The Europa League knockout section begins on Thursday, with VAR being launched to Europe’s secondary membership competitors for the primary day trip with the ultimate for the final 32, first-leg ties. AFP Sport picks 5 video games to observe this week:
Man Utd in Bruges
Manchester United’s Champions League aspirations have been given a significant enhance in latest days, first with the information of Manchester Metropolis’s two-year ban from the competitors. Then, on Monday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s facet beat Chelsea 2-Zero away to shut to inside three factors of their opponents in fourth place within the Premier League.
Now they revert their focus to the Europa League, which might additionally supply them a ticket to subsequent season’s Champions League in the event that they attain the ultimate in Gdansk in Could and raise the trophy.
United head to Belgium to tackle Membership Brugge within the first leg of their tie. Crushed by Liverpool in two European finals within the 1970s, Membership Brugge aren’t a facet to be taken evenly. They dropped out of the Champions League group stage regardless of holding Actual Madrid away, and are 9 factors clear atop the Belgian league.
Arsenal ‘deserve our respect’
Arsenal are unbeaten of their final eight video games below Mikel Arteta, though the Gunners’ new Spanish boss might do with turning a few of his group’s many attracts into extra victories.
At present in mid-table within the Premier League, final season’s crushed finalists journey to face Olympiakos understanding this competitors is definitely their finest guess if they’re to return to the Champions League subsequent time period.
“They may not have started well in the Premier League this season, but they have great players, are dangerous and deserve our respect,” mentioned Pedro Martins, the coach of Olympiakos.
The Greek league leaders dropped out of the Champions League group stage regardless of holding Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-2 attract Piraeus.
Ajax set for battle in Spain
After enchanting Europe on their run to the Champions League semi-finals final 12 months, Ajax had been introduced crashing again to earth after they had been eradicated from this season’s competitors within the group stage.
The Dutch champions had been then handed a troublesome Europa League draw in opposition to a Getafe facet who’ve been one of many tales of the season in Spain.
The retro outfit from the working-class satellite tv for pc city simply south of Madrid completed fifth in La Liga final season and are presently third below Jose Bordalas, whose his idol as a teen was Johan Cruyff.
“They are warriors. They fight for every ball and really give everything,” Ajax star Dusan Tadic informed Dutch every day Algemeen Dagblad. “They are physically very strong and go beyond the limits if necessary.”
It’s Getafe’s first European knockout tie since they took Bayern Munich to further time within the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 2008.
Will Salzburg survive with out Haaland?
Erling Braut Haaland’s eight targets weren’t sufficient for Salzburg to qualify from the Champions League group stage, and the Austrians have since misplaced their striker to Borussia Dortmund. Japanese winger Takumi Minamino additionally departed for Liverpool, leaving them wanting severely weakened for the second half of the season.
Salzburg did signal Swiss starlet Noah Okafor, however their first league recreation after an extended winter break led to a Three-2 residence defeat by title rivals LASK Linz final weekend.
Now Salzburg face Eintracht Frankfurt, which means a reunion with Adi Huetter, who coached Salzburg to a league and cup double in 2015.
Celtic fairytale in Copenhagen?
Celtic have been eradicated at this stage within the final two seasons however ought to fancy their probabilities in opposition to FC Copenhagen as they head to Denmark.
Whereas Celtic have claimed 9 straight wins this calendar 12 months, Copenhagen’s first league recreation of 2020 led to defeat final weekend.
Present Celtic supervisor Neil Lennon was a participant when the Glasgow giants misplaced Three-1 on their final journey to Copenhagen within the Champions League in 2006.
His group certified by topping their group, and of this tie he mentioned: “It’s great to have European football after Christmas, and it’s a tough draw. It could have been tougher, but it could have been easier.”