United Can Add to Roma’s Woes

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Manchester United and Arsenal will both be aiming for positive results in the first legs of their Europa League semi-finals on Thursday night.

AS Roma player Mancini gestures angrily to teammates

Manchester United welcome Roma to Old Trafford on Thursday evening as the two sides meet in the semi-final of the Europa League.

The Red Devils beat Granada to reach this stage of the competition, and they will be eager to make a big statement ahead of the return leg in Rome.

In Thursday’s other semi-final, Villarreal entertain Arsenal in what could be a close game in Spain.

United’s Form too Hard to Ignore

Two giants of European football clash at Old Trafford, but the formbook suggests it could be a routine victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

United may have lost all four semi-finals they have played in under the former striker, but they have what it takes to reach this year’s Europa League final and should be confident of securing a solid first-leg lead.

The Red Devils have only lost two of their previous 25 matches in all competitions, and they have not tasted defeat in 10 at home.

Solskjaer’s men have also won four in a row at home, but they have only kept four clean sheets in their last nine at Old Trafford.

Therefore, a home win and both teams to score appeals at odds of 2/1, with Roma scoring in seven consecutive matches. Paulo Fonseca’s side have netted two or more in four of their previous five, and over 2.5 goals at 5/7 also catches the eye.

Returning Duo to Inspire Arsenal

Arsenal travel to Spain to tackle Villarreal, where they will come up against former boss Unai Emery.

Emery is the master of winning the Europa League, having won the title more than any other manager, with three success stories so far, all while in charge of Sevilla.

While Villarreal have the ability to score on home soil, Arsenal will welcome back Alexandre Lacazette and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Lacazette has shaken off a hamstring injury to feature, while Aubameyang has recovered after contracting malaria while on international duty with Gabon.

While Arsenal’s league form has been patchy, their performances in the Europa League have been impressive. Mikel Arteta’s side have only lost once in the competition this season, with Olympiakos getting the better of them in March.

Arsenal are unbeaten on their travels in the Europa League this season, with the Gunners winning six of their seven contests on the road.

That bodes well for their trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica, where the Yellow Submarine have lost two of their previous three on home soil.

Villarreal have delivered in front of goal, though, of late, scoring eight in five at home and an away win and both teams to score looks a great price at 17/4.

Punters may also want to consider backing Nicolas Pepe in the anytime goalscorer market, with the Ivory Coast international scoring in his previous two matches in Europe.

He is 5/2 to net inside 90 minutes, while the former Lille ace can be backed at 13/2 to score first.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.

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