Europa League: Arsenal ‘at house’ in Athens, Leicester Metropolis, Rangers eye last-16 spots

Europa League: Arsenal ‘at house’ in Athens, Leicester Metropolis, Rangers eye last-16 spots

With Arsenal sitting in mid-table within the Premier League, this competitors presents the one viable route into subsequent season’s Champions League for Arteta’s group.

Europa League: Arsenal 'at home' in Athens, Leicester City, Rangers eye last-16 spots

Arsenal and Benfica performed out a 1-1 draw within the first leg of their Europa League spherical of 32 tie. AP

COVID-19 restrictions imply Arsenal will play the house leg of their Europa League last-32 tie towards Benfica on Thursday in Greece, with the Gunners one in every of 5 British sides trying to safe a spot within the draw for the following spherical.

Arsenal second leg switched

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal went to Rome final week to play the primary, away leg of their tie towards Benfica because of journey restrictions between the UK and Portugal, and those self same restrictions noticed the return moved from London to Greece, with the Karaiskakis stadium within the Athens port of Piraeus, house of Olympiakos, the venue for Thursday’s encounter.

Maybe ominously, it was Olympiakos who knocked the Gunners out of final season’s Europa League however Arsenal will hope to get the higher of Benfica after drawing 1-1 in Rome, the place Bukayo Saka’s equaliser gave them the benefit on away objectives heading into the return.

With Arsenal sitting in mid-table within the Premier League, this competitors presents the one viable route into subsequent season’s Champions League for Arteta’s group. Benfica, in the meantime, are looking for solace in Europe having gained simply as soon as in seven Portuguese league video games to drop to fourth, an enormous 15 factors behind leaders Sporting.

Manchester United pretty much as good as by

Manchester United have already got one foot within the final 16 after an emphatic 4-0 win over Actual Sociedad final week, benefiting from the actual fact the primary leg of that tie was switched from Spain to Italy after the Spanish authorities launched a ban on arrivals by air from the UK.

It hardly appears particularly truthful on La Actual that, having been disadvantaged house benefit within the first leg, they now should go to Previous Trafford for the return, however this match is successfully now a useless rubber after a brace by Bruno Fernandes helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s aspect cruise to victory in Turin.

In the meantime Leicester Metropolis, who’re behind second-placed United within the Premier League solely on objective distinction, do have work nonetheless to do within the return leg of their tie at house towards Czech champions Slavia Prague after a 0-0 draw final week.

The draw for the final 16 takes place on Friday, with Tottenham Hotspur anticipated to function too, having gained 4-1 within the first leg of their tie towards Wolfsberg of Austria, a match that was performed in Budapest. Their return is on Wednesday.

Relentless Rangers primed to progress

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers want simply seven factors from their final eight video games to clinch the Scottish title, and to allow them to focus their power on Europe, as they give the impression of being to succeed in the Europa League final 16 for the second season working.

The Glasgow giants got here from behind twice to win 4-3 in Belgium within the first leg towards Antwerp final week, with Borna Barisic’s second penalty of the sport, within the final minute, proving decisive. At house this season, even with out followers, Rangers have been untouchable, with 18 wins and a attract 19 video games, and simply seven objectives conceded.

The health of prolific right-back James Tavernier, who got here off within the first leg, could possibly be essential.

Milan vs Purple Star

The primary assembly of two former European champions in AC Milan and Purple Star Belgrade lived as much as expectations, with the Serbians twice coming from behind to attract 2-2 at house in final week’s first leg, Milan Pavkov scoring their second equaliser in damage time.

That recreation was overshadowed by accusations of racist abuse geared toward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Purple Star condemning insults addressed to the veteran Swede, whose father is Bosnian.

N1 regional tv broadcast scenes of Ibrahimovic, who didn’t play however was sitting on the stadium, because the voice of a person chanting to him “pungent Balija” a number of instances could possibly be heard. The latter is a pejorative identify for Bosnian Muslims utilized by Serbian nationalists.

The episode ought to add spice to the return leg as Milan look to place behind them the frustration of their defeat by Inter in final weekend’s derby.

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