Betting: Arsenal and AC Milan the teams to beat in a competitive Europa League

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With the reward of Champions League football up for grabs, Al Hain-Cole is backing Arsene Wenger's men to make a strong push for the Europa League

Having seen Manchester United return to the Champions League courtesy of their Europa League triumph last season, Arsenal are sure to be taking the competition very seriously this year.
 
With the fight for a top four place in the Premier League looking more difficult than ever, Arsene Wenger’s men have an extra incentive to perform to their best in their first season in Europe’s second tier tournament since 1997.
 
Drawn alongside BATE, Red Star Belgrade and Koln in a negotiable-looking group, the Gunners could prove a sound investment at 8/1 (9.00) with bet365 to ensure the Europa League trophy remains in England this year.
 
After an eye-catching summer in the transfer market, Vincenzo Montella’s new-look Milan appear set to provide Arsenal with the greatest competition for glory.

Franck Kessie AC Milan
 
Having spent nearly €200 million on the likes of Leanardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu and Andre Silva, the seven-times European champions are 7/1 (8.00) favourites to lift this trophy for the first time in their illustrious history.
 
That star-studded duo aside, a number of other clubs will be harbouring realistic ambitions of lifting the trophy at the Stade de Lyon next May - starting with the hosts.
 
After reaching the semi-finals last season, Lyon are priced at 25/1 (26.00) to prove there is life after Alexandre Lacazette by celebrating some major European silverware in front of their own fans this campaign.

GFX Europa League winner outright betting
 
Following their own spending spree over the summer, Ronald Koeman’s Everton are also on offer at 25/1 (26.00) to pay back the hefty investment with a first trophy since 1995 and a place in next season’s Champions League.
 
Runners-up in 2012, Athletic Bilbao can be backed at that same 25/1 (26.00) price, as can compatriots Villarreal 25/1 (26.00).
 
Marseille have twice finished on the losing side in Europa League finals, but are available at 25/1 (26.00) to make it third time lucky by beating the two clear favourites to a winners medal in 2017.

Arsenal to win the Europa League at 8/1 (9.00) for a 1pt stake with bet365

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