Europa League Semi-Final Draw

Europa League semi-final draw
The UEFA Europa League Cup Trophy is displayed during the draw for the UEFA Europa League football group stage 2017/18, on August 25, 2017 in Monaco. / AFP PHOTO / VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The Europa League semi-final draw took place on Friday 13 April. The quarter-final stage saw four teams made redundant; CSKA Moscow, Sporting CP, Lazio and RB Leipzig. Now, the four remaining sides will square off on 26 April and 3 May, both Thursdays.

Arsenal will play against Atlético Madrid in one semi-final, while Marseille faces Salzburg in the other.

Europa League Semi-Final Draw

Arsenal v Atlético Madrid

Last season, Arsène Wenger failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in over two decades. The Gunners entered the Europa League at the group stage. As predicted, Arsenal won their group, although lost once to FC Köln in the process.

The North London outfit drew Swedish side Östersunds FK in the round of 32, winning on aggregate 4-2. Two strong displays against AC Milan followed, sending Arsenal through comfortably. A quarter-final win over CSKA Moscow followed, although the Gunners struggled at times during the second leg.

They will play at home in the first leg against Atlético Madrid, who entered the Europa League in the round of 32. The Spanish club failed to advance from the Champions League in a group also featuring Chelsea and Roma, winning just once in the process.

Los Rojiblancos drew FC København in the round of 32, beating them by an aggregate score of 5-1. Two legs against Lokomotiv Moscow came next, with the Spanish side coming out 8-1 winners. Sporting CP couldn’t stop Atlético Madrid either, losing on 2-1 on aggregate despite winning the second leg.

What the Stats Say

Arsenal have accrued more goals, 29, attempts, 173, and attempts on target, 75, than any other club in the Europa League this year. Their 88% pass completion rate is the highest among the sides in the Europa League semi-final draw, and the Gunners have also both attempted and completed more passes than anyone else. They’ve shipped ten goals and average 14.42 shots per 90 minutes.

The Spanish club has scored 15 goals in their six Europa League matches this year, while they have conceded just three. Atléti average 13.17 shots per match with a pass completion rate of 87%.

Arsène Wenger’s men may have cause to be concerned by the results of the draw. Atlético Madrid average more goals scored (2.5 vs 2.42) and fewer goals allowed (.5 v .83) during their time in the Europa League compared to Arsenal.

No doubt whoever advances from this semi-final will consider themselves favourites.

Marseille v Salzburg

Olympique de Marseille entered the Europa League at the third qualifying round, beating Belgian side Oostende. The French club had to then beat Slovenia’s Domzale to qualify for the group stage.

Marseille finished second in Group I, behind Red Bull Salzburg. The Austrian champions won the first meeting between the two at home, but the French club managed a scoreless draw in the return fixture.

Olympique de Marseille had to battle through Portuguese club Braga and Spanish side Atletic Bilbao to reach the quarter-final stage. After losing the first leg to RB Leipzig in Germany, Marseille managed to win 5-2 in the home leg to advance.

They play the first leg at home against FC Red Bull Salzburg, who crashed out of Champions League qualification last summer. The Austrian champions salvaged the Europa League by defeating Romanian side FC Viitorul, entering Group I.

Salzburg met Marseille twice en route to winning their group, winning once and drawing the next. Die Roten Bullen met Real Sociedad in the round of 32, narrowly winning 2-1 before drawing Borussia Dortmund in the next phase. The two legs also produced a 2-1 aggregate scoreline in favour of Salzburg.

The quarter-final draw presented Lazio as the next opponents, with a torrent of goals the result. The tie ended 6-5, with both clubs scoring four at home. However, Salzburg scored two in Italy, while Lazio managed just one in Austria to go through.

What the Stats Say

Marseille has seen three red cards already in the tournament, more than any other side. Their 22 yellows are second-most among the remaining sides and the French side has drawn more fouls, 139, than any remaining club.

Olympique de Marseille have also missed the net more times, 78, than any other club in this season’s competition. They have scored 17 goals and allowed nine.

Salzburg has committed 205 fouls in the tournament so far, more than any other team. They have also received more yellow cards, 26, than any other club, however, they have yet to lose a player to red.

Red Bull Salzburg have the worst pass completion rate, 80%, of the clubs in the Europa League semi-final draw. The Austrian side has scored 19 goals and allowed ten.

These two sides are well matched, however, their two previous meetings in the group stage shed some light on who may advance. Salzburg took the home fixture 2-1, while held Marseille to a draw in France.

The Austrians have scored more goals (19 vs 17), although have allowed one more (10 vs 9) as well. Meanwhile, their French counterparts have a higher passing completion average (84% vs 80%). There should also be cards aplenty, with two ill-disciplined teams matching up.

All statistics courtesy of the UEFA Europa League

Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

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