The second legs of the Quarter-Final ties in the UEFA Europa League are set to unfold on Thursday evening, as the remaining sides in the competition look to secure a place in the last four and be one step closer to the final in Lyon.
All four home teams in the first leg managed to gain victories, putting the emphasise on all the home teams for the second leg and their fans to create a brilliant performance and atmosphere which could reminisce similar scenes to Roma in the UEFA Champions League days prior.
Braces from Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette mean Arsenal take a 4-1 aggregate lead to CSKA Moscow, a side who looked dangerous in the first leg and are capable of creating plenty of chances. Red Bull Salzburg were unfortunate to see defeat to Lazio, with the Italians 4-2 victory an awkward score line if they are to slip up in Austria.
A slender lead for another Red Bull team in RB Leipzig over Marseille, with Timo Werner’s goal on the stroke of half time the only difference so far in the heated tie. Lastly, Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon have the task of overturning a 2-0 aggregate over the well-drilled Spaniards Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
A knee injury picked up in Arsenal’s first leg means Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be unavailable for The Gunners, with Petr Cech set to start in goal as David Ospina is side-lined. CSKA’s Kirill Nababkin may return after missing the first leg because of suspension whilst Portuguese midfielder Mario Fernandes may miss out for the Russian side with a hamstring injury.
Threatening 19 players with suspension from an outspoken owner after he labelled his players ‘spoiled kids’, Sporting will however play with most of their starting squad but will miss Daniel Podence and Bruno Silva due to injury. Atletico centre back Jose Gonzales will be assessed before the game after his injury in the international break with nation Uruguay, but Diego Simeone has a near full squad to choose from.
Red Bull Salzburg will be missing Diadie Samassekou, with the young Mali hot prospect not available for selection due to suspension. Lazio could potentially be a full strength heading into the fixture, with the only doubt being Marco Parolo who scored in the first leg.
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda won’t be playing in goal for Marseille in the second leg, but are likely to welcome back Newcastle United flop Florian Thauvin and Gregory Sertic to the side. RB Leipzig will be without back up goalkeeper Phillip Kohn, whilst Austrian midfield duo Konrad Laimer and Stefan Ilsanker are out with injuries.
CSKA Moscow 2-1 Arsenal (Arsenal win 5-3 aggregate)
Key Players: Shkodran Mustafi and Ahmed Musa
Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico Madrid win 3-0 aggregate)
Key Players: Diego Godin and Bas Dost
Red Bull Salzburg 1-3 Lazio (Lazio win 7-3 aggregate)