Europa League last-16: Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Rangers aiming for quarter-final spots
Arsenal vs Olympiakos (agg 3-1), kick-off 5.50pm
Arsenal suffered a scare in last week’s first leg when Youssef El Arabi, the man who dumped them out of the competition last year, pounced on a Dani Ceballos error to cancel out Martin Odegaard’s opener.
It appeared the Gunners were heading for an awkward second leg back at the Emirates Stadium but late strikes from Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny ensured they left Athens in control of the tie.
Confidence will be high among Mikel Arteta’s players for Thursday’s return leg following the 2-1 win over Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby, and the two-goal cushion may even tempt the manager to rotate his side and rest some of his key players.
Much of the pre-match focus is on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was left out of the team on Sunday due to disciplinary reasons. Arteta was coy on whether he would return against Olympiakos but insisted the situation had been resolved in a “really positive way”.
The Arsenal boss may be without Bukayo Saka, who was withdrawn with a hamstring problem against Tottenham, but otherwise, he has a full squad to call on.
Mikel Arteta: “It is a really important game for us. Nothing has been decided – there is still another 90 minutes at least to play for and we know it is going to be tough and everyone has to be ready.
“We have the opportunity to make changes, we have five substitutions, so we will decide the best team to try to beat them.”
Dinamo Zagreb vs Tottenham (agg 0-2), kick-off 5.50pm
After the disappointment of defeat in the north London derby at the Emirates Stadium, Tottenham will be hoping for another serene night in the Europa League when they face Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.
Jose Mourinho’s side eased to a 2-0 win in the first leg last week thanks to Harry Kane’s double, and after Sunday’s setback in the top-four race, they approach the return leg knowing the Europa League represents their best route back into the Champions League.
Kane will be expected to lead the line again, but Tottenham will be without Heung-Min Son, who limped off during the first half of the defeat to Arsenal, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who is suspended.
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Tottenham should still have more than enough quality to avoid a scare against Dinamo Zagreb, and a return to winning ways would certainly lift the mood ahead of Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa.
Jose Mourinho: “I believe in the first match, without playing wonderfully well, we were quite solid, we dominated the game, we had the game under control, we showed ambition in the second part of the second half to score more goals to kill it, but we didn’t.
“So, the reality is that it’s open, and by being open, we have to be very serious in our approach.”
AC Milan vs Manchester United (agg 1-1), kick-off 8pm
How costly could Simon Kjaer’s last-gasp equaliser at Old Trafford prove for Manchester United? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were on the brink of victory in last week’s first leg, albeit one they scarcely deserved, but Kjaer’s header changed the complexion of the tie.
The away goal gives Milan the advantage and Stefano Pioli’s side are further boosted by the availability of former United man Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed the first leg, as well as Hakan Calhanoglu and Theo Hernandez.
Manchester United have more options themselves, with Paul Pogba available for the first time since February 6 having overcome a thigh complaint and Donny van de Beek and David de Gea also in contention, but the trip to the San Siro is a serious test.
Milan have lost ground in the Serie A title race lately and suffered a 1-0 loss at home to Napoli on Sunday, but they have won four of their last five home matches against Manchester United, while United have been eliminated from six of their last eight European ties in which they have failed to win the first leg.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “I think the two teams will be better. It seems like players are going to be back, so hopefully it will be a better game as we felt we didn’t hit our top level against them.
“We need more intensity and more quality and, hopefully, we can put that on.”
Rangers vs Slavia Prague (agg 1-1), kick-off 8pm
Rangers have already clinched the Scottish Premiership title and now their focus is firmly on extending their European adventure.
Steven Gerrard’s side have the advantage in this tie after Filip Helander’s equaliser ensured they left the Czech capital with a potentially vital away goal and a draw.
They will be without Ryan Jack for the return leg at Ibrox after he failed to overcome a calf complaint, while James Tavernier and Nikola Katic remain out and Jermain Defoe has not been included in their European squad.
The omens are good for Rangers, however, given they have progressed from seven of their last eight knockout ties after avoiding defeat in the first leg. They have also only lost one of their last 23 home matches in European competition.
They will be wary of Slavia Prague, however, given they beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power Stadium after a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their last-32 tie.
Steven Gerrard: “I think we have to handle the ball and have to show we are Rangers, we are a good team, a strong team at home and really play with belief and confidence.
“I want Slavia to really feel us, I want us to be aggressive but at the same time we have to show we are a good team and we have good players that can handle the ball at this level.”
How to follow
Follow Arsenal vs Olympiakos, Dinamo Zagreb vs Tottenham, AC Milan vs Man Utd and Rangers vs Slavia Prague with our dedicated live blogs across Sky Sports’ digital platforms on Thursday night.
The rest of the last-16 ties
Molde vs Granada (agg 0-2), kick-off 5.50pm
Shakhtar Donetsk vs AS Roma (agg 0-3), kick-off 5.50pm
Villarreal vs Dynamo Kiev (agg 2-0), kick-off 8pm
Young Boys vs Ajax (agg 0-3), kick-off 8pm
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