Europa League quarter-final draw

By Tom Kelly

Napoli v Arsenal

After narrowly defeating Rennes within the previous round, the North London side will take on Napoli, who sit second behind Juventus in Serie A. The last European success which Napoli achieved was during the 1988/89 season, as the Naples side lifted the UEFA Cup. On the other hand, Arsenal will be looking to go one step further than last year, as they were knocked out in the semi-final by Atletico Madrid. Furthermore, the last time these two side met, Napoli rode out victorious with a 2-0 win.

Villareal v Valencia

Villareal and Valencia had to beat Russian sides Zenit St. Petersburg and Krasnodar respectively in order to progress to the last eight of the tournament. However, Valencia sit considerably higher than Villareal within their domestic league, with Valencia challenging for Europe in 7th while Villareal battle relegation in 17th. In addition to this, within a previous meeting, Valencia dominated Villareal at home, comfortably defeating El Submarino 3-0.

Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt

The Portuguese side are no strangers to the Europa League, narrowly losing in the final to both Chelsea and recently-eliminated Sevilla in recent years. In comparison, this is the furthest that Eintracht Frankfurt has reached in any European competition. Despite having never faced each other, Benfica will have to keep an eye on Frankfurt’s free-scoring goal threat Luka Jovic. The Serbian striker has scored 15 goals in 23 games so far this season.

SK Slavia Praha v Chelsea

Chelsea fans will certainly be taking a look at this draw with a hint of joy, as the west London side will be hoping for an easy path to the Europa League semi-final. Nonetheless, the Czech Republic side shouldn’t be disregarded so soon, as Slavia heroically defeated Sevilla 4-3 on aggregate.

Semi-finals

Napoli-Arsenal v Villareal-Valencia

A strange fixture for Arsenal, as the Gunners will likely need to prioritise the quarter-final over the semi-final mainly due to the quality of the opposition. If the North London side manage to defeat Napoli, Unai Emery’s men have a great chance to reach the final.

Benfica-Eintracht Frankfurt v Slavia-Chelsea

Much like in their recent Europa League games, Chelsea have been gifted the opportunity to field a second-string side for this quarter-final but may struggle in the semi. Eintracht Frankfurt are considered to be a strong and up-and-coming side within European football and may deny Chelsea the opportunity to play Arsenal in a potential London-derby final.

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