Thursday night football is great fun if you’re an NFL fan, but when it comes to European soccer, that isn’t quite the case. Of course, some teams are thrilled to be competing in a competition as prestigious as the Europa League, but others take a more stubborn approach and turn their noses up at it in favour of the Champions League.
We can understand the logic in that to a certain extent, but either way, there’s no denying the fact that there are some entertaining games that go on in the EUL from time to time.
One section of the world that has a particularly invested interest in the competition is the United Kingdom, with five teams from England and Scotland competing with the hope of making it past the group stage and into the knockouts.
Manchester United may have been able to squeak past Astana in their opening game of the group, but a 0-0 draw against AZ Alkmaar last night proved what a lot of fans have been saying for a while now: they just aren’t good enough from an attacking point of view.
FK Partizan are next up, in another game that will hardly fill them with confidence.
Arsenal know what it takes to win in this competition, and they did so convincingly yet again last night as they strolled towards a triumph over Standard Liege. They won 4-0, with the result never really being in doubt.
They will face back to back games against Vitoria SC next, which should ensure their passage into the knockouts.
Remaining calm and composed seemed to be the order of the day for Celtic, who faced a rematch with Cluj – the team that knocked them out of the Champions League earlier on this summer. A goal in either half ensured that they’d be walking away with all three points which, in truth, they always should’ve been looking to secure.
Their next two games are almost certainly going to be a little bit trickier, as they go head to head with Italian giants Lazio.
Rangers fans would’ve felt a certain degree of confidence heading into their tie against Young Boys, mainly due to how they started their group stage campaign. In the end, though, the Scottish giants were undone and lost 2-1 in Switzerland.
Back to back fixtures against Porto await, in what is rapidly turning out to be the group of death in this year’s competition.
It was the kind of night that Wolves fans had been dreaming of in Istanbul, as they were able to snatch a late winner against Besiktas to get their group stage campaign up and running. It was a fairly poor game for the most part but Wolves really started to come into their own in the last 15-20 minutes, with Willy Boly’s tidy finish serving as the cherry on top for Nuno’s men.
They’ll head to Slovan Bratislava next and while the Slovakian side have done well in their first two games, there’s no reason for them to believe that they can’t get the job done once again.