English teams looking to avoid upsets in Europe this week

By Soccer Blog | Mar 14, 2023

It has been a season of upsets in the Premier League – the defending champions Manchester City find themselves second-best in a title race dominated by a resurgent Arsenal who had finished 24 points behind City last season.

Manchester United recently lost 7-0 to Liverpool in a record-breaking defeat – and yet United are still favourites for third place while Liverpool are eight points behind and struggling to qualify for the Champions League.

And then there is Chelsea in tenth place – floundering outside of the European spots after spending over £200 million in two transfer windows, with their only hope an improbable Champions League win. They are however through to the quarter finals and will find out their opponents on Friday.

This week, five Premier League clubs will switch their attention to Europe with places in the quarter-finals of their respective competitions up for grabs. Whether you were busy playing at Ignition or were looking forward to the upcoming football games, now it’s time to look at the European sports challenges.

Liverpool’s dismal 5-2 home defeat against Real Madrid in their first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie has left them with a mountain to climb in the reverse fixture.

The other four teams should all progress to the last-eight, although they would be well-advised not to underestimate the threat posed by their opponents.

With Chelsea already in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, a victory for Manchester City over RB Leipzig would give the Premier League two teams in the last eight.

Second Leg

Manchester United and Arsenal are also well-placed to make progress in the Europa League, while West Ham United will fancy their chances of going through in the Europa Conference League.

However, nothing can be taken for granted in football, which is why each of the English teams must produce their best form if they want to make further progress. With that in mind, we take a closer look at what’s on the agenda for English teams in Europe this week, starting with the top-tier competition.

Champions League

Manchester City has an excellent chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League after securing a 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig in their first meeting. Leipzig previously visited the Etihad Stadium during the 2021/22 group stage and caused City plenty of problems before the home side pulled away late in the game.

City triumphed 6-3 on that occasion and will be confident of recording another victory to book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition. They dominated the first leg in Germany, going ahead in the first half through Riyad Mahrez before being pegged back by Josko Gvardiol’s header after the break.

Leipzig will undoubtedly have their work cut out against City, who have won 21 & drawn two of their last 23 home fixtures in the Champions League. Elsewhere, Liverpool faces an impossible task against Madrid, and their interest in the competition should be over at the end of Wednesday’s game.

Europa League

England’s two Europa League representatives are on course to reach the quarter-finals after recording excellent results in the first leg of their respective last-16 ties. Manchester United was pushed hard in the first half of their game against Real Betis but eventually romped away to an impressive 4-1 victory (see shots map)

xG Manchester United vs Real Betis 2023 Europa League

While Betis went unbeaten at home during the group stage, it is difficult to imagine the Red Devils slipping up in this contest. Arsenal is also a big favorite to progress to the last eight after claiming a 2-2 draw at Sporting Lisbon in their first meeting.

The Gunners were hugely impressive in their league at Fulham over the weekend, but must be wary of taking the Portuguese side too lightly. Sporting drew at Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League group stage & could make things difficult for Arsenal if they are not at their best.

Europa Conference League

The Europa Conference League has been a welcome distraction for West Ham United this season and it would be a major shock if they failed to reach the quarter-finals. The Hammers won six out of six in the group stage to book their place in the last-16 of UEFA’s third-tier competition.

David Moyes’ side claimed a 2-0 victory at AEK Larnaca in their first meeting and looks like a good bet to complete the job at the London Stadium. A first-half double from Michail Antonio put West Ham in control of the tie against a Cypriot side that had never previously reached the last-16 of any European competition.

However, they had 14 corners in the first leg and could have caused West Ham more problems had they shown more composure in attacking areas. West Ham has more than enough quality to sweep Lanarca aside, but an early goal for the away team could set their nerves jangling.

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