Europa League 2016-17

Phil Plantier

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Had to start this thread as the first qualifying round kicked off this week. Highlights from the first leg:

1. Northern Ireland player Niall McGinn rejoined his club team and scored a goal

2. Gibraltar team Europa gives the nation its first ever win in European club or country competition, beating Armenia's Pyunik 2-0 at home.

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/news/newsid=2386301.html
 

Titans Bastard

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West Ham lost to Domžale of Slovenia today in the first leg of the third qualifying round. 2-1 on the road in the first leg is hardly a death sentence, however.

Some other possible upsets brewing:

Lille 1-1 Qabala - the Azeris take a draw back home
Shkendija 2-0 Mladá Boleslav - Macedonian clubs rarely progress to the final qualifying round, nice win over a Czech team
IFK Göteborg 1-2 HJK Helsinki
 

Cellar-Door

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West Ham lost to Domžale of Slovenia today in the first leg of the third qualifying round. 2-1 on the road in the first leg is hardly a death sentence, however.

Some other possible upsets brewing:

Lille 1-1 Qabala - the Azeris take a draw back home
Shkendija 2-0 Mladá Boleslav - Macedonian clubs rarely progress to the final qualifying round, nice win over a Czech team
IFK Göteborg 1-2 HJK Helsinki
Real chance West Ham doesn't advance. Cresswell obviously out 4 months, but Payet, Ogbonna and Collins all not available, possibly no Sakho or Carroll as well though not confirmed.
So basically 3/4 of the back line is out (and we already don't have a real RB playing Antonio there), and FB had no cover already, the defense could be UGLY.
 

Titans Bastard

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We have our first big casualty of the day: AEK Larnaca of Cyprus knocked out Spartak Moscow.
 

Titans Bastard

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Another one: Qabala of Azerbaijan finished off Lille.

West Ham is in good shape against Domžale. Hertha is playing with fire against Brøndby, but are currently slated to go through on away goals. Serie A clubs are notorious for mailing it in during Europa League matches, but Sassuolo has opened a multi-goal lead over Luzern. They need one more seeding upset to move into the seeded pool for the final qualifying round.
 

Titans Bastard

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Hertha ended up giving up a third goal to Brøndby and were knocked out.


Final qualifying round draw:

Astana (KAZ) vs. BATE Borisov (BLR)
Midtjylland (DEN) vs. Osmanlıspor (TUR)
Lokomotiva (CRO) vs. Genk (BEL)
Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) vs. PAOK (GRE)
Beitar Jerusalem (ISR) vs. Saint-Étienne (FRA)
Maribor (SLO) vs. Qabala (AZE)
Astra Giurgiu (ROU) vs. West Ham United (ENG)
Brøndby (DEN) vs. Panathinaikos (GRE)
SønderjyskE (DEN) vs. Sparta Prague (CZE)
IFK Göteborg (SWE) vs. Qarabağ (AZE)
Arouca (POR) vs. Olympiacos (GRE)
Trenčín (SVK) vs. Rapid Vienna (AUT)
AEK Larnaca (CYP) vs. Slovan Liberec (CZE)
Austria Vienna (AUT) vs. Rosenborg (NOR)
Vojvodina (SRB) vs. AZ (NED)
Slavia Prague (CZE) vs. Anderlecht (BEL)
Fenerbahçe (TUR) vs. Grasshopper (SUI)
Krasnodar (RUS) vs. Partizani Tirana (ALB)
İstanbul Başakşehir (TUR) vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Sassuolo (ITA) vs. Red Star Belgrade (SRB)
Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) vs. Hajduk Split (CRO)
 

AgentOrange

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Serie A clubs are notorious for mailing it in during Europa League matches, but Sassuolo has opened a multi-goal lead over Luzern. They need one more seeding upset to move into the seeded pool for the final qualifying round.
Sassuolo is Serie A's best story. They're from a town of about 30K. Only made it as high as Serie C for the first time in 2006, and reached Serie A for the first time 3 years ago. They're one of three clubs in A to own their own stadium, and the team is young, Italian, and plays an attacking style. Domenico Berardi, who scored three goals across the two legs against Luzern, is the best young Italian attacker right now, and probably has been since Sassuolo debuted in Serie A.

They're super pumped about being in Europe, and are going to give it everything they have as long as they're in it.
 

Cellar-Door

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West Ham down 1-0 (2-1 aggregate) at the half. Completely dominated, but can't score with this makeshift unit. Then gave up a counterattack goal on a sloppy turnover that caught both fullbacks well up the pitch. Goalscorer was former West Brom striker Felipe Texeira from Romanian international and former Inter Milan benchwarmer Denis Alibec.

Ugly man, super ugly.
 

Titans Bastard

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The countries that bit the dust for 2016-17 today:

Belarus
Sweden
Norway
Serbia
Slovenia
Slovakia
Albania
Georgia
Macedonia


Ireland is (by far) the lowest ranked league still alive. Next lowest are Kazakhstan and Bulgaria. Belarus, Sweden, and Norway are the highest ranked leagues entirely eliminated. Spain, Italy, and Belgium are the only leagues that haven't lost a club yet.

In the UEFA coefficients, the Eredivisie has fallen below Czech Republic, Switzerland, Croatia, and Greece for the time being.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well, yeah. But I don't think too many fans in Spain and Italy are going to think Villareal and Roma haven't lost out in some capacity by dropping out of the Champions League. (Of course, this is the Europa League thread, so never mind...)
To be sure. I was writing in the context of clubs alive in Europe, particularly with a view to how the totality of the season might work out for every country's coefficient. Of course, an away trip to some grim place in Eastern Europe isn't what Villarreal and Roma had in mind a few weeks ago...

Speaking of which, two clubs from Azerbaijan made it to the group stage today. One of them, Qarabağ FK, represents the now-abandoned city of Agdam in Qarabağ (Karabakh), which was completely depopulated after the Nagorno-Karabakh War.





Fortunately for their opponents, the club has been based in Baku since 1993.
 

Tony the Pony

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The countries that bit the dust for 2016-17 today:
In the UEFA coefficients, the Eredivisie has fallen below Czech Republic, Switzerland, Croatia, and Greece for the time being.
...but don't despair, we get to take 6 points off United. :)

Just booked Man Utd - Feyenoord. It will be Soren's (8, already, how time flies. Remember when he popped out during The Prippening - seems like yesterday?) first Feyenoord match. We're staying until Sat night, Either Liverpool - Sunderland (Soren is a Liverpool fan, but I have tickets in the Sunderland section) or Bury - Millwall.

Should be fun! the writing is on the wall; both teams will make sure as few away fans as possible will be able to travel. Latest I heard is that Man Utd gets 1200 tickets in Rotterdam. Feyenoord get 3800 in Manchester - which go on sale in October - but the latest estimate is that over 5,000 Feyenoord fans have already booked and gotten tickets for United sections.

Not going to Fenerbahce again, but will go to Odessa for the Luhansk tie. Probably bring the Wife as well to keep her happy and make sure I won;t come home with a couple of brides
 

Titans Bastard

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Dundalk kept their good vibes going with a late equalizer on the road against AZ.

Epic choke from Maccabi Tel Aviv, who blew a 3-0 lead to Zenit in spectacular fashion, conceding four goals in the last 14 minutes.

Emphatic start to the group stage from little Sassuolo, who thumped Athletic Bilbao 3-0 at home.

Manchester United lost to Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
 

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I'm not jealous of much, but my life would be much improved if we had English sports commentators - or at least their personalities - working US sports coverage.

"On a night at St Mary's where Southampton needed blood and thunder, it has unfortunately been more 'thud' and blunder."

now that's how you throw to commercial.
 

Tony the Pony

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Europa League season 2016/2017. Six European games for Feyenoord, and not being thrown out by UEFA. Shit performances vs Fener, Luhansk wasn't a factor, but Odessa was a nice treat. Nice win vs United at home, shat the bed away. Oh well. At least we aren't precluded from competing in the Champions League if we somehow hang on to the lead in the domestic league - b/c missing out of that honey pot due to UEFA sanctions in the one year this century you win the league, would be so typical for Feyenoord.

European trip of the decade - two decades, maybe - was Man Utd away with 8yo Soren. His first ever Feyenoord match, two days before his first ever Liverpool match at Anfield. If he'd by some weird cosmic way ever be a Man Utd fan, that trip would have immediately cured and rehabilitated him. What a shit club Man U is. No support, no pride, nothing. Absolutely nothing. We were more impressed with Barnsley and Forest a day later - and that was shit, too.
 

Titans Bastard

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Round of 32 draw:

Athletic Bilbao (ESP) vs APOEL (CYP)
Legia Warsaw (POL) vs. Ajax (NED)
Anderlecht (BEL) vs. Zenit Saint Petersburg (RUS)
Astra Giurgiu (ROU) vs. Genk (BEL)
Manchester United (ENG) vs. Saint-Étienne (FRA)
Villarreal (ESP) vs. Roma (ITA)
Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL) vs. Copenhagen (DEN)
Celta Vigo (ESP) vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Olympiacos (GRE) vs. Osmanlispor (TUR)
Gent (BEL) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
Rostov (RUS) vs. Sparta Prague (CZE)
Krasnodar (RUS) vs. Fenerbahçe (TUR)
Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER) vs. Fiorentina (ITA)
AZ (NED) vs. Lyon (FRA)
Hapoel Be'er Sheva (ISR) vs. Besiktas (TUR)
PAOK (GRE) vs. Schalke (GER)


The two highest profile matchups are probably the two involving the Serie A clubs.
 

Titans Bastard

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Tottenham were eliminated by Gent yesterday, 3-2 on aggregate. Fiorentina imploded in spectacular fashion, blowing a 3-0 aggregate lead over Gladbach by conceding four goals in the last 46 minutes. AZ demonstrated the increasing strength of the Eredivisie by losing to Lyon 11-1 on aggregate. APOEL beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to advance 4-3 on aggregate.

Round of 16 draw:

Celta Vigo vs. Krasnodar
APOEL vs. Anderlecht
Schalke vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Lyon vs. Roma
Rostov vs. Manchester United
Olympiacos vs. Beşiktaş
Gent vs. Genk
Copenhagen vs. Ajax


Gent/Genk will undoubtedly be a classic.

Lyon/Roma and Olympiacos/Beşiktaş look interesting as well.
 

Zomp

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Very good draw for United, who may need to win the competition with the top 4 being so competitive. Only drawback is the Chelsea fixture is played on Monday night, 4 days after they come back from Russia.
 

Zososoxfan

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Tottenham were eliminated by Gent yesterday, 3-2 on aggregate. Fiorentina imploded in spectacular fashion, blowing a 3-0 aggregate lead over Gladbach by conceding four goals in the last 46 minutes. AZ demonstrated the increasing strength of the Eredivisie by losing to Lyon 11-1 on aggregate. APOEL beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to advance 4-3 on aggregate.

Round of 16 draw:

Celta Vigo vs. Krasnodar
APOEL vs. Anderlecht
Schalke vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
Lyon vs. Roma
Rostov vs. Manchester United
Olympiacos vs. Beşiktaş
Gent vs. Genk
Copenhagen vs. Ajax


Gent/Genk will undoubtedly be a classic.

Lyon/Roma and Olympiacos/Beşiktaş look interesting as well.
Celta has been playing very entertaining football this season, smashing in goals and giving them up with equal aplomb. Schalke and Gladbach will trim the field since both squads have the talent to make it farther. Same goes for Lyon and Roma. Speaking of the Romans, Totti(!) played yesterday. He exerts less effort on defense than Messi, which I didn't know was possible. MANU really needs to start putting some eggs in the Europa basket. If SoSH was a football board, I would consider sigging the bolded.
 

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Bump for R16 2nd leg, happening right now. Man U vs Rostov (1-1) about to start in 15 mins, along with Gladbach-Schalke (1-1) and Roma-Lyon (2-4).
 

Schnerres

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Watch the highlights of Gladbach-Schalke. Still 30min to play and it´s 2-1 Gladbach. The 2-1 from Schalke was a beauty created on Gladbachs new grass field.
 

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Quarterfinal draw is out:

1st leg Thu 4/13:
Anderlecht v Man United
Lyon v Besiktas
Celta Vigo v Genk
Ajax v Schalke

2nd leg Thu 4/20.

Ideal draw for United; avoids Celta, and one of Lyon / Besiktas will be out.
 

Zososoxfan

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Is that the best match to watch? I can't find an easy way to figure out who is ahead in all of these ties. United really pushing ahead for the winner, kudos to them.
 

Zososoxfan

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MAN U with an incredibly tense win on a very nice Rashford goal brought down nicely by a sideshow Bob header. Zlatan and Rojo may be out for awhile, Zlatan's injury definitely looked bad. Ajax and Celta thru. Lyon-Besiktas to penalties.
 

Zososoxfan

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Semifinal matchups are set with Man U going against Celta and Lyon taking on Ajax. Man U should be able to beat Celta, but Man U seems to play to the level of their competition and are the walking wounded coming into the home stretch. How Mou juggles EPL and UEL will be interesting to watch. With Zlatan presumably out, how will Mou adjust? Rashford and Mkhi have to be included. Mata and Zlatan are out. If Mou wants to stick to a front 3, it has to be Martial, who has been terrible. It may be a better idea to opt for more of a 4-4-2 with Sideshow Bob, Pogba, Herrera, and Lingard/Carrick?? If Rojo is out too, the defense may be an even bigger issue. Blind just isn't a great player, and there's no one left. Could Luke Shaw be the key!? Nevertheless, Celta hasn't been on great form other than Iago. Keeping him in check is priority 1, 2, and 3. Should be interesting.

Lyon and Ajax are both near the top of their domestic leagues. I don't know much about either, other than Lacazette has just been a beast this year and scores a ton of goals.
 

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Lingard has looked really good, that 4-4-2 you listed is the option I'd suggest. Most of Celta's goals come from winning possession unexpectedly in short midfield as their opponents try to play out from the back, and being well-coordinated on a fast break. Marking assignments in that chaos will be the difference for United.

Also, yesterday, a 10-man Ajax, in Extra Time against Schalke who had scored in AET to go up 3-2, somehow managed to score not one but TWO shorthanded goals in their remaining 20 minutes to take out the Bundesliga side. That game was bananas, it made Man U - Anderlecht look like an undercard. Here were the highlights.
 

Zomp

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Against smaller teams Mou should (and I think will) continue in the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. Pogba has reined in his adventurous side and has played very well in that holding role over the last few games. Against bigger teams I'd expect Mourinho to employee the formation he did against Chelsea, opting for 3 at the back with wingbacks and have Herrera man mark the shit out of the opposition. Speculating on who will play is useless because a) we don't know how Mourinho will juggle the side in two competitions and b) We don't know the extent of the injuries. Zlatan looks to be out for the season and if so his United stint could be over. Rojo may be okay while Mourinho said Jones and Smalling will have to play through the pain barrier.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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This Ajax team is young, talented, fun to watch, and easy to root for. Of the 15 players that have played significant minutes (300) in their Europa league campaign, 15 of them are 21 or younger and only two are over 25. And that doesn't even count Justin Kluivert (Patrick's son), who is 17 and been starting for them recently. Its not Ajax 95 but they've got a lot of talent and I wouldn't be surprised if a number of the players (Dolberg, Kluivert, Sanchez, Klaasen, Ziyech, Traore) end up at bigger clubs in the next couple years.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Zlatan looks to be out for the season and if so his United stint could be over.
Even if healthy, I thought they should move on vs doubling down on him. Great season for Zlatan, but they should focus on getting Greizmann as the number one forward. If this was a video game, I'd keep Zlatan for depth; but video games don't factor in ego and I don't see him being content on the bench when he can still start.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Lyon looked the better side in a disjointed first 20 minutes but suddenly Ajax are 2-0 up. Dolberg with a very nice finish on the second goal. He probably should stay at Ajax for at least one more year but just seems destined to be a top player.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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This match is awesome! Fekir misses a sitter that would have brought it back to 3-2, Ajax comes down and scores with a nicely worked goal to 4-1, and now its end to end action with both clubs wanting more.

And to settle things down Ajax take off 30-year-old Schone, their only player over 24, and replace him with another 20-year-old.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Vigo-United should be pretty interesting. United is far superior on paper but that isn't where the games are played. Vigo has quality up front and a very high paced hard pressing style that may allow them to exploit a United squad that has been beaten up by injuries and is running on fumes a bit after playing twice a week for a while now.
 

67YAZ

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I don't follow ManU that closely, so maybe others can correct me - but I'm surprised not to see Carrick out here. I would have figured his experience, composure, and distribution would be invaluable against Celta's press. I mean, there's Bailly sitting on the ball and getting dispossessed. Will Fellaini and Pogba stay deep enough to act as an effective pivot today?