Arsenal, Man Utd, Roma and Villareal go to the semi-finals of the Europa League

With their season on the line, Arsenal’s players produced a devastating performance in the first half to beat Slavia Prague and reach the Europa League semi-finals.

They meet a familiar face there.

Arsenal’s 4-0 victory in the Czech capital – secured with the permission of a three-goal save of six minutes from the 18th – made an overall 5-1 victory and set up a final match against Villarreal, managed by Unai Emery .

The Spanish coach spent a staggering 18 months at Arsenal as Arsene Wenger’s replacement in 2018-19 and is rebuilding his leadership career at Villarreal, which beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 and advanced 3-1 overall.

Manchester United and Roma complete the semi-final.

United are back in the last four for a second straight season after beating Spanish side Granada 2-0 for a 4-0 victory.

Roma made it 1-1 with Ajax to break through 3-2 overall.

Arsenal and Roma were under pressure to advance as the Europa League represents their only chance to win a trophy this season and their only realistic path to next season’s Champions League, due to their low current rankings in their domestic leagues.

Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League and Roma seventh in Serie A.

The winner of the Europa League earns an automatic place in the much more lucrative Champions League.

Sends a message

Arsenal sent a message before and during the victory against Slavia.

The hosts learned the day before the match that their defender, Ondrej Kudela, had been banned for ten matches for abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara during a round of 16 matches last month.

Before the kickoff, when Slavia’s players stood in a row in the center circle, Arsenal’s players took a knee in a symbolic gesture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with Alexandre Lacazette doing it right in front of the Slavia team and staring at the players.

Arsenal responded by having an early goal by Emile Smith Rowe ruled out for offside by VAR by scoring three times in quick succession, first Nicolas Pepe in the 18th and then Lacazette – from the penalty spot – and Bukayo Saka.

This meant that Slavia, the lost leader of the Czech league who had not lost at home in almost 18 months, needed to score four goals to qualify. At half-time, the hosts had essentially given up when they removed some of their key players to preserve their condition for the league.

Lacazette continued as a striker with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang away after contracting malaria and added a fourth in the 77th minute.

“The boys were really into it from the start,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. “It’s a really important win in a crucial moment. We won convincingly. ”

Arsenal lost to Chelsea in the Europa League final in 2019.

Villarreal’s goal was scored by Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno at the end of the first half, where Zagreb – Tottenham’s 16-time winner – took comfort from Mislav Orsic.

Villarreal are in the semi-finals of the Europa League for the first time since 2016.

Cavani milestone

Edinson Cavani scored his 50th goal in European competition to lead United to victory over Granada at Old Trafford.

The 34-year-old Uruguay striker met a girl’s head into the middle of the area by Paul Pogba with a left-wing volley in the bottom corner in the sixth minute.

A 90-minute own goal by Jesus Vallejo completed a second victory in a row 2-0 against Granada.

United lost in the semi-final against Sevilla last season and have been defeated at that stage three other times – twice in the English League Cup and again in the FA Cup – under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Roma will make sure to add another final four loss to United after surviving a scare against Ajax, who took the lead through Brian Brobbey’s lobbed finish in the 49th to equalize to make it 2-2.

Edin Dzeko equalized in the 72nd and Ajax could not find the goal that would have taken the match to extra time.

Solskjaer was part of the United team that beat Roma 7-1 at Old Trafford in the 2007 Champions League quarter-finals.


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