It’s time to shape up or ship out for two sides in the couple of Europa League semi-finals on the horizon to be played on Thursday evening. Celta need to score without reply to level things up, whilst Lyon will be hoping the big man upstairs is looking down on them. They need three to progress to the Final – and with Alexandre Lacazette leading the line, would you bet against them getting the job done?
United’s eggs are all firmly in this Europa League basket, but no doubt everyone – aside from Reds fans will be desperate for Celta to prevail after Jose Mourinho oddly opted to completely sack off the Premier League race for fourth – which tells you what poor seasons the likes of Arsenal, United and Manchester City have had in 2016/17.
United returned from Vigo with a one-goal advantage thanks to Marcus Rashford’s decent free kick, even though we think the goalkeeper should have done better with it. Maybe if he wasn’t young and English there wouldn’t have been such a fanfare over it. Rashford will now be expected to be a Manc version of David Beckham from now on in.
Vigo need to score at Old Trafford, meaning it’s handy they have Iago Aspas in the squad. There you go, folks, words Liverpool supporters never thought they’d hear. Aspas is one of the top scorers in La Liga and will fancy his chances of bagging on English shores again on Thursday evening – just like he did in a fairly recent friendly for Spain against England at Wembley at the back end of 2016.
What We Sayin’?
A defeat for United and progress for Celta will see Mourinho quickly reach for that book of excuses he has under his seat in the Old Trafford dugout, and, primarily because we want to see him sweat a little, we’re going for a 1-2 Celta away win at 18/1. That will be enough to see the Spanish side progress to the Final of the competition.
Ajax hold all the cards after a dominant home performance, but is it too early for us to write Lyon off? They need three goals without reply to progress and when you have the likes of Alexandre Lacazette in your squad, you always have a chance? The Frenchman is one of the top goalscorers in Ligue 1 this season and has a whopping 30 goals in his 41 outings for his club this term in all competitions.
Ajax have a youthful side and are of a similar ilk to Monaco in the Champions League – but surely the Dutch side won’t be doing what the Ligue 1 club did earlier in the week in bowing out at the semi-finals stage of a European competition. If they do, it will be a combination of horrific bottling and a superb performance from the hosts. It can’t happen, can it?
What We Sayin’?
We expect goals, and speaking of scoring, the first one in the onion bag is vital to the way the tie – on the night, at least – could go. If Ajax get the first then it’ll probably, definitely be game over. However, an opener for Lyon will give them hope of an unexpected turnaround. Anyway, our prediction’s for a 2-1 home victory at 15/2, which won’t be enough for the French side to progress.
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