Arsenal will discover their opponents for the quarter-finals and the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League this lunchtime after progressing to the next phase of the competition last night.
The Gunners, who return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they lock horns with West Ham United, were beaten 1-0 by Greek outfit Olympiacos last night at the Emirates Stadium, but progressed to the last-eight 3-2 on aggregate.
Arsenal had won the first-leg in Athens 3-1 last week, meaning they could afford to lose by a solitary goal last night, even though it left Mikel Arteta – the Gunners boss – disappointed with his side’s performance.
Striker Youssef El-Arabi netted the only goal of the game six minutes into the second half to give Olympiacos hope of staging a comeback but they fell short, meaning they bowed out of the competition.
That means that Arsenal will now take part in this lunchtime’s draws for both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals alongside fellow Premier League giants Manchester United, who edged past Italian heavyweights AC Milan to progress to the last-eight.
Just like the draw for the last-16, there is no seeding involved, meaning the Gunners could be drawn against any of the other remaining seven clubs in the quarter-finals.
With that in mind, football.london has taken a close look at the best and worst case scenarios the Gunners could be presented with when the draw is conducted in Nyon this lunchtime.
Worst case scenario:
With Manchester United currently considered as the favourites to win the Europa League this season, Arsenal will most likely want to avoid them in the quarter-finals at all costs, bolstering their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
United got the better of Milan in the last-16, winning 2-1 on aggregate, thanks to Paul Pogba’s winner in the San Siro on Thursday evening.
Having delivered an assured performance against one of the biggest clubs left in the competition, United will fancy their chances of going all the way, especially when taking into account who they have in the attacking areas.
Should the tie be drawn, it would most probably get the neutral licking their lips at an all-English tie in Europe, though fans of Arsenal and United may not be so fond of it happening.
Having hammered Portuguese outfit Braga in the last-32 5-1 on aggregate, Italian giants Roma repeated the trick in the last-16, getting the better of Shakhtar Donetsk by the same scoreline.
The Serie A side won the first-leg 3-0 before travelling to Kiev on Thursday evening to score two away goals, ensuring they won 2-1 on the night.
With them having proved that they know their way to goal, they will fancy their chances against anybody in the last-eight, meaning it would be a very stern test for Arsenal if they were to be drawn against them.
In truth, facing Roma could be one of the most daunting prospects Arteta could wish for.
Best case scenario:
To have reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League proves to everyone that you have something about you as a team.
But Granada will most likely being targeted as a potential opponent for any of the other seven remaining teams in the competition as the Spanish club are unlikely to pose as big a threat to some of the more-fancied clubs.
After getting past Napoli, very impressively, in the last-32, Granada then dispatched of Norwegian minnows Molde in the last-16, winning the tie 3-2 on aggregate, which was also the same scoreline that saw them knock Napoli out of the competition.
Thus, with Granada having proven that they can give anyone a contest, they will fancy their chances of reaching the semi-finals. But Arsenal should have enough firepower to overcome if they are to face them.
In truth, Slavia Prague have probably been one of the Europa League’s surprise packages this season, making it all the way to the quarter-finals.
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After knocking Leicester City out of the competition in the last-32, the Czech Republic outfit got the better of Scottish giants Rangers in the last-16, winning 3-1 on aggregate over the two legs.
Having proven that they are capable of getting the better of a team like Leicester, who have impressed in the Premier League this season, shows their qualities.
However, Prague would probably be a better opponent for Arsenal than some of the others who they could face.