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Europa League knockout stage preview: Arsenal, AC Milan still aiming for Euro glory

The Europa League resumes in two weeks time, with a whole host of European giants hoping to secure a path back to the Champions League.

Many familiar names have made it through to the knockout stage, with stand-out clubs such as Arsenal, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund gunning for silverware.

However, perhaps more importantly for all involved, it’s another gateway to getting back to Europe’s top table next season if they are unable to do so through their respective leagues, and that makes it all the more intriguing to see who can advance and go all the way.

Arsenal have undoubtedly been the busiest in the January transfer window, with BBC Sport noting how Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined the ranks at the Emirates in a swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez.

That might not be where it ends for the Gunners either, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in north London preparing to join his former Dortmund teammate.

aubameyang mkhitaryan arsenal

In turn, with that duo leading their charge, provided Arsene Wenger involves them both, Arsenal have to be considered as one of the favourites for the competition given the talent and depth that they possess elsewhere in the squad too.

Beyond the Premier League giants, AC Milan will also be seen as one of the top candidates to go all the way. After a disappointing start to the campaign having signed 12 new players last summer, the Rossoneri are seemingly back on track under Gennaro Gattuso.

The club is absolutely steeped in history and silverware, but it remains to be seen whether or not Gattuso is genuinely guiding them back to where they want to be or if it’s a temporary upturn.

Domestic rivals Napoli also deserve a mention as they continue to lead the way in Italy, while Dortmund have a tough task against Atalanta.

Atletico Madrid will be heavily fancied to get past FC Copenhagen, but with ongoing concern over the long-term future of Antoine Griezmann at the club, it remains to be seen whether or not they can secure Champions League football to either convince him to stay or attract a player capable of filling his shoes moving forward.

The likes of Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, Celtic, Lazio and Lyon will also want to have their say, and so it promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the tournament with the final taking place in Lyon on May 16.

Fancy one of the Euro giants mentioned above to win the tournament? Have a flutter with the latest Europa League betting odds here for your chance to win big money this season!