April 2021

 As Man United will be lurking horns with AS Roma on home turf, Arsenal will be looking to put away Villarreal in Spain in the second fixture of the UEFA Europa League Semi final. This game will kick-off at 7:00 GMT, 8:00 pm Nigerian time on the 29th of April, 2021.

Villarreal will be making their third semi final involvements in the Europa League since 2011, although they have failed to make it any further to the finals on those previous occasions, they will be looking to squeeze their self to Gdnask for a place in the final if they can put aside Arsenal. The Yellow Submarines as they are fondly called have a near perfect record in this season’s Europa League with the Spanish club winning 11 of their last 12 Europa league games, drawing just once in that process. They’ve scored an exactly 2 goals in five of their last six knockout encounter, bragging of  six shut outs in eleven games in that process.

The maybe looking to establish a home leg advantage in this fixture as the Spanish outfit have a healthy 60% of their 25 goals across this season’s competition coming on home turf. With such an impressive record, it is not surprising that three of their last five home victories this season have been accompanied by a 2or more goal difference. 

Arsenal will be looking for their second Europa League final appearance in three seasons but will have to get past former head coach, Unai Emery. The Gunners recently fell to a Spanish opposition – Atletico Madrid in the semi final in 2017/2018 season but will be looking to draw confidence from their last visit to Spain in UEFA competition in a game in which they ran away with a 4-2 win over Valencia.

Encouragingly for Mikel Arteta’s side is that two of their best results in the knockout phase this season of margins were both gotten away from home; while across 2020/2021 Europa League season, they are yet to suffer a loss away from home soil, winning six of their last seven games. With that’s been said, the Gunners look rusty going into this encounter as they go into this crucial clash with a poor eight game run that have seen them won just twice, losing and drawing thrice each. They would want to improve from this game.

The Yellow Submarines have a continental goal scorer in person of Gerard Moreno who has scored first in an impressive four of his last five Europa League appearances, he will be on guard to coast Villarreal past Arsenal.

In a similar fashion, Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe has also opened the scoring for the Gunners  four times this season in the Europa League – he scored first in both legs of the Quarter final fixtures.

On injury front, Unai Emery will be facing his former employers without Vincente Iborra who is suffering from an Ankle injury will be  the only absentee in this encounter.

Mikel Arteta will be without stand out striker, Alexandre Lacazette who is out with a Thigh injury, Keieran Tierney will also be out due to a Knee problem; the duo will miss the Gunners trip to Spain, while club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz will undergo a late fitness test to ascertain their readiness for this encounter.

This second tier European club football clash at Estadio de la Ceramica will see Portuguese Artur Soares Dias as the centre referee. 

 The men have been separated from the boys  as the semi Final of the UEFA Europa league kicks off on the 29th of April, 2021 as Man United welcome AS Roma at Old Trafford in one of the two fixtures of the semi finals. 

This will be Man United’s fifth semi final since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of the Englsih club and the Red Devils will be looking the break their semi final hurdles to book a place in the final  at Gdnask.

Man United will be confident going into this encounter as they have not lost a semi final first leg in an European competition at Old Trafford since 1997; they’ve pulled up four victories and have shared the spoils thrice in that period. More welcoming and encouraging news for the Manchester club and its faithful is that they’ve lost just once against Italian oppositions in European matches in their last twelve meetings.

The barren draw against Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday was the first time in ten games they’ve failed to find the back of the net. They’ve scored over 1.5 goals in five wins before the Sunday draw and impressively,  ten of their last 12 goals in that period came before the first half interval.  The draw also ended Solskjaer’s men five games winning streak. 

AS Roma come into this encounter as outsiders as the Italian club haven’t tasted victory on English soil for almost 20 years now since a one-nill win over Liverpool. They’ve lost eight of their last twelve visits to England, managing a draw on four occasions.  More bad news for Roma is that, Italian capital club sides have conceded nine goals in their last three visits to Old Trafford, scoring just once and losing all of their last three trips to the Theatre of Dreams.

Roma were almost stainless in the Europa League group stage (W5, D1), they’ve turn down the bad road now as they’ve not won any of their last four competitive fixtures, losing two and sharing the spoils in the other two – they should be worried! 

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in more Europa League goals than any other player since his debut for the Old Trafford outfit ( 17 goals, 9 assists); he has scored the opener for the Red Devils in five of his last seven strikes. 

AS Roma and ex Manchester City forward, Edin Dzeko has scored five goals in his previous four games against Man United at the Theatre of Dreams, not forgetting his brace in his last two meetings with the Red Devils.

On injury front, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will be without Phil Jones and Anthony Martial who are both suffering from Ankle injuries.

For AS Roma, Paulo Fonseca will be without Ricacardo Calafiori and Pedro who are both suffering from a Muscle injury, while Nicolo Zaniolo is out due to a damaged knee. All trio will miss the trip to Old Trafford for this crucial clash.

This European Semi Final showdown at Old Trafford will see Spanish referee Carlos Del Cerro as the man in the middle.

 Arsenal’s Europa League Quarter Final first leg clash against Slavia Prague will kick off on Thursday, 8th April, 2021 at 7:00 GMT, 8:00pm Nigerian time.

Arsenal’s recent down turn of form in their last three games (D1, L2) is not a promising one to carry into this Europa League tie against a Slavia Prague side that have already sent home two British clubs successively prior this clash. The Gunners' 3-0 loss to Liverpool at the weekend was the first time they’ve recorded just one shot before the break in five years.

The loss to Liverpool was also the fifth time Arsenal have had less than 40% ball possession in the Premier League under Spanish manager, Mikel Arteta – something the Gunners have witnessed just twice in Arsene Wenger's last 152 Premier League home games at the helm of affairs at the Emirates. Even at that, Mikel Arteta's side have scored 3+ goals and found the net during both halves in four of their last five Europa League games this season (W4, L1) and could rewind their good memories with Slavia Prague – their biggest ever European win came against the Czech club in a 7-0 drubbing back in 2007.

The aforementioned Head-to-Head result remains the visitor's heaviest ever European defeat but  this is is a side on great form, conceding just once in four Europa League knockout games this season (W2, D2) and are unbeaten in 21 games in all competition (W16, D5) – including two away wins against Rangers and Leicester City in the previous round in games in which they were the outsiders.

Slavia Prague are unbeaten in their last ten away games (W7, D3); they have scored the first goal in three of their last four Europa League away games which put them in a way to challenge for just their second ever win in England after six previous attempts in the country.

Mikel Arteta have just two injury concerns in David Luiz and Keirian Tierney – the duo are suffering from knee problems and will miss Slavia's visit.

Slavia Prague have a long list of injured players with the likes of Simon Deli, David Hovorka, Ibrahima Traore, Ondrej brothers; Kudela & Kolar alongside Jan Stejskal all injured and will miss the trip to North London.

This mouthwatering clash at the Emirates Stadium will see Swedish referee Andreas Ekberg as the man in the middle.

 After  the long international break in March, club football returned over the weekend in all of Europe big leagues. In that order, the European club football competitions also resumed in mid-week with the UEFA Champions League kicking starting it Quarter Final berths.

In a similar fashion, UEFA Europa League Quarter Final fixtures will begin on Thursday, 8th April, 2021 as Granada welcome Manchester United to Spain at 7:00 GMT, 8:00pm Nigerian time.

The Spanish club's fairytale debut season in European club football competition continues as they’ve already defeated teams from eight different countries in the Europa League this season and are now in chance to make it nine as they take on Manchester United. However, their recent form of three consecutive loss coming into this game is of serious concern.

The Nazaries have a good home record going into this encounter as they have lost just once in their last five games on home turf (W4) – forming part of their ten game run in which the first team to spill the first blood go on to take the day in regular time. Eventual winners of the Spanish club last four UEL home games have had to go into the break with a half time lead. It’s clear, a good start may be the only way for outsiders, Granada to continue their fairytale European campaign.

That being said, they face a Manchester United side that refuses to throw in the towel, and that has won 25 points from losing positions this Premier League Season – nine more than any other club after their 2-1 come back win at the weekend. However, in the Europa League, they’ve been more cohesive at the back, mustering three clean sheets from their last four knockout games this season.

The Red Devils are known for their abundance European pedigree and have scored in every Europa League knockout games they’ve played outside England. They’ve shut out opponents in five of their last six previous games as visitors.

On injury front, Granada have a lengthy injury list with the likes of Dimitri Foulquier, Neyder Lozano, Luis Milla all suffering from knee injuries, while Alberto Soro and Charris Suarez are also out due to a muscle sprain. 

For Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he will be without Frenchman, Anthony Martial who has been reported will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury alongside Eric Bailly and Phill Jones who are suffering from different ankle problems; all trio will miss the Red Devils trip to Spain.

Portuguese Artur Dias Soares will be the man in the middle as Granada host Man United for the first time at Nuevo Los Carmenes Stadium.