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Arsenal, Chelsea out to take early advantage in Europa semi finals

Arsenal have kept 9 clean sheets in their last 11 European games. (Agency Photos)

Arsenal vs Valencia

Emirates Stadium, London

Thursday, 02-05-2019 @10pm

Referee: Clement Turpin (France)

Midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Denis Suarez will miss the tie, having been ruled out for the remainder of the season with injuries. German midfielder Mesut Ozil is in the squad after missing Sunday’s 3-0 defeat at Leicester with a bruised foot, while full-back Nacho Monreal trained on Wednesday after recovering from a groin injury.

Valencia are without midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, winger Denis Cheryshev and full-back Cristiano Piccini. Former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin is also missing through suspension.

Arsenal have reached the semi-final stage of European competitions in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1993/94-1994/95, when they ultimately made the finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup two seasons running. This is Valencia’s first European semi-final appearance since 2013/14, when they reached the same stage of this competition before being eliminated by a Sevilla side that were managed by current Arsenal boss Unai Emery. Arsenal have faced Valencia on five previous occasions in all competitions, winning just once (D2 L2), in a Champions League quarter-final first leg in 2000/01 – Valencia eliminated them via away goals. Valencia have won two of their last three games against Arsenal (D1), winning last time out in the Champions League second group stage in 2002/03 at the Mestalla – however, they are winless in two away visits to Arsenal (D1 L1). Arsenal have kept nine clean sheets in their last 11 European games, conceding just four goals in total in that period.

Eintracht Frankfurt vs Chelsea

Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt

Thursday, 02-05-2019 @10pm

Referee: Carlos Del Cerro (Spain)

Chelsea have lost only one of their last 10 games against German opposition.

Chelsea are currently in a defensive crisis of sorts as center backs Antonio Rudiger and Gary Cahill are both injured. Rudigar has undergone knee surgery while Cahill has suffered an Achilles injury. Chelsea now have just two fit center-backs, although full-back Cesar Azpilicueta can cover there. David Luiz and Andreas Christensen are set to start in the center of defence. Elsewhere for Chelsea, Willian had picked up a heavy knock against Manchester United at the weekend but will be ready to feature in Germany.

Eintracht Frankfurt will be without the banned Ante Rebic, but Evan Ndicka does return after his own ban. Sebastien Haller will also miss out due to an abdominal issue, and Mijat Gacinovic looks set to be involved having previously suffered a stomach injury.

Chelsea have lost just one of their last 10 games against German sides in all European competitions (W5 D4), and have won their last two such games in Germany, both versus Schalke in 2013/14 and 2014/15. Eintracht have played 10 Europa League games at the Commerzbank-Arena, winning eight times and drawing twice; they haven’t trailed for a single minute in those games. Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is unbeaten in his last 13 games in the Europa League (W12 D1). The only manager to go on a longer run without defeat since the competition was rebranded in 2009/10 is Jürgen Klopp – 14 games (W6 D8) with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool between October 2010 and April 2016.

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