Three Premier League teams are in action in the Europa League this week, while Celtic have an early opportunity to wreak some revenge in Glasgow. Here are our Things to look out for in the Europa League on Matchday Two.
Arsenal’s injured defenders to get more minutes
Arsenal’s Europa League campaign began in ideal fashion a fortnight ago with a comprehensive win at Eintracht Frankfurt in which, theoretically, was their hardest fixture in the group. They welcome Standard Liege to the Emirates on Matchday Two, where fans will be hoping for another glimpse of defenders Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieren Tierney. The former duo have spent over eight months on the sidelines through injury, while summer signing Tierney arrived in north London following surgery on a hernia. All three featured in the Gunners’ EFL Cup game last week and could well be in the starting 11 following the international break. More minutes here would give fans something to cheer.
A low-scoring affair between AZ Alkmaar and Manchester United
Although it’s been under two months, it seems as though Manchester United’s 4-0 win against Chelsea was years ago. That was the only game this season in which the Red Devils managed to score more than once and only the second time it’s happened since March. Marcus Rashford made a much-needed return against Arsenal on Monday night but was not convincing, which will have worried manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of their trip to AZ Alkmaar. United lifted the trophy in their last Europa League campaign in 2016/17, when their final eight matches all featured two goals or fewer. It would take a wild change in form for it to be any different here.
Can Wolves follow their first league win with another in Europe?
Wolves picked up their first Premier League win of the season on Saturday as Watford were easily defeated at Molineux. They will be hoping to repeat the trick against Besiktas, who haven’t won any of their last five games in any competition. Defeat to Braga on Matchday One has already left Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in a perilous position, and a second loss would make progression to the knockout stages highly unlikely. Wolves built a reputation last season as a side able to disrupt the well-established top six – can they claim another timely scalp?
In form Dzeko to torment Wolfsberger
A season that started slowly for AS Roma has suddenly burst into life with four wins in five games across all competitions. Lecce were the latest team to fall on Sunday, thanks to a second-half header from Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian has been on the scoresheet in five of Roma’s seven games this term and there is little doubt that hopes will be pinned on him when the Italian side face Wolfsberger. AS Roma last competed in the tournament in 2016/17, when Dzeko finished as joint top scorer. On current form his quality will be hard to tame.
Will Celtic and Cluj serve up another high-scoring game?
Scottish giants Celtic are in the Europa League for yet another campaign after they were eliminated in the Champions League qualifiers. The team that defeated them? CFR Cluj, against whom they can exact revenge tonight after fate placed them together in Europa League Group E. The Romanian side progressed in the Champions League preliminary round after a 4-3 win at Celtic Park, a game in which the hosts had twice led. After the game Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted that his side had “shot themselves in the foot” and bemoaned their defensive errors. If the Bhoys haven’t learned their lesson, there could be even more chaos this time around.