Atletico Madrid are currently the bookies’ favourites ahead of second-placed Arsenal to win the Europa League this season.
A draw with Chelsea this week was not enough to prevent Diego Simeone’s men from an early exit from the Champions League, but they need not worry too much about their silverware prospects for the season.
A hungry, demanding manager and serial winner, Simeone has a great record in cup competitions, having won the Europa League with Atletico in the 2011/12 season.
Back then, Atleti were not even the force they have now become under the Argentine, having reached two Champions League finals and being hugely unfortunate to lose to rivals Real Madrid on both occasions.
With Simeone’s expertise and the quality of Antoine Griezmann up front, the Spanish giants are clearly the name to fear ahead of Monday’s Europa League draw in Nyon.
The current Europa League Betting Odds of 5/1 on an Atletico win and just 15/2 for Arsenal with 888Sport may seem harsh on Arsenal, but the fact is Arsene Wenger’s side are just not at the same level.
With considerably more in the way of resources over the years, Wenger has failed to build the same competitive, win-at-all-costs spirit at the Emirates Stadium.
Unlike over-achievers Atletico, Arsenal have hugely under-achieved for the last decade – FA Cup wins aside – and their lack of hunger shines through in their treatment of the Europa League this season.
Despite what looks on paper a decent chance at finally winning a European trophy, Wenger has chosen instead to field a high number of youngsters and backup players in nearly every game, sending a clear message in terms of how much he values the tournament.
It’s hard to imagine Simeone adopting a similar approach, with the hurt of dropping out of the Champions League only likely to spur him on.
It is that elite mentality that has seen him linked with big jobs like Manchester United, and that makes his side the team to beat in the Europa League – and that’s why all eyes will be on them ahead of next week’s draw.