Manchester United may have to take Europa League seriously

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Manchester City and Manchester United are still fancied to win a European trophy this season despite their early Champions League exits as they head the market in the Europa League betting.

English interest in the Champions League now lies solely with London duo Chelsea and Arsenal after the Manchester pair could only finish third in their respective groups in the competition.

This sees them drop down to the Europa League, where they will be two of eight teams to enter from the Champions League at the last-32 stage.

And given the strengths of their squads, they have moved ahead of the likes of Atletico Madrid and Schalke to top the Europa League odds.

Manchester City are favourites to win the competition at 5/1 and having been knocked out by Dynamo Kiev in the round of 16 last season, they may feel like they have unfinished business in the tournament.

However, with Roberto Mancini’s men in pole position in the Premier League, there has to be doubts about whether he will play his strongest team or his fringe players.

This is part of the reason that Manchester United’s odds of 7/1 may be the better value in the market.

The Europa League may now represent the best chance of silverware for The Red Devils this season, given the cup disasters suffered by Sir Alex Ferguson in the past week.

The shock Champions League exit after the defeat in Basle follows an even bigger surprise when a largely inexperienced young team lost at Old Trafford in a Carling Cup quarter final with Crystal Palace.

And with their neighbours looking so dominant in the Premier League, Sir Alex may have to go all out in the Europa League in search of silverware, despite the early mutterings of the squad that it is embarrassing that they are in the competition.

Their chances of an FA Cup win are also slim given that they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in the third round.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.