Arsenal have a great opportunity to win the Europa League this season

Arsenal put one foot in the semi-finals of the Europa League after thrashing CSKA Moscow 4-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final clash at the Emirates.

Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette grabbed respective braces in Thursday’s win and Arsene Wenger’s side have a genuine chance of going all the way.

Arsenal’s Europa League campaign this season

  • 14/9/17 (Group H) Arsenal 3-1 FC Koln
  • 28/9/17 (Group H) BATE Borisov 2-4 Arsenal
  • 19/10/17 (Group H) Red Star 0-1 Arsenal
  • 2/11/17 (Group H) Arsenal 0-0 Red Star
  • 23/11/17 (Group H) FC Koln 1-0 Arsenal
  • 7/12/17 (Group H) Arsenal 6-0 BATE Borisov
  • 15/2/18 (Last-32) FK Ostersund 0-3 Arsenal
  • 22/2/18 (Last-32) Arsenal 1-2 FK Ostersund
  • 8/3/18 (Last-16) AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal
  • 15/3/18 (Last-16) Arsenal 3-1 AC Milan
  • 5/4/18 (Qtr-finals) Arsenal 4-1 CSKA Moscow

Barring an upset in the second leg, Arsenal should book their place in the semis next week and may fancy their chances of reaching the final given the calibre of sides left in the competition.

Europa League quarter-final results

Thursday, Apr 5, 2018

  • RasenBallsport Leipzig 1-0 Olympique Marseille
  • Arsenal 4-1 CSKA Moscow
  • Atletico Madrid 2-0 Sporting CP
  • Lazio 4-2 Red Bull Salzburg

Arsene Wenger’s men will likely only fear Atletico Madrid from the list of clubs left in the competition, as they boast a 100% record from their five Europa League encounters this season and have conceded just two goals.

Arsenal can beat the rest of the competition

RB Leipzig are only fourth in the German Bundesliga this season and have been unconvincing in Europe too, suffering three defeats from five in the Champions League group stage while failing to win two of their previous four in the Europa League. They should be no match for Arsenal if the two sides locked horns in the semi-finals.

As for Olympique Marseille, the Ligue 1 outfit have lost two of their last four games in the competition, conceding in every outing. Bilbao are the only side they’ve beaten in the Europa League, a side 13th in La Liga, so hardly an indication they are to be feared by the Gunners. Wenger would fancy his chances against the French club.

Sporting CP look set to be eliminated by Atleti, but if they progressed it would be hard to see them going any further given how much they’ve struggled. The Portuguese Primeira Liga side have lost two and drawn one of their last four games in the Europa League, only beating minnows Viktoria Plzen.

Lazio boast a 4-2 lead over Salzburg in the first leg of the quarter-finals but have won just three of their last seven games in the Europa League, so Arsenal would be favourites going up against them. Lazio are currently outside of the Serie A top-four this season too.

As for Salzburg, they’ve managed just two wins from their last six in the Europa League and look destined to be eliminated by Lazio after their hammering in the first leg. Arsenal would likely pick them to be their semi-final opposition if they had the choice.

Nevertheless, nearly every side left in the Europa League have a weakness. Aside from Diego Simeone’s strong Atletico Madrid outfit, RB Leipzig, Olympique Marseille, Sporting CP, Lazio and Salzburg are not on the same level as the Gunners this season.

With players like Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at their disposal, Wenger’s men should go all the way.

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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