By News Team
Last Updated: 6th May 2021
Last week’s Europa League semi-final first legs saw Manchester United hit Roma for six at Old Trafford while Villarreal battled their way to a victory against a struggling Arsenal.
Ahead of Thursday’s return games, we preview the crunch second legs. Will we see an all-English Europa League final once again?
Can Roma defy the odds against Man United?
After last week’s 6-2 demolition of Roma, Manchester United travel out to Italy to face their opponents in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday evening. Surely they’re all but qualified for the final?
History is certainly on United’s side as in the history of the UEFA Cup and Europa League, only two sides have ever progressed after losing the first leg of a two-legged knockout tie by four or more goals, with the last team being Real Madrid in 1986. Underdogs Roma, who will be managed by Jose Mourinho, are currently priced at 28/1 to progress to the final.
If they are to have any chance then they’ll need Edin Dzeko firing on all cylinders. Dzeko has scored in five of his last six Europa League appearances for Roma and he is priced at 6/4 to put the ball in the back of the net again on Thursday evening.
After losing in four previous semi-finals under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, United are looking to progress to their first major final in any competition under the Norwegian. United are currently priced as 10/11 favourites to win the away fixture in 90 minutes and 1/300 to reach the final.
Bruno Fernandes has staggeringly been directly involved in 30 Europa League goals since joining the club in 2020, which is seven more than any other player in the competition in that time. The Portuguese midfielder is priced at 10/11 to add to that tally by scoring anytime against the Italian outfit on Thursday.
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Will Arsenal win the war against Villarreal?
Last Thursday saw Villarreal and Arsenal play out an intriguing first leg, which saw two red cards, a penalty as well as three goals. But can the Gunners, who looked dead and buried at one point, overturn the deficit at the Emirates and reach another final under Mikel Arteta?
Arsenal have qualified from only four of the last 17 occasions when they have lost the first leg of a European knockout tie, but their fans can take heart from the fact they have progressed from their last two against Bate Borisov and Rennes. Arteta’s side are currently priced at Evens to continue that trend and qualify for the final.
Nicolas Pepe has been Arsenal’s standout performer in the competition this season, having registered 10 goal involvements in the Europa League, which is more than any other player. The Ivorian is currently priced at 29/20 to score anytime on Thursday evening and continue that fine form.
In contrast with Arsenal’s record, Villarreal have progressed from 15 of their 16 two-legged ties in European competition when winning the first leg, and they are currently 8/11 favourites to do so yet again, which shows the task the home side have in front of them. Villarreal’s main man Gerard Moreno has played a part in a goal in each of his seven starts in the Europa League this season and he is 11/10 to find the back of the net on Thursday.