Wednesday, December 29, 2010

La Liga Lowdown--Europa League Draw

Now for Europe’s bastard child, the Europa League. I won’t bore you with the entire draw. Here are the ties that involve Spanish teams . . .

Napoli v Villarreal

This could be tie of the round, along with PSV/Lille. Domestically Napoli are second in Serie A going into the Winter Break, while Villarreal are third in Scotland 2.0. The roads here were very different—Napoli snuck in after drawing their three of the first 4 matches and beating Steaua Bucharest on the Match Day 6, while the Yellow Submarine cruised to qualification, winning 3 of their 4 matches and won their group.

This match will showcase several attacking players, with Hamsik and Cavani leading the Napoli attack, and Rossi and Nilmar leading the line for the Villarreal, supported by Cazorla and Valero.

Italian teams tend to not take this competition very seriously, so I would give the slight edge to the Yellow Submarine.

Sevilla v FC Porto

Porto are cruising in the Portuguese League, unbeaten in 14 league matches (already up by eight points) and won their Europa League group with 16 points. On the other hand, Sevilla have been all over the map in the Primera Divison, (currently 11th) and barely qualified for the knockout stages with a Matchday 6 draw against Dortmund.

The Dragons have a nice mix of South American and Portuguese players, which should see them do well in the competition. Los Rojiblancos have been without Luis Fabiano and Jesus Navas over the last couple of weeks but hope to have them back after the Winter Break. Without them, they have no chance; with them, maybe.

FC Porto should go through easily, and I can see them getting one or two away goals in the opening leg.

The matchdays for the First Round are February 17 and 24. The Second Round matchdays are March 10 and 17

Here is the Europa League draw - Second Round - if the teams progress:

PAOK/CSKA Moscow v Sevilla/FC Porto

Metalist Kharkiv/Bayer Leverkusen v Napoli/Villarreal

No comments:

Post a Comment