Europa League Quarter Finals Preview

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The 2011-12 Europa League has been one of the most exciting and certainly the most widely watched version in recent years. Big spending  Manchester City have been knocked out by a disciplined and hard-working Sporting and the other “big” team in the competition,Manchester United were given a footballing lesson by Athletic. Out of the remaining teams,I favor Athletic with Bielsa at helm to lift the trophy on the 9th of May. To know who the Bookmakers favor,check Europa League Odds.

Schalke 04 Vs Athletic Bilbao



According to WhoScored.Com,Huntelaar has been the best player so far in this year’s Europa League followed by teenage sensation Iker Muniain. Athletic under Bielsa have been exciting to watch,they gave Manchester United a footballing lesson over the two legs. Athletic certainly are the better team technically ,but in Huntelaar and Raul,Schalke have two players who can cause them problems. Javi Martinez has been playing as a center back and is one of many changes which Bielsa as made after becoming Athletic’s manager.As Llorente’s goal against Manchester United showed,they are a flexible side who are comfortable both with the ball at their feet or in the air. Schalke need to be defensively solid and certainly have to show more energy and desire than the English Champions to progress.

Sporting Vs Metalist


Sporting survived a disastrous second half against Manchester City to progress on away goals. They must consider themselves to be favorites to beat the surprise package Metalist Kharkhiv. Ricky  van Wolfswinkel who has been attracting a lot of attention from the Premier League,certainly has a chance to show his ability on the big stage. Metalist Kharkhiv who beat Olympiakos on away goals have a chance to qualify for their first Semi-Finals of any European Competition. They were excellent in the initial stages of the competition but needed away goals to beat the Greek side.

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AZ Alkmaar Vs Valencia


Unai Emery has done a wonderful job at Valencia,although many of the fans who frequent the Mestalla may disagree with me. In Soldado they have one of the best strikers in Europe,sadly the talented Banega wil not play any part due to a freak accident. AZ Alkmaar on the other hand are sitting on top of the Eredivisie,but with just 2 points separating 1st from 4th,they have a long way to go. This situation may be a big distraction for Alkmaar,where as Valencia are sitting comfortably in 3rd position with a 3 points gap between them and Levante in fourth.

Atletico Madrid Vs Hannover 96


Atletico have enjoyed a upturn of form under Simeone and in Falcao(Atletico’s own “He scores when he wants”) they have someone who enjoys playing in the Europa League and who certainly has the experience in the competition. Their league situation is not very good,they have little hope of making it into the Champions League spots,but a good run will see them into the Europa League for next year.

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Statistics for WhoScored.Com

As you can see,Hannover struggle against technical teams,cant keep possession and mostly score from outside the box and dead ball situation. So in short they are the “Stoke City” among the remaining teams in the Europa League,but one of their weakness is winning aerial duels,so they are Stoke minus their strengths.  They need to do well at the Vicente Calderon and get a away goal,as one doesn’t expect them to keep a clean sheet at home against the likes of Falcao.

Predictions-


Athletic
Metalist
Valencia
Atletico Madrid

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