Europa League: Arsenal, Man Utd and Roma permutations

nike promo web

new balance
free keto book

With just one game to go, the Europa League group stage is nearing a dramatic conclusion as several teams prepare to battle it out for a place in the knockout round next week.

Some head into it with the luxury of qualification already in the bag, including Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester United. However, both teams are yet to secure top spot in their respective groups – and doing so could have a huge impact on their chances of winning the tournament.

That’s because the eight runners-up will each take on an eliminated Champions League team in the knockout round play-offs, where they can seal progression to the last-16. Group winners, meanwhile, will sit with their feet up before the later stage commences.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side must beat FC Zurich to seal top spot in their Europa League group

Manchester United have also given themselves a chance of winning their respective group

Manchester United have also given themselves a chance of winning their respective group

However, facing a Champions League casualty is the best some clubs can hope for with the threat of an exit and demotion to the Europa Conference League looming, such as Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

It should make for a dramatic end to the group stage, and Sportsmail takes a look at the potential consequences for the three of the pre-tournament favourites. 

Arsenal 

Mikel Arteta’s side had the chance to cement top spot in Group A this week, but their 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven means that is very much still in the balance heading into next Thursday’s final outing against FC Zurich.

They must now beat Zurich to ensure first place is theirs, as a draw would give PSV the chance to leapfrog them on the head-to-head rule by winning their own tie at Bodo/Glimt, having beaten the Gunners 2-0 after losing against them 1-0. 

Finishing second could have a huge impact on Arsenal’s season. Firstly, dropping into a knockout round play-off would provide another obstacle in their bid to win the Europa League, but perhaps more importantly it would pile up even more fixtures in an already-hectic season – with the two legs to come in February.

Arsenal missed the chance to secure top spot in Group A away at PSV Eindhoven on Thursday

See also  West Ham prepare opening offer for Chelsea's Armando Broja to beat rivals Leicester and Napoli

Arsenal missed the chance to secure top spot in Group A away at PSV Eindhoven on Thursday

If they fail to get the better of Zurich, that lethargic and disjointed display in Eindhoven may be looked back upon as a fatal turning point.

Should the worst-case scenario play out, the north London club risk facing Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or AC Milan in the play-off round.

Nevertheless, they may also be confident of progressing to the last-16 against the likes of Sevilla, Ajax or Juventus. 

Arteta’s biggest frustration will be that he can no longer treat next week’s decider – which comes three days before a crunch clash with Chelsea in the Premier League – as a dead rubber.

Potential Europa League play-off opponents for Arsenal if they finish second in Group A (teams from same nations cannot meet): Barcelona, Sevilla, Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon/Eintracht Frankfurt/Marseille, AC Milan/Red Bull Salzburg/Dinamo Zagreb, RB Leipzig/Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus/Maccabi Haifa.

The Gunners' defeat in Holland means they must claim victory in their final game to finish top

The Gunners’ defeat in Holland means they must claim victory in their final game to finish top

Arteta could have rested his key men ahead of their clash with Chelsea if top spot was secure

Arteta could have rested his key men ahead of their clash with Chelsea if top spot was secure

Manchester United

Like their English counterparts, United have guaranteed themselves a place in the Europa League knockout round play-offs and could still clinch top spot in Group E next week.

Yet their task is slightly trickier than Arsenal’s given Real Sociedad, who they visit in their final match, currently sit three points clear of them at the summit.

See also  Liverpool fans and Alan Shearer hail club-record £85m capture of Darwin Nunez

Sociedad came away with a 1-0 victory when the two teams met at Old Trafford last month, meaning Erik ten Hag’s men can move above them on the head-to-head rule if they win while scoring at least two goals out in Spain.

This is where it gets a bit complicated.

Even if they beat Sociedad by a margin of one goal, which would level the goal difference in matches between them, United would trump their group rivals on head-to-head away goals if they scored twice or more. 

Should United run out 1-0 winners on the night, Sociedad will keep hold of top spot by a single goal on overall goal difference.

Erik ten Hag's Manchester United can also still finish top of their Europa League group

Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United can also still finish top of their Europa League group

The Red Devils kept their hopes of doing so alive by beating Sheriff 3-0 on Thursday night

The Red Devils kept their hopes of doing so alive by beating Sheriff 3-0 on Thursday night

They must go away to Real Sociedad next week and win while scoring two goals to progress

They must go away to Real Sociedad next week and win while scoring two goals to progress

The Red Devils will therefore have their work cut out next Thursday, but finding the back of the net twice and taking three points would be a seismic triumph for Ten Hag.

It would free up his diary in February and ensure they avoid meeting a departed Champions League outfit next, which could turn out to be his former Ajax team.

Potential Europa League play-off opponents for Man United if they finish second in Group E (teams from same nations cannot meet): Barcelona, Sevilla, Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Sporting Lisbon/Eintracht Frankfurt/Marseille, AC Milan/Red Bull Salzburg/Dinamo Zagreb, RB Leipzig/Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus/Maccabi Haifa. 

Roma 

Jose Mourinho has an entirely different concern heading into Roma’s last group-stage outing. Having only won two of their five matches so far, the Italian club risk being dumped out altogether while sitting third in Group C.

See also  Gary Neville claims 'Chelsea can win the Premier League title'

And given their final opponent is second-place Ludogorets, who have the same number of points (7), next week’s fixture is essentially a play-off between the two sides with Real Sociedad already home and dry in top spot.

The Bulgarian minnows hold the upper hand after claiming a famous 2-1 win at home to Roma earlier in the campaign. That victory means they sit above Mourinho’s men despite being level on points, and a draw in Italy would therefore be enough to take them through on the head-to-head criteria.

Jose Mourinho's Roma, meanwhile, could crash out of the competition altogether next week

Jose Mourinho’s Roma, meanwhile, could crash out of the competition altogether next week

The Italian club must avenge their defeat against Ludogorets just to go through as runners-up

The Italian club must avenge their defeat against Ludogorets just to go through as runners-up

Roma must avenge their previous defeat to progress, though only a win by a margin of two goals or more, or failing that a 1-0 or 2-1 victory, will be enough.

The first option would see the Giallorossi prevail on head-to-head goal difference, while a 1-0 win would give them the edge on away goals scored in their meetings with Ludogorets.

A 2-1 triumph would bring overall goal difference into play, and Roma are one clear of Ludogorets in that table.

If one of the above scenarios play out on match-night six, Mourinho could face a reunion with Tottenham in the play-offs should his former side suffer Champions League heartbreak, while old rivals Barcelona and Atletico may also await.

If not, however, Roma will drop into the Europa Conference League and be forced to contest knockout-round playoffs against group runners-up in February.  

Potential Europa League play-off opponents for Roma if they finish second in Group C (teams from same nations cannot meet): Barcelona, Sevilla, Ajax, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham/Sporting Lisbon/Eintracht Frankfurt/Marseille, Red Bull Salzburg/Dinamo Zagreb, RB Leipzig/Shakhtar Donetsk, Maccabi Haifa.

nike promo web

anti radiation
new balance


Source link

crypto quantum