The Europa League is set to hold the round of 32 second legs this week, with many of the big names in prime position to progress to the next stage.
Inter Milan are one of those teams after they scored a 2-0 win over Ludogorets in the first leg. However, the Italian side will have to play the second leg in front of an empty San Siro as concerns over the spread of the coronavirus continue in Italy.
Meanwhile, Premier League giants Manchester United and Arsenal will look to join Inter in the round of 16. United hold a slight advantage after a 1-1 draw against Club Brugge and will be favoured to get the job done against the Belgians, who will be missing a couple of key players.
Arsenal have a 1-0 advantage to hold onto against Olympiacos, although the Greek side’s coach Pedro Martins remains confident they can turn the tie around at the Emirates.
Inter to play second leg behind closed doors due to coronavirus scare
Inter Milan’s last-32 second leg against Ludogorets at the San Siro is set to be played behind closed doors due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Inter were already affected by the virus as their match against Sampdoria was one of four Serie A matches postponed last weekend. Italy has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe with 165.
Inter look likely to move on to the round of 16 after a 2-0 away win in the first leg. Christian Eriksen gave them the lead and Romelu Lukaku added a second from the penalty spot in stoppage time.
Lukaku’s strike partner, Lautaro Martinez, will be suspended for the second leg after picking up a yellow card in Bulgaria.
Meanwhile, manager Antonio Conte must also be considering possible changes with a huge matchup against leaders Juventus coming up on the weekend. Inter are now down to third, six points from Juve after losing 2-1 to Lazio. Their SBOTOP odds to win the Scudetto are now down to just 5.50.
Inter cannot afford to lose and go further behind Juventus at this stage of the season. And with a two-goal lead to defend against Ludogorets, Conte will have the perfect opportunity to rest some of his key players ahead of that crucial Derby d’Italia clash.
Club Brugge suffer injury blows for Manchester United second leg clash
Club Brugge will be without not one, but two key players for their second leg at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
The Belgian club confirmed that captain Ruud Vormer and star striker Emmanuel Dennis will both be unavailable for the match. The two picked up injuries during Club Brugge’s 1-0 win over Charleroi in the Belgian Pro League.
Dennis scored Brugge’s opener in the first leg against Man United before Anthony Martial equalised with a crucial away goal.
The Europa League 2020 betting odds have United as big favourites to win at Old Trafford. However, a goalless draw would also be enough to see them through to the round of 16 on away goals.
United will head into the match in fine form, having won back-to-back Premier League matches at Chelsea and against Watford. United are now unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions (four wins, two draws).
Anthony Martial has been instrumental in United’s strong play of late. The French forward has found the net in his last three games and has had a number of Europa League 2020 highlights with three goals in the competition.
New signing Bruno Fernandes has also provided a spark. The Portuguese playmaker has a goal and two assists in his first four games as a Red Devil.
However, both could potentially be rested in the second leg. Scott McTominay and Odion Ighalo both came on as second-half substitutes against Watford and could be in line to start against Brugge.
Olympiacos boss fires warning at Arsenal ahead of second-leg showdown
Olympiacos will head into their second leg against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium down 1-0, but manager Pedro Martins believes his side has what it takes to overturn the deficit.
The Greek side gave another north London side in Tottenham all they could handle in two Champions League group stage matches, and Martins is confident they can do so once more against Arsenal.
“Everybody in England saw during the games against Tottenham that they were two games that were balanced,” Martins told Goal.com. “They were two amazing games.
“It was tough for us, but it was also tough for Tottenham. We have our quality and we will never change our identity, never. This is Olympiacos and you will see that again in London.
“I believe in this team because there is a good environment inside and a good spirit. I believe we can win at Arsenal.”
Olympiacos came back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 against Tottenham in Greece. But Spurs turned the tables in London as they came back from two goals down inside the opening 20 minutes to beat the Greeks, 4-2.
Arsenal are likely to make some changes to the side that beat Everton 3-2, their third win in a row. Alexandre Lacazette, who scored the winner in the first leg, is expected to return to the starting lineup, with youngsters Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock, and Reiss Nelson also likely to get another runout.
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