Eyes will be on the semifinal games of the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League semifinal tonight when Manchester United face Roma at Stadio Olimpico in what I daresay is a mere formality while Arsenal welcome Villareal to the Emirates with both sides having all to play for.
Meanwhile, the eyes of English football fans will be on the prospect of having only Premier League teams play in the finals of this season’s Euro club competitions as Chelsea and Manchester City have already booked a date for the UCL final on May 29.
Manchester United beat Roma 6:2 at Old Trafford a week ago whilst Arsenal lost 2:1 to Villareal in Spain on the same night. Therefore, the onus lies on the Premier League boys to book a place and face each other in the Europa League final.
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The Red Devils have put themselves in a notable advantage as Roma must beat them 4 nil and not concede to seal a place in the next stage of the competition. A 5:1 win for the Serie A side will also suffice if they intend to participate in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
However, this is a gargantuan task in my opinion and I don’t see it happening against a very solid Ole Gunnar Solskjaer-led Man United side. It would come as no surprise if they even run out winners at the Stadio Olimpico.
This is not the case with Arsenal as they must beat former manager Unai Emery’s Villareal to book a place in the final. A 1 nil win will suffice but I see Villareal getting a goal, and therefore, the Gunners will have to beat them convincingly to scale through.
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The Gunners have not been phenomenal in their last two Europa League knockout games at home, having lost to 1 nil to Olympiacos and drawn 1 all with Slavia Prague at the Emirates, although they were brilliant away from home.
In this one, they have no choice but the brilliant against the tricky La Liga side at the Emirates if they want to keep their hopes of qualifying to next season’s UCL competition alive.
Unai Emery would be keen to have the last laugh having being relieved of his duty as Arsenal boss some time ago but Mikel Arteta and his men must be determined to prove that they made the right choice.
In my opinion, an all-English Europa League final depends on Arsenal’s performance tonight because Manchester United are as good as in the final of the competition already.
We are looking forward to this game to see if Mikel Arteta whose regime has divided the opinions of fans will cover himself in glory by steering them to the final of the Europa League. We shall see!