Arsenal v Villareal: Spaniards are capable of scoring at the Emirates
If there is to be an all English Europa League final then Arsenal are the team with the most work to do in their semi-final second leg.
They come into this match 2-1 down against Villareal who are, of course, managed by their former-boss Unai Emery. He’s won this competition three times although was in charge of Arsenal when they lost to Chelsea in the final in 2019. If his side knock Arsenal out tomorrow night the irony will be almost too much to bear for Gooners.
Match previewer Kevin Hatchard believes Mikel Arteta’s men are up against it. He points out: “Villarreal have now won their last nine games in the Europa League, including all of their knockout matches this term.”
With that in mind, we should be able to rely on the the Spanish team to find the net, so Yes in Both Teams to Score is a bet. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was only on the bench in last week’s first leg but will surely start here, so that increases the hosts’ goal threat. Arsenal are notoriously unreliable so I may regret this but I’ll back them to win the match. Whether that’s enough to get them through is another matter.
Roma v Manchester United: Red Devils to ease into final
The interesting thing about last week’s first leg was the way Manchester United rallied after going behind. Historically, it’s what they’ve been good at but, although they’ve launched some decent comebacks this season, there was something about the emphatic nature of the win that should give fans cause for optimism, a sense that under Solskjaer they are moving in the right direction.
They’re heavy odds-on to reach the final after their 6-2 victory at Old Trafford and fewer goals in this second leg is a given. In his match preview Kevin says: “The rigours of a long European campaign have caught up with Roma and Paulo Fonseca.”
They played at the weekend, losing 2-0 to Sampdoria, while United had a day off for reasons that have been well-documented. They will still be keen to conserve energy though and won’t chase the game. A dispirited Roma would like to emerge from this second leg with dignity and a low-scoring draw is a distinct possibility.