers ripped through Royal Antwerp in the round of 32, beating the Belgians 9-5 on aggregate. Striker Alfredo Morelos has fired home nine goals and tallied six assists since the start of last season’s Europa League competition, the most of any player.
I expect this to be a relatively even clash. Slavia is no pushover and even though the Scottish giants haven’t tasted defeat this term across all competitions, they will have their work cut out for them. I’m going with a draw here, with both sides finding the back of the net.
Pick: Draw +225, Both Teams to Score (-129)
Olympiakos vs Arsenal Prediction
Olympiakos will have a succulent taste in their mouth as they lock horns with Arsenal. The Greek giants were the ones who emphatically knocked out the Gunners in brilliant fashion last season in the round of 32.
After bowing out of the Champions League, Olympiakos joined Europa and took care of business against PSV Eindhoven, barely edging them out 5-4 on aggregate. It wasn’t convincing by any means, but Pedro Martins’ side will be hopeful of a similar result from last year against Arsenal.
They’ve never advanced to the quarterfinals of this competition, which is certainly more motivation to get it done across two legs. The Greek heavyweights will be dealing with their issues at the back though, with center-back pairing Ousseynou Ba and Ruben Semedo out with injuries.
Mikel Arteta’s men had it tough against Benfica in the Europa League last 32, beating the Portuguese outfit 4-3 on aggregate. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came through with a double in the second tie, with youngster Bukayo Saka setting up both goals.
🏆 The draw for the last 16 of the #UEL has been made!
🇬🇷 We will be facing @olympiacosfc 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 26, 2021
A disappointing 1-1 draw against Burnley over the weekend wasn’t ideal but their attack will be pleased to see a depleted Olympiakos backline. The firepower is there for Arsenal, with Saka proving to be their engine with eight assists in the competition since the beginning of last term.
I like the thought of the Gunners taking advantage of their opponents’ issues at the back. Expect the visitors to secure a crucial away victory on Thursday.
Pick: Arsenal -112
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.