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The away teams who secured a win in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals finished the job at home to move on to the semi-finals of the competition. Slavia Praha, the only away team that did not secure a win in the opening leg of the quarter-finals bowed out of the competition after a 0-4 thrashing by the hands of Arsenal on home soil. Arsenal, Roma, Manchester United and Villarreal will partake in the semi-final first leg on the 29th of April.


UEFA EUROPA league 2021 semi finals
Courtesy: UEFA Official/ Website


Slavia Praha suffered their first home defeat in their last seven matches, after conceding more goals against Arsenal than in the combined total of the previous six. A magnificent start to the match by Mikel Arteta’s men earned them three goals in six minutes in the first half of the tie. If not for a tight offside decision by VAR, Arsenal would have seen themselves four goals up by the 24th-minute mark.

Arsenal celebrte vs Slavia
Courtesy: The Short Fuse/ Website

Nicolas Pepe’s neat finish, Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty and Bukayo Saka’s left-footed drill into the near post stunned the defence in Prague. Fifty minutes later, Lacazette twisted and turned in the penalty box to score one more to send Arsenal through on an aggregate scoreline of 1-5. A scintillating performance in the Europa League compared to the dismay they often face in the Premier League.


Villareal vs Dinamo
Courtesy: Villareralusa/ Website

Winning all but one, Villarreal remains unbeaten in this seasons Europa League. A smashing performance at home against Dinamo Zagreb saw the Spanish side progress to the semi-finals of the tournament. The aggregate scoreline: Villareal (3) – (1) Dinamo Zagreb.

Strong in possession, the Spanish side bossed the midfield. Defence splitting passes and good crosses into the box made it a hard night for the Croatians who needed at least three goals to go through. Three-time Europa League winner Unai Emery was brought in for this very purpose, and they will look to keep their unbeaten run intact until the very end of the competition.


Courtesy: Standard Official/ Website


Manchester United showed the importance of experience when they knocked their opposition out of the competition with two goals in either leg. Strong performances in both legs of the competition will be encouraging signs for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men.

With Ole on the wheel, not much good has come their way. A Europa League triumph isn’t much either, but it would be a start for the renowned English side that once used to dominate English and European Football under the great Sir Alex Ferguson. Edison Cavani’s opener in the 6th minute and an own goal by Vallejo at the 90-minute mark ensured a place in the semi-final for Ole’s men. Granada should take pride in their performances that took them to the quarter-final considering this was their first appearance in the competition.


Similar to Jose Mourinho’s words in his defeat to Liverpool, Erik ten Hag, the Ajax coach told RTL7 that his team were undoubtedly better. “Just like last week we created plenty of chances, but failed to take advantage of them.”

Roma dug in deep to conjure a strong defensive performance against an Ajax team that was adamant on finding the net. Four minutes into the second half, Brian Brobbey netted in for Ajax who glimmered hope to find another. However, a 72-minute equalizer by Eden Dzeko sealed the game in favour of the Italian side that progressed through to the semi-finals even though they only had around 30 per cent possession across both legs. An Italian defence indeed!


The stage is all set for the semi-finals. Manchester United will take on Roma and Villarreal will host Arsenal in the first leg of the semis. A brute attacking force will go up against a strong Italian defence in the first tie while Unai Emery will face his former club in the latter. 29th of April is sure to pack some punches when these heavyweights of the lesser European competition face off. If things pan out well for the English clubs, the final on May 26 could witness an all-English club showdown.

Paulo Fonseca, the former Portuguese defender now in charge of A.S Roma will be keen on putting up a performance against United. His defence would have to be at their best when facing The Red Devils who possess a Portuguese master-craftsman in the form of Bruno Fernandes. Bruno has been instrumental to the success of United this season who sits 2nd in the premier league thanks to the 16 goals and 11 assists that their star man has conjured. Roma will need to fight tooth and nail if they are to represent Italy in the final.

Unai Emery is the most successful Europa League managers among the four semi-finalists. His former presence at Arsenal will also help him gain an edge over the Gunners. Mikel Arteta has had a poor season in the league, sitting at 9th in the table. Neither attack nor defence of the Gunners has been a stronghold this season. Unai Emery will try his best to expose this weakness with the help of his star forward Gerard Moreno. Moreno has netted 19 times in the league and will look to bring prominence to the semi-final as well. An interesting match-up of experience and ingenuity.

Villareal and Roma both sitting 7th in their respective leagues will look to knock their English oppositions out of the tournament. Will the clubs from England show their worth or will they bow out in disappointment?

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