By News Team
10th March 2021
After another action packed few nights of Champions League football, attention turns to the Europa League on Thursday evening as two European giants go head-to-head for the first time in 11 years and Arsenal look to seek revenge against Olympiacos.
We take a look at the standout fixtures from this week’s Europa League round of 16 action.
The battle of the European giants
Thursday evening sees two European giants go head-to-head but this time around it will be in the Europa League instead of the Champions League for the first time ever.
This will be the 11th time that Manchester United and AC Milan have faced each other, with all previous 10 meetings coming in the Champions League. Worryingly for the Red Devils, no side has eliminated United more times in Europe than Milan, with the Italian side knocking them out four out of the last five times. That said, the last time these two sides met in 2010, United ran out 4-0 winners, which is the joint heaviest loss Milan have suffered in Europe. Following United’s impressive victory over Manchester City at the weekend, they are 6/10 for victory in Thursday’s round of 16 first leg, while they are currently priced at 1/2 to qualify for the next round.
Between 1988 and 2007, Milan progressed from nine consecutive last 16 ties but in recent times they have struggled to make it past this stage of any European competition. Milan have been eliminated from six of their last seven last 16 battles but, sitting second in Serie A, they will fancy their chances here. They are 9/2 for the win and 6/4 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Spurs to breeze past Zagreb?
Spurs host Dinamo Zagreb in North London on Thursday evening with Jose Mourinho hoping to put the tie to bed in the first leg, but he will be preparing for a tough assignment for his side.
Spurs have only faced Zagreb once in European competition, which was back in 2009 with Darren Bent scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory. If there is going to be another hat-trick scored this time around, the main man to look at would be Harry Kane. Kane has scored 28 goals in his last 33 European games for Spurs and has scored seven in his last six appearances. The Spurs captain is currently priced at 14/1 to take home the match ball on Thursday evening, while he is 12/5 to open the scoring.
Zagreb have only ever beaten an English side once in European competition and that came against Arsenal in the 2015 Champions League group stages. Apart from that win, Zagreb have lost nine of their 10 fixtures against English sides. As a result, Zagreb head into this fixture as 7/1 underdogs, with Spurs the 2/5 favourites.
Arsenal seek revenge on Olympiacos
Arsenal set out on Thursday evening with the prime goal being to enact revenge on the side that knocked them out of the competition last season in Olympiacos.
These two sides have faced each other 10 times in European competition, with both teams having won five games each and never playing out a draw. William Hill, incidentally, have priced a draw at 5/2 on Thursday evening.
Arsenal will be hoping that Bukayo Saka can continue his magnificent Europa League form this week. Saka has assisted eight Europa League goals since the beginning of last season, and he is priced at 11/4 to find the back of the net this time round.
Olympiacos could become the first side since Bayern Munich in 2014 to knock Arsenal out of a European competition in back-to-back seasons but their record against English sides is not the greatest. Olympiacos have only won two of their last 11 fixtures against English opposition but both wins did come against Arsenal. The Greek side are currently priced as 3/1 underdogs to defeat the Gunners in 90 minutes, with Arsenal 10/11 for the win.