Europa dreams in balance

This week’s Europa League action is critical for both English teams.

Everton travel to Lyon knowing that defeat will dump them out of Europe with two matches remaining.

Arsenal then hosts Red Star Belgrade at the Emirates Stadium. Victory and the Gunners will be through to the last 32 stage. 


Lyon vs Everton (6:00pm)

Everton are missing four key players in Lyon as they face a huge battle to extend their qualification hopes. 

Their defence is the biggest concern with Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane all staying at home injured. 

Academy defender, Morgan Feeney could make his first team debut, having travelled with the squad. 


Everton prepare for Lyon
Morgan Feeney (centre) trains with squad ahead of trip to Lyon


Striker, Wayne Rooney is also out as David Urnsworth rests him ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game against Watford. 

Lyon however will be a tough test for a team that have lost their last three domestic matches.

The French side have just one of their last five home games in this competition, although its been 50 years since they last beat an English team at home. 

Since then, six of their home games against British clubs have ended in draws whilst they lost one other.

Now with so much at stake, Everton need to come out and show fight. If they do that, they should win this but if not then it would be a fourth straight defeat. 

Prediction: Lyon 1-2 Everton

Result: Lyon 3-0 Everton (Everton are OUT!!!)


Arsenal vs Red Star Belgrade (8:05pm)

Arsenal know that they can get Group H wrapped up with victory and secure their place beyond Christmas in Europe. 

The omens are positive because in this secondary competition, Arsenal have avoided home defeats under Arsene Wenger. 


Arsenal Training and Press Conference
Arsenal players training for the match.


Interestingly the last time that Arsenal won their opening four games in a group stage, they went on to reach the final (2005-06 Champions League).

Red Star Belgrade are however this season’s worst side when it comes to discipline in Europa League. 

The Serbian side have racked up 10 cards including a red last time out so expect a fiery display here.

Ultimately, I am expecting Arsenal to get the job done here comfortably. 

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Red Star Belgrade

Result: Arsenal 0-0 Red Star Belgrade


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