On Balance, Arsenal should be OK in the Europa League

Arsenal should be OK in the Europa League
LEIPZIG, GERMANY - APRIL 05: Ibrahima Konate (L) of RB Leipzig vies with Kostas Mitroglou (R) of Olympique Marseille during the UEFA Europa League quarter final leg one match between RB Leipzig and Olympique Marseille at the Red Bull Arena on April 5, 2018 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images) *** Local caption *** Ibrahima Konate; Kostas Mitroglou

It is possible Arsenal will play either RB Leipzig or Olympique Marseille in the semi-finals of the Europa League. That is, assuming they can dispatch CSKA Moscow in the quarterfinals. Marseille and Leipzig met in the RB Arena on April 5th. The first leg resulted in a 1-0 win for the home side. Though neither looked like Cup winners they both have threats for Arsene Wenger to consider. On balance, Arsenal should be OK in the Europa League.

Reasons to Worry – About RB Leipzig

Take the Germans and firstly you see a capable side, particularly on the break. Watch Swede Emil Forsberg threading passes through to the pacy Timo Werner. Who breaks fast and is able to get off shots with either foot. As he showed in scoring the winning goal against OM. Forsberg himself is also a set play specialist. But their star is Naby Keita who is destined for Liverpool in the summer. Though not the biggest, Keita looks smooth, with good control, a wide range of passing and an ability to surge past defenders. Defensively, RBL can absorb some pressure and have a goalkeeper in Peter Gulacsi who made three fine saves in the above game.

Reasons to Worry – About Marseille

The French side are third in Ligue 1 behind PSG and Monaco. Marseille fans served a ban in the first leg against Leipzig due to past indiscretions. At the Velodrome, however, they will bring their usual vociferous support. That would represent a factor if the Londoners did face them. On the field, their main focus is captain Dimitri Payet. He would be well known to Arsenal having played for West Ham. However, in the RBL game, more threats tended to come from out wide. Where Argentine Lucas Ocampos and Guinean Bouna Sarr caught the eye. Sarr hit the post and Ocampos missed a good second half chance. However, Marseille looked weaker in the centre as Kostas Mitroglou, apart from one early chance, was ineffective.

Arsenal Should be OK in the Europa League

The RBL v OM tie is well balanced, though the Germans would be marginal favourites. They offer more threats while Marseille might have to rely on an intimidating home crowd. Should Arsenal draw either opponent in the semifinal, they would likely not show fear. But there are threats to consider.

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