The roadmap to Gdansk has been set out in Europe’s second-most prestigious competition as the Europa League quarter-finals draws were announced recently. There are two English and two Spanish teams left in the competition along with one each from the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands.
There are plenty of star players left in the competition and a few player battles could swing the results in each tie. Here are the top player duels to look out for from the Europa League quarter-finals.
MARTIN ODEGAARD vs ABDALLAH SIMA
Match 1: Arsenal vs Slavia Praha
The Gunners are up against a difficult opposition in Slavia Prague who have reached this stage of the competition by beating quality teams in Leicester City and Rangers. The club from North London have had an indifferent season in the Premier League but one player who has stood out in the recent few fixtures has been Martin Odegaard. The loanee was a child prodigy going into one of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid in his teenage years. He has had an instant impact at Arsenal and they would want to make this move permanent.
Slavia Praha is a team with an abundance of talent as well. They sit on top of their domestic league and can be termed as the dark horses of this tournament. Their right-sided winger Abdallah Sima will be the player to watch out for in this tie. He has been their highest goalscorer in the competition so far with four goals and will be a major goal threat in this round as well.
ROBERTO SOLDADO vs AMAD DIALLO
Match 2: Granada Vs Manchester United
Manchester United had a remarkable match against AC Milan in the Round of 16 to reach the Europa League quarter-finals. Amad Diallo was the boy who scored for them in the second leg in Milan. Diallo was a surprise pick in the XI by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but the new signing from Atlanta certainly impressed. He should be able to keep his spot in the match against Granada and can make a positive impact on this tie.
A familiar face in English football from his days with Tottenham Hotspur, Roberto Soldado would lead the Granada attack. The Spaniard didn’t have the best of the times in England but has found home with Granada where he scores quite often. He has scored twice already in the competition and will be the attacker to look out for in this match.
DUSAN TADIC vs HENRIKH MKHITARYAN
Match 3: Ajax Vs Roma
When Ajax take on the Italian team AS Roma it will be the clash of the heavyweights. Both teams play some good attacking football and at the heart of it are two attacking players, Ajax’s Dusan Tadic and Roma’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Tadic already has three goals to his name in the Europa League this season and can provide the creative spark needed to win this crucial quarter-final tie. Mkhitaryan, on the other hand, has only one assist and a goal in the tournament so far but big players like him do step up at the business end of major tournaments.
MISLAV ORSIC vs GERARD MORENO
Match 4: Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal
It’s been a fairytale ride for Dinamo Zagreb as against all odds they went on to get the better of Tottenham in the previous round. They will be up against Unai Emery’s Yellow Submarine, Villarreal in a tie that heavily favours the Spanish team.
Mislav Orsic scored a hattrick to take his team through to the Europa League quarter-finals. He is the man in form coming into this tie and can have a major impact yet again. He will go up against Villarreal’s Paco Alcacer who just scores for fun. The Spanish striker has already scored five times in the competition so far and has done it at the biggest stage previously with teams like FC Barcelona in his career.
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