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Europa League preview: Arsenal, Chelsea nurse advantages

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Only one of four Europa League quarterfinals sees two clubs within a goal of each other after 90 minutes, and that’s heavily-favored Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat of Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic.

So while it’s possible that the Czech side rebounds to take care of the Blues at Stamford Bridge, it’s rational to say that tie might be the least in the balance.

[ UCL RECAPS: Man City-Spurs | Porto-Liverpool ]

Olivier Giroud says Chelsea will not be overlooking the Red and Whites, if only because of the challenge presented in the first leg.

“We were very impressed by their quality and intensity,” Giroud said, from Chelsea.com. “You get used to it in the Premier League, but honestly the first half was very tough. They put a lot of pressure on us, good pressing all over the pitch, so it was a very tough. … So we know what kind of team we will face tomorrow. They are not going to give up, and that’s why we are still cautious about this game.”

Arsenal leads its tie 2-0 after the London-hosted first leg but faces a Napoli team quite capable of putting up goals in bunches.

Napoli averages almost two goals a match in Serie A this season, but Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos says the Gunners can get the job done in Italy.

“I know my team,” he said via Arsenal.com. “I know that we are a team who play very good football. Every game we fight for the best. From the beginning we’ve improved a lot. Now we’re in the last steps of the Premier League and Europa League, and we want to win as much as we can. This is one more final and we’ll be ready to take this.”

Eintracht Frankfurt bagged four away goals and a two-goal advantage in Portugal, leaving Benfica in likely need of a three goals or better win, while Valencia scored three times at Villarreal to bring a two-goal advantage home.

Kickoff for all four second legs is 3 p.m. ET

ICYMI: Everything from Premier League matchweek 31 (video)

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Five Premier League games took place during Matchweek 31, with the FA Cup quarterfinals seeing five games postponed.

But in the five games we had, boy, was there drama.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Below are recaps of all five games, while above you can watch every single goal scored on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Bournemouth 2-2 Newcastle – RECAP
  • Burnley 1-2 Leicester – RECAP
  • West Ham 4-3 Huddersfield – RECAP
  • Fulham 1-2 Liverpool – RECAP
  • Everton 2-0 Chelsea – RECAP

ICYMI, we have you covered.

CONCACAF Champions League: Houston advances; No miracle for TFC

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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One Major League Soccer team is out, and another has moved on following a day of CONCACAF Champions League second legs which included a lightning delay, frigid temperatures, and a frenetic end in Texas.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s PL match recaps ]


Toronto FC 1-1 (1-4 agg.) Independiente

There was a school of thought that Toronto FC could come back from its 4-0 deficit given the quality of its club, presuppositions about the Panamanian visitors, and the cold weather in Ontario.

And it was 1-0 at halftime through Jordan Hamilton, but Toronto, well, let’s just say Laurent Ciman is a much better player than this:

Houston Dynamo 2-1 (3-1 agg.) Guastatoya

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champs had to work for their spot in the quarterfinals, and they also had to wait.

Delayed more than two hours due to lightning in Texas, the Dynamo gave their 1-0 advantage back to the visitors via a 72nd minute Aaron Navarro goal.

But Mauro Manotas scored twice in eight minutes to push the Dynamo into the next round.

LIVE – League Cup QFs: Bristol City-Man United, Chelsea-Bournemouth

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After Manchester City and Arsenal sealed their spots in the League Cup semifinals on Tuesday, two more quarterfinal ties take place on Wednesday.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup QF scores ]

Holders Manchester United head to second-tier Bristol City who have already knocked out three Premier League teams in this competitions this season, while Chelsea host Bournemouth in an all-Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

Both United and Chelsea are expected to rest plenty of players for this last eighth clash, but Mourinho has always played strong teams in the League Cup as he’s won the competition four times in his career. The Robins will be hoping to cause a huge upset at Ashton Gate with Lee Johnson’s side battling for a playoff spot in England’s second-tier where they currently sit in third place.

Antonio Conte will given plenty of minutes to Chelsea’s youngsters at home, while Eddie Howe will rotate his Bournemouth squad with PL safety the priority for the Cherries.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have recaps and reaction on both games right here at Pro Soccer Talk.

LIVE – League Cup quarters: Arsenal v. West Ham, Leicester v. Man City

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The League Cup quarterfinals kick off on Tuesday with two all-Premier League games taking center stage.

Leicester City host Manchester City and West Ham head to Arsenal in a London derby.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup QF scores ]

All four teams are expected to rest key players, which could open the door for Leicester and West Ham to make the semifinals.

City last won the League Cup in the 2015-16 season, beating Liverpool on penalty kicks in the final, but this trophy is unlikely to be high on Pep Guardiola‘s wish list with Premier League and UEFA Champions League domination front and center.

Arsenal’s policy of playing their youngsters saw them reach the quarterfinal stage last season where they were dumped out of the competition by Southampton, a side then managed by Leicester boss Claude Puel. The Frenchman took Saints to the final last season and will fancy his chances of repeating that feat with his in-form Leicester side.

The Foxes won the trophy in 1997 and 2000, while West Ham have never won the competition and Arsenal last won this trophy in 1993.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have recaps and reaction on both games right here at Pro Soccer Talk.