Just 24 hours on from the confirmation there would be two English sides in the final four of the Champions League, there’ll now also be two English sides in the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Both Manchester United and Arsenal progressed through to the next round of Europe’s secondary competition following impressive wins over Granada and Slavia Prague respectively.
Before the games had even kicked off the drama had begun as Slavia refused to take the knee – in the same week their teammate Ondrej Kudela was banned for ten matches for racially abusing Glen Kamara. You can probably tell what Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette thought of the decision…
Manchester United already had one foot in the semi-final as they kicked off at Old Trafford following their 2-0 win in Spain last week, and it took just six minutes for any Granada hope of an emphatic comeback to be extinguished.
Over in Prague, Emile Smith Rowe’s early disallowed goal for a marginal offside decision will have had Arsenal fans all over the world looking at each other with fear in their eyes, as if to say, ‘oh no, it’s not one of those nights is it’.
They shouldn’t have had any such worries, as Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring just minutes after Smith Rowe had been denied.
Right, exactly the start Arsenal needed, but the tie was still hanging in the balance and it was going to take a really rigid, disciplined display to ensure their semi-final place was in the bag.
Arsenal’s frontline had other ideas…
If the gunners were anticipating a second-half fightback from the home side as they desperately tried to claw their way back into the contest, then they were in for a big surprise.
Slavia offered very little going forward – despite needing four goals if they were to progress – and Arsenal took complete control of the game before Lacazette put the cherry on top of a professional display out on in Prague.
With United polishing off their tie after a late own goal put them 4-0 ahead on aggregate, thoughts soon turned to the semi-final ties and beyond…