Europa League Quarter-Final Second Leg Multi
Thursday will see the UEFA Europa League semi-finalists decided. Manchester United lead their tie against Granada by two goals, while all other ties are level or separated by a single goal, so nothing is out of reach just yet.
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All first-leg fixtures take place on 15 April at 21:00 SAST.
Granada v Manchester United
United are a team in form after winning the first leg 2-0 and then beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 in the Premier League. Even if they rotate their squad for this fixture, they are not short on players who are hungry to impress and prove themselves worthy of minutes.
Mason Greenwood, for example, started the first leg against Granada and was benched for the subsequent match against Spurs, but came on to seal the win in stoppage time. Edinson Cavani, who also scored against José Mourinho’s men, is another player not assured of a starting berth who will be hungry to prove himself.
United’s lead in this tie is not so convincing that it should affect how seriously they take the second leg. Having won both of their last two matches by two goals, there is good value in the Red Devils covering the -1 handicap for a third successive game.
Dinamo Zagreb v Villarreal
Villarreal were on an impressive run of form ahead of the first leg of this tie and picked up a 1-0 win. Having taken the lead, they are likely to approach the second leg cautiously to maintain it and avoid suffering a similar fate to Tottenham Hotspur, who threw away a two-goal lead against Dinamo Zagreb.
Over the course of the last two decades, Villarreal have survived in major European ties by virtue of being shrewd operators. Unai Emery’s side is capable of scoring goals, but the players know that no frills are needed. Even if the result is unspectacular, all they need is to progress.
With significant value available in the draw, it is worth taking a punt on this outcome.
Arsenal v Slavia Prague
The first leg of this tie ended in a 1-1 draw, with Nicolas Pépé’s opener cancelled out by Tomáš Holeš. Arsenal had the better of possession and shots at goal, but fell short of victory.
The Gunners made light work of Sheffield United in a 3-0 away win on Sunday and are likely to repeat the feat against Slavia Prague in the second leg of their tie. Arsenal have not had the best of seasons, but with six away matches unbeaten on the trot and an array of quality players, they should have too much firepower for the Czech side.
Ajax v AS Roma
Roma won the first leg 2-1 and claimed two vital away goals, but Ajax remain the more seasoned European campaigners of the two sides contesting this tie and a backlash may well be on the cards.
The Dutch giants bounced back from their first leg defeat to beat RKC Waalwijk 1-0, claiming an eighth win in their last nine fixtures.
Roma’s form has been inconsistent by comparison and it is likely that Ajax will claim revenge in the second leg.