Europa League semi-finals preview 2018 | inside World Soccer

Europa League semi-finals preview 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

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The Europa League reaches the semi-final stage on Thursday with four sides targeting a place in the final in Lyon on May 16.

French side Marseille will face Red Bull Salzburg, while Arsenal go head-to head with tournament favorites Atletico Madrid.

Both ties will be played over two legs, with the aggregate winners in each progressing to the final.

Read on as we preview the two semi-final ties.

Marseille vs Red Bull Salzburg

Neither club was expected to reach the last four in the Europa League, but both have progressed to this stage of the tournament on merit.

The two sides were drawn against each other in the first stage of the competition, with Salzburg picking up four points from two games against Marseille in Group I.

Despite those results the French side are priced at 4/7 with bet365 to qualify for the final, with Salzburg available at 5/4.

Marseille have defeated Braga, Athletic Bilbao and RB Leipzig to reach the last four, while Salzburg have seen off Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio.

The Ligue 1 club came from 1-0 down after the first leg of their quarter-final to beat Leipzig 5-2 at home despite conceding an early goal.

Their home form in the Europa League has been impressive, with seven wins and a draw out of eight matches.

Salzburg stormed to a 4-1 second-leg win over Lazio, scoring four times in the second half after they had lost the first encounter 4-2 in Rome – their first European defeat in 20 matches.

Arsenal vs Atletico Madrid

Arsenal will hope to give outgoing manager Arsene Wenger the perfect send-off with success in the Europa League.

Madrid will undoubtedly be a tough side to beat over the two games, but the competition is the Gunners' last chance of silverware this season and offers the club a route into the prestigious Champions League if they can win the trophy.

The Premier League side can be backed at 13/8 to reach the final, while Atletico are on offer at 4/9.

Arsenal finished top of Group H in the first stage and have gone on to beat FK Ostersunds, AC Milan and CSKA Moscow in the knockout rounds.

Atletico entered the Europa League at the round of 32 having finished third in their Champions League group behind Roma and Chelsea.

They subsequently went on to beat FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Mosco and Sporting Lisbon on their way to the last four and are Evens favourites to win the tournament outright.

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