Pogba's decisive goal put United over Milan in the Round of 16. Laurence Griffiths/EPA. The UEFA Europa League could still host its fi...
|Pogba's decisive goal put United over Milan in the Round of 16. Laurence Griffiths/EPA.|
Europa League Quarterfinal Schedule
Europa League Betting Favorites
Manchester United (+350)
Having already knocked out higher-ranked Spanish opposition in Real Sociedad during the round of 32, there’s a general feeling United should be able to conquer another of La Liga’s progeny in Granada:
Whatever happens in the tie, the fact that Granada (semi-professional third division 15 years ago) are playing against Manchester United in a European quarter final is amazing.— Andy West (@andywest01) March 19, 2021
Solskjaer’s side were never likely to be budged from the top of the oddsmakers’ lists regardless of where they were drawn, though the prospect of meeting Ajax or Roma should they advance is reason to be cautious.
Arteta will consider this the ‘easiest’ half of the bracket in his hopes of reaching the final, though it does bring up the possibility of a semi-final clash opposite predecessor Unai Emery, now at Villarreal:
Looking forward to finding out how far Arsenal will be able to go before losing to Unai Emery’s Villarreal. https://t.co/44Y5Nn45uD— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) March 18, 2021
A five-match unbeaten run preceded Arsenal’s loss to Olympiacos, serving as a reminder of the club’s lapses in consistency and concentration, worrying traits at this stage of a cup competition.
Runners-up in this competition four years ago and 2019 Champions League semi-finalists, the Godenzonen look to again be in dangerous form after thrashing Young Boys 5-0 over two legs in the last 16. The club was the source of ridicule for failing to register record signing Sebastien Haller in their Europa League squad, but they’ve thrived in the competition nonetheless.
As always, Erik ten Hag’s side have worked well as a sum of their parts, though they’ve also benefited thanks to star contributions from the likes of Brian Brobbey, David Neres and Dusan Tadic:
22 - Since joining @AFCAjax in 2018, Dusan Tadic has recorded 11 goals and 11 assists in European club competitions (excluding qualifiers), only four players have been involved in more goals over that period (Lewandowski, Mbappé, Messi, Bruno Fernandes). Illustrious. pic.twitter.com/f5kg1Fr6Mh— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) March 18, 2021
It would be sweet revenge if Emery were to help Arsenal on their way out of the Europa League the season after they sacked him, though Villarreal must first plot a course past Dinamo Zagreb.
Spanish clubs have been prolific in the Europa League era and lifted five of the past seven titles on offer (seven of the past 11), albeit with Sevilla accounting for four of those. It just so happens that Emery was at the helm for each of Sevilla’s three successive titles between 2014 and 2016, and Colin Millar detailed just how clinical his knockout record in this competition has been in modern times:
Unai Emery has managed in 20 two-legged knockout ties in the Europa League since 2012, across three different clubs. He has won all 20 of those knockout ties.— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) March 19, 2021
The Yellow Submarine has conceded only six goals in 10 European games this season, three of which came in their opening group fixture, a 5-3 win over Sivasspor.