Europa League Second Leg Previews
Four English teams are in action as the last 16 of the Europa League looks set to be decided tonight – each in varying circumstances regarding their likelihood of progress.
February 21st, 2013
Chelsea brings home a 1-0 lead against Sparta Prague; with a crucial clash at Man City on Sunday, Frank Lampard won’t have the opportunity to score his 200th club goal tonight having been rested by manager Rafa Benitez – who despite the change has said that tonight’s second leg “will not be an easy game”.
Spurs are Defoeless as they visit the Stade de Gerland for their knockout match against Lyon today, having the benefit of a 2-1 lead despite the stunning away goal scored by Samuel Umtiti. Unbeaten in ten league matches and with the bonus of a rest weekend behind them (albeit one gained by earlier elimination from the FA Cup), look for Spurs to finish the job tonight.
Hanging firmly in the balance is a frustrated Newcastle side which couldn’t break down Metalist Kharkiv at home last week – with a notable miss and two disallowed goals from Papiss Cisse which could spell the difference between progress and elimination tonight. Hatem Ben Arfa will not be available despite making a full recovery from a hamstring injury which kept him out all through January. A 0-0 scoreline heading into the second leg means it’s a straight knockout game tonight – unless of course the Toon picks up an away goal or two in a score-draw.
And finally, the prime-time cameras will be at Anfield tonight as Liverpool look to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat at 2008 winners Zenit St. Petersburg. Manager Brendan Rodgers has called on fans to recreate “the legend of Liverpool” born on these classic European nights – such as the one where he witnessed Luis Garcia’s “ghost goal” from the Chelsea bench in that Champions League semi-final of 2005. Cup-ties and injuries mean that the Reds will be entirely dependent on Luis Suarez up front to make another memory – Liverpool need to score three and not concede; a tough ask of any striker.