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Napoli preferred over unseeded Juventus for Europa League glory

| 16.12.2013

As is customary with the completion of the Champions League group stage, the sides that finished third shuffle forlornly along the corridor of European club competitions and enter the door marked “Europa League”.

Their entrance has naturally had a bearing on the outright odds for the competition, with a new favourite placed at the helm.

Juventus, who were relieved of their Champions League duties when conceding a Wesley Sneijder strike for Galatasaray in the 85th minute, are now installed as the 5/1 favourites to land Europe’s version of the Lidl supermarket chain, something you only enter when you have to, ahead of Tottenham.

However, despite Ladbrokes rating the Italian side’s chances of winning the trophy better than anybody elses, the Turin club have actually made life harder for themselves by performing poorly in their group.

With the sixth worst points total of the eight third-placed finishers in the Champions League group stages, Juve will enter the Europa League round of 32 knockout draw as an unseeded side.

As a result, they can draw any of the 12 Europa League group winners, which includes Tottenham and Valencia for definite and could contain Sevilla and Lyon by the time the group stage proceedings have wrapped. More importantly though, Juve could also be handed a tie against three of the four seeded Champions League sides, a list that contains Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel.

Napoli, the other CL seed who can’t draw Juve because of their shared nationality, have been given a 9/1 chance of winning the tournament after dropping out of Group F with a whopping tally of 12 points from their six group games.

With that pedigree and two-time Europa League winner Rafael Benitez at the helm, it combines with their seeded stature in the draw to make them the better bet for Europa League glory over their Serie A rivals.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.