AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Europa League roundup: Arsenal wins; Rangers, AC Milan bounced

Leave a comment

Twenty-four games in about four hours: It’s the Europa League group stage, and it’s reached its conclusion.

[ MORE: Mourinho: “Job done” in UCL ]

A very young Arsenal claimed its group, Celtic bunkered down but couldn’t advance to the knockout rounds, and rivals Rangers couldn’t quite find the offense needed to complete a promising UEL campaign.


Rapid Vienna 1-0 Rangers

Steven Gerrard‘s promising first European campaign as first team manager has ended thanks to a goal from sub Dejan Ljubicic in Austria. A very even game, Rangers could not find a way past Richard Strebinger.

Arsenal 1-0 Qarabag

Alexandre Lacazette‘s 17th minute goal gave the Gunners a leg up on the group lead in a game with a bunch of unusual faces on the pitch. Carl Jenkinson, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, and Saka Bukayo were among the starters, and Lacazette left for Zech Medley in the 63rd minute as Arsenal saved its best for a trip to Southampton on Sunday (No offense to Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny, who went 90 minutes each).

MOL Vidi 2-2 Chelsea

We’ve already shown you Willian’s terrific free kick, and this match in Hungary was plenty entertaining for a relatively inconsequential outing. Ethan Ampadu scored an own goal two minutes after Chelsea took the lead, and MOL Vidi led 2-1 when Olivier Giroud restored the stalemate in the 75th.

Celtic 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg

The visitors dominated and finally found a way past goalkeeper Craig Gordon through a 67th Moanes Dabbur marker. Celtic went down two with Fredrik Gulbrandsen adding to the score line.

RB Leipzig 1-1 Rosenborg

Matheus Cunha’s goal just after halftime looked to have prodded RBL above Celtic and into the Round of 32, but Tore Reginiussen leveled for the Norwegian side.

Olympiacos 3-1 AC Milan

Gennaro Gattuso’s men are out of Europe after a four-goal second half.

Elsewhere
Villarreal 2-0 Spartak Moscow
Lazio 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Sevilla 3-0 Krasnodar
Marseille 1-3 Apollon Limassol
Rennes 2-0 Astana
PAOK 1-3 BATE Borisov
Genk 4-0 Sarpsborg
Dynamo Kiev 0-1 Jablonec
Besiktas 0-1 Malmo
Akhisar Belerdiyespor 0-0 Standard Liege
Slavia Prague 2-0 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Copenhagen 0-1 Bordeaux
Dinamo Zagreb 0-0 Anderlecht
Sporting Lisbon 3-0 Vorskla Poltava
F91 Dudelange 0-0 Real Betis
Ludogorets Razgrad 1-1 FC Zurich
AEK Larnaca 1-5 Bayer Leverkusen
Spartak Trnava 1-0 Fenerbahce

Gerrard proud despite Rangers exit from Europa League (video)

AP Photo/Ronald Zak
Leave a comment

Steven Gerrard‘s promising first European campaign as first team manager has ended thanks to a goal from sub Dejan Ljubicic in Austria.

A very even game, Rangers could not find a way past goalkeeper Richard Strebinger.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks ]

“In terms of the performance, I can’t fault the players,” Gerrard said to BT Sport. “They gave me everything. In what we had available, they’ve done extremely well. The whole journey, I’m so proud of the team.

“We’ll come again in Europe. Next year we’ll be better cause we’ll have some better players with us and the young lads in the group with learn and grow. We’ll be together for 18 months instead of six.

Gerrard says he wants Rangers to bring the same intensity back to the Scottish top flight, where the Glasgow side are two points back of rivals Celtic. Rangers have played one more game than Celtic.

Europa League preview: Scottish powers, AC Milan in focus

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Let’s be real: There are few top teams still working for their Europa League lives — and we’ll get to them — but there’s much more intrigue regarding the eight new teams set to join the competition after finishing third in their group at the Champions League.

[ MORE: Who can PL clubs draw in UCL? ]

Here are the new boys:

Club Brugge
Inter Milan
Napoli
Galatasaray
Benfica
Shakhtar Donetsk
Viktoria Plzen
Valencia

If we’re being honest, all but two have a legit chance to make a run to the final given the right draw (Club Brugge and Viktoria Plzen seem just a bridge too far here).

And, more importantly, we’ve got the chance for a Sarri Ball reunion special between Chelsea and Napoli, and a Milan Derby (should AC Milan handle its business on Thursday).

Next, here are the teams who’ve already clinched their spots in the UEL:

Bayer Leverkusen
Zurich
Red Bull Salzburg
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Dinamo Zagreb
Fenerbahce
Arsenal
Sporting Lisbon
Real Betis
Eintracht Frankfurt
Lazio
Dynamo Kyiv
Chelsea

And, finally, here are the matches that carry the most interest, aside from already-clinched Chelsea heading to MOL Vidi and Arsenal hosting last-place Qarabag:

Group B: Celtic vs. Red Bull Salzburg; RB Leipzig vs. Rosenborg

RBL has the tiebreaker should it beat Rosenborg, who hasn’t won, and Celtic fail to gain a point from RBS, who hasn’t lost. Will Brendan Rodgers be able to rally his men to a draw or better at home against the team that beat it 3-1 in Austria?

Group F: Olympiacos vs. AC Milan

Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan has a three-point edge on the Greeks for the group’s second spot in the knockout rounds, and took the home leg 3-1. That away goal means 2-0 would do the job for Olympiacos, but any one goal win wouldn’t be enough for the hosts.

Group G: Villarreal vs. Spartak Moscow; Rapid Vienna vs. Rangers

This group is nuts, with all four teams alive for the knockout rounds. Villarreal, however, can make it simple by drawing or beating Spartak. Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers also have a straight-forward angle, needing to topple Rapid Vienna.

LIVE, Europa League: Chelsea, Arsenal aim to clinch groups

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Both Arsenal and Chelsea are in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday, with the London clubs eager to wrap up their groups after already securing their place in the Round of 32.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

The Gunners know a victory against Vorskla Poltava in Ukraine (the game has been moved to Kiev due to security concerns) could see them clinch top spot ahead of their final game of Group E against FK Qarabag.

Unai Emery made plenty of changes to his starting lineup ahead of the North London derby on Sunday, with the game kicking off at 12:55 p.m. ET.

Chelsea host PAOK Salonika at Stamford Bridge at 3 p.m. ET, and Maurizio Sarri knows a point against the Greek side will secure top spot in Group L for the Blues.

Elsewhere in the Europa League, some tasty games see Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers host Villarreal as the Scottish giants aim to cause an upset, while Red Bull Salzburg host sister club RB Leipzig and Sevilla head to Standard Liege in a pivotal clash.

Click on the link above to follow all of the games on Thursday, while click below to check out the live group standings as the games take place.

[ MORE: Europa League standings

Europa League wrap: Rangers lose thriller, 7 sides advance

Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seven teams clinched spots in the knockout rounds as the fourth match day of the Europa League group stage played out around Europe.

[ MORE: Welbeck injured | Full standings ]

Premier League sides Arsenal and Chelsea are joined by Eintracht Frankfurt, Lazio, Dinamo Zagreb, Bayer Leverkusen, and FC Zurich as clubs to reach the next stage with two matches remaining in this one.

Spartak Moscow 4-3 Rangers

There was no quit from Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers against their desperate hosts, but despite leading 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2, the Glaswegian side allowed goals in the 58th and 59th minutes to sink from the top of Group G to third.

Rangers are a point behind Villarreal, who they host on Nov. 29, and one above last place Rapid Vienna. Spartak has five points and the tiebreaker on the Scottish side with two matches to play.

Celtic 2-1 RB Leipzig

Now this is a statement moment for the Scotland’s Premiership, as Brendan Rodgers‘ men overcame a late equalizer within a minute to earn a big three points against the Bundesliga visitors.

Kieran Tierney scored in the 11th minute, but Jean-Kevin Augustin quelled the excitement at Celtic Park in the 78th minute. Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard scored in the 78th to keep hopes of the knockout rounds alive.

Celtic next visits 0-4 Rosenborg before finishing at home to 4-0 Red Bull Salzburg, who may have nothing at stake.

Full results
Fenerbahce 2-0 Anderlecht
Astana 2-1 Jablonec
Lazio 2-1 Marseille
Malmo 1-1 Sarpsborg 08
Genk 1-1 Besiktas
Dynamo Kiev 3-1 Stade Rennes
Rapid Vienna 0-0 Villarreal
BATE Borisov 0-1 Chelsea — RECAP
MOL Vidi 1-0 PAOK
Apollon Limassol 2-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
Krasnodar 2-1 Standard Liege
Akhisar Belediyespor 2-3 Sevilla
Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 FC Zurich
Real Betis 1-1 AC Milan
Slavia Prague 0-0 Copenhagen
Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 Spartak Trnava
Rosenborg 2-5 Red Bull Salzburg
Vorskla Poltava 0-1 Qarabag
Arsenal 0-0 Sporting Lisbon — RECAP
Olympiacos 5-1 F91 Dudelange
Bordeaux 1-1 Zenit St. Petersburg
Ludogorets 0-0 AEK Larnaca