Four teams with tradition and history, a covered, aspiring as the most, and three revelations, unsuspected applicants make up the poster of the quarterfinals of the Europa League that returns next Thursday.
Ajax, Arsenal, Manchester United and Roma They meet in the penultimate European round with Villarreal, as favorite as the rest, and Dinamo Zagreb, Slavia Prague and Granada, debutants in continental competitions and great surprise.
The pulse between English and Spanish football, the majority among the eight survivors, with two representatives each, stands out in the Europa League. In addition to Manchester and Arsenal and Granada and Villarreal, a Dutchman, Ajax, an Italian, Roma, a Croat, Dinamo Zagreb, and a Czech, Sparta Prague, aspire to the continental tournament.
Out of all of them, el Ajax, in 1992, and el UnitedIn 2017, you already know what it is to lift this trophy. Arsenal reached two finals, without success, and Roma in one.
The Andalusian club faces a huge challenge. One more challenge with the final in sight. Diego Martínez’s team is measured at Manchester United full of merits and trophies and looking like a favorite.
Granada welcomes Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side at Nuevo Los Cármenes, who left Real Sociedad and Milan on the road.
Champion in 2017 and with three Champions League titles that stand out in their history, the previous season they reached the semifinals surpassed by Sevilla.
Granada have reached the quarterfinals in their European debut that started from the second qualifying round. He left Napoli on the way in the round of 16.
Villarreal’s ambition is now with Dinamo Zagreb who surprised in the round of 16 by coming back at Tottenham. Unay Emery knows the competition by heart. Three titles won with Sevilla illustrate the history of the current coach of the Spanish team who aspires to enlarge with a different team.
The ‘yellow submarine’ that left Salzburg and Dinamo Kiev on the road is in the quarterfinals for the fourth time. He surpassed them in two, in 2010-2011 and in 2015-16. But the final resists him.
It is the first time that the Croatian team is among the eight best in the Europa League. The eighths had been the top of the table led by Mislav Orsic, author of the triplet that left Tottenham out.
The clash between Ajax and Roma is full of incentives. Two historic contenders for continental success to fuel their legend.
The Dutch team, a regular in the Champions League that has won four times, has already surpassed last season’s record when they fell in the round of 32 with Getafe. Champion in 1992 of the UEFA Cup, he runs into a rival on the rise that in 2020 reached the round of 16.
Runner-up in 1991, Paulo Fonseca’s team visits the Johan Cruyff Arena at the start of the apparently more balanced duel in the quarterfinals.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal intends consolidate your status as a favorite with Slavia Prague. The English representative, a finalist in 2000 and also two years ago, surpassed by Chelsea, clings to the Europa League as the straightest path to the Champions League, from which it has been absent in recent years.
The Slavia is another of the surprises of the quarterfinals. He left Leicester in the round of 32 and then Rangers and was once a semi-finalist, albeit in 1996.