The odds of second-leg comebacks in the Europa League semifinals are decidedly different, to put it mildly.
Arsenal trails Villarreal 2-1 after 90 minutes, but its away goal means 1-0 or a two-goal win would do the trick at the Emirates Stadium
AS Roma has the comfort of a pair of away goals in its corner as it returns to Italy but the six it gave Manchester United certainly make their task a challenge.
Manchester United will be facing some nerves due to its semifinal stage failure in several tournaments under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, not to mention Roma has had some stunning second legs in the past.
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“Roma are one of the teams that have really caused upsets and shockwaves in second legs,” Solskjaer said. “In fact, three years ago, when they came back against Barcelona. So we know what they’re capable of. But our focus is to go and win the game. We want to improve as a team and develop as a team and handle difficult situations, and the goal is to win the game of football and, if we do that, then we’ve done a good job.”
United is also playing its first match since protestors at Old Trafford cause the postponement of their Premier League match with Liverpool last week. The announced reschedule date means this match is the first of four in eight days for Solskjaer’s men.
Aubameyang back from malaria in ‘maybe the biggest game of my Arsenal career’
As for Arsenal, there’s work to do in the second leg against former boss Unai Emery.
The Gunners pulled back a goal in Spain after going down 2-0 when Nicolas Pepe converted a penalty, but Dani Ceballos’ sending-off means Arsenal’s midfield will have to go a different route.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be in focus, that’s for sure. He was a killer against Stade Rennais and Valencia in the 2018-19 UEL knockout rounds, but came up empty in the final. He was the reason Arsenal beat Man City and Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup title run
“Definitely this season is the most important game and we know that we have to win this game,” Aubameyang said. “It is a big opportunity for us to get to the final, we play at home and this is maybe the biggest game of my Arsenal career.”
Aubameyang is just back from a scary time with malaria, which cost him nearly 10 pounds of body weight.