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Torreira pays tribute to close friend in goal celebration – THINGS YOU MISSED FROM THE EUROPA LEAGUE

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Lucas Torreira pays tribute to close friend in goal celebration, Joao Felix reduced to tears with hat-trick against Frankfurt and Aaron Ramsey loves playing in Europe – FIVE THINGS YOU MISSED FROM THE EUROPA LEAGUE

  • Europa League quarter-finals took shape after first leg ties on Thursday night 
  • Arsenal produced a fine performance to beat tournament favourites Napoli 2-0
  • Chelsea also strengthened their bid with a narrow 1-0 win away to Slavia Prague
  • Benfica have Joao Felix to thank as the teenager scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win 
  • Sportsmail recaps five things you may have missed from Thursday night’s action 

There was plenty for Arsenal and Chelsea fans to smile about as both British sides took control of their Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday night.

Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira put the Gunners in control at home against Napoli, while a late header from Marcos Alonso in Prague handed Chelsea a precious away goal ahead of the return at Stamford Bridge.  

But there was lots happening around Europe on the night and Sportsmail brings you five things you may have missed from the quarter-finals of the Europa League… 

Arsenal celebrated what could prove a crucial 2-0 first leg win over Napoli on Thursday night

Arsenal celebrated what could prove a crucial 2-0 first leg win over Napoli on Thursday night

Torreira dedicates goal to friend

There was plenty in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Napoli to marvel at. 

But for all the finesse in the finishing and the solidity shown at the back, one standout moment saw goal scorer Torreira dedicate his goal – Arsenal’s second on the night – to a close friend back home in Uruguay who recently died. 

The t-shirt showed a photo of the Arsenal midfielder alongside close friend Rafita with the pair holding a Sampdoria shirt – the club he played for before his switch to England. 

Rather than taking his own shirt off, the midfielder ran over to the Arsenal dugout after scoring to collect the shirt before he held it clearly in front of the camera with the message, ‘we love and miss you,’ written in Spanish.  

Lucas Torreira dedicated his goal against Napoli to his close friend Rafita who died recently

Lucas Torreira dedicated his goal against Napoli to his close friend Rafita who died recently

Lucas Torreira dedicated his goal against Napoli to his close friend Rafita who died recently

Tears flow for Felix 

Lots of hype, lots of pressure but Joao Felix also has lots and lots of talent – it was all on show in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

The highly-rated teenager, who is interesting Manchester United and Manchester City ahead of the summer, was reduced to tears after scoring a hat-trick against the German side in the quarter-final first leg. 

Benfica fancy their chances of winning the tournament with one of Europe’s brightest propsects in Felix in their ranks and who could bet against them after this latest instalment. 

Felix opened the scoring from the spot before restoring the lead with a thunderous effort from 20 yards. Emotions were still in check but the floodgates opened – both in the player and the Frankfurt backline – when Felix converted Alex Grimaldo’s cut-back to make it 4-2.  

Benfica sensation Joao Felix was reduced to tears after scoring a hat-trick against Frankfurt

Benfica sensation Joao Felix was reduced to tears after scoring a hat-trick against Frankfurt

Benfica sensation Joao Felix was reduced to tears after scoring a hat-trick against Frankfurt

What a way to treat your parent club 

Luka Jovic is on loan at Frankfurt from Benfica and although he will move to Germany permanently in the summer, the 21-year-old showed he has no loyalty in Portugal after making it 1-1 on Thursday. 

Felix ignited the home crowd with opener before Jovic got involved with Frankfurt, for a brief time at least, well in the tie. 

In the end it was all smiles for those in red and Jovic will be left wondering as Benfica romped to a 4-2 win in the first leg to put one foot in the semi-finals.

Imagine the eventual separation this summer. 

Benfica, this is exactly why you put clauses in to stop your own players scoring against you, take note. 

Luka Jovic is on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from Benfica but still scored against his parent club

Luka Jovic is on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from Benfica but still scored against his parent club

Luka Jovic is on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from Benfica but still scored against his parent club 

Aaron Ramsey loves it in Europe

Arsenal fans would be within their rights to be scratching their head as to why Aaron Ramsey is being allowed to leave this summer. 

Joining soon-to-be Serie A champions (again) Juventus on a free this summer, Ramsey has been in inspired form as he made another vital contribution in the Europa League.

The Welshman played a role in a free-flowing move early in the first half to slot home past Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret as he first-pumped the home support inside a packed-out Emirates Stadium. 

The move to Turin may have been agreed but nobody could accuse Ramsey of checking out, acting like he is on the beach.

According to Opta, since the start of last season, Ramsey has been directly involved in eight goals in the Europa League (6 goals, 2 assists), which is more than any other Arsenal player.

Aaron Ramsey is having a major impact for Arsenal in their bid for Europa League glory

Aaron Ramsey is having a major impact for Arsenal in their bid for Europa League glory

Aaron Ramsey is having a major impact for Arsenal in their bid for Europa League glory

No stopping Hazard 

If Eden Hazard has the ball, there is a very good chance the opponent is not getting it back.  



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Arsenal's soft underbelly remains under Unai Emery on the road

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Arsenal’s soft underbelly remains under Unai Emery on the road… they have claimed an incredible 22 points less away than at Emirates and have conceded one more than Cardiff!

  • Arsenal’s ‘soft underbelly’ that was there under Arsene Wenger still remains
  • Unai Emery can’t lay claim to improvement when his side still struggle away
  • The Premier League table on away results alone has them down in ninth position 
  • The 31 goals they have conceded from 17 games is one more than Cardiff

We are, it seems, constantly wrestling with the notion of Unai Emery’s Arsenal being better than the one he inherited from Arsene Wenger.

You only have to look at their away performances to reach the conclusion that very little has changed.

The ‘soft underbelly’ we called it in Wenger’s day, a vulnerability when the going got tough. And so it remains the case under Emery.

Arsenal's dreadful away form could see them miss out on Champions League football yet again

Arsenal’s dreadful away form could see them miss out on Champions League football yet again

Unai Emery's side fell to another defeat away from home on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to Wolves

Unai Emery's side fell to another defeat away from home on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to Wolves

Unai Emery’s side fell to another defeat away from home on Wednesday, losing 3-1 to Wolves

If Arsenal’s greatest Premier League side won the moniker ‘The Invincibles’, how about ‘The Invisibles’ for the current vintage when they leave the comfort of North London?

They were a shambles during Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat at Wolves, conceding three times in 17 minutes before half-time, and this after a promising start.

Emery cannot realistically lay claim to improvement when his side are repeatedly capable of such performances on the road. 

And for all the talk of systems and formations, it remains the suspicion that personnel are the underlying cause of their dismal away form.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Henrik Mkhitaryan, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi aren’t the first names you would associate with resolution, sweat and tenacity, qualities often needed in a division where you have to earn the right to play away from home.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Co don't have the tenacity and sweat needed to play away

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Co don't have the tenacity and sweat needed to play away

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil and Co don’t have the tenacity and sweat needed to play away 

The league table on away results alone has Arsenal in ninth, beneath Crystal Palace, Watford and Leicester respectively, and each of their top-six rivals.

The 31 goals they have conceded from 17 games is one more than Cardiff and equal to Brighton, the two teams left scrapping it our for survival. That demonstrates the level they are at when removed from the cosy surrounds of the Emirates Stadium, where their home record is bettered by only title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool.

Wenger signed off last season after seven straight away defeats, the club’s worst run since 1966. It was not as if Emery was in the dark when it came to identifying flaws and areas for improvement.

He has tried four at the back and a three-man defence, using wing-backs to push forward and exploit the space created by their inside forwards. It is Arsenal, however, who have found themselves exploited.

The Gunners' soft underbelly during Arsene Wenger's final years still remains under Emery

The Gunners' soft underbelly during Arsene Wenger's final years still remains under Emery

The Gunners’ soft underbelly during Arsene Wenger’s final years still remains under Emery

They lost heart at Wolves after a decent opening in which they pinned the hosts in their own half but could not find a way through. Their passing became sloppy, decision-making unfathomable and application reduced, all trademarks of the away-day demise under Wenger.

It is this that will cost Arsenal a place in the top four and undermine Emery’s hopes of progression, especially given the loss of Champions League football as an attraction for would-be recruits.

Speak to Arsenal supporters and they say it is a lack of leadership that is their biggest weakness away from home. Where, they argue, are the standard-bearers whipping others into line when interest wanes as games slip away?

And that is why it comes back to personnel. Ozil, in particular, has come to define the wishy-washy nature of modern-day Arsenal.

There is no longer a fear-factor when the Gunners roll into town, the trepidation is all theirs.

Arsenal no longer have that fear-factor needed on their travels in the Premier League

Arsenal no longer have that fear-factor needed on their travels in the Premier League

Arsenal no longer have that fear-factor needed on their travels in the Premier League



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Could the pressure get to Man City and will Arsenal make top four? – TACKLE KEOWN

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Should Manchester United sell Marcus Rashford, could the pressure get to Man City’s players and will Arsenal make top four? – TACKLE KEOWN

  • There is a bumper weekend of action at the top and bottom of Premier League
  • Manchester City and Liverpool are going toe-to-toe in their battle for the title
  • Arsenal have suffered a blip and could miss out on a place in the top four 
  • Join us as Martin Keown answers YOUR questions in this week’s Tackle Keown 

Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown is back to answer your questions ahead of a busy weekend of action in the Premier League.

Manchester City and Liverpool are going toe-to-toe in the battle for the Premier League title, while below them teams falter in their challenge for the top four.

Martin’s old side Arsenal are one side who are going through a blip in form, and the Gunners are just one of the subjects being tackled by our columnist this week.

Scroll down to read through all of Martin’s answers to your questions…

If you are using the MailOnline app, please click HERE to view the live blog.



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Eric Bailly – Should Arsenal sign this Man United reject?

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When I first saw the Eric Bailly to Arsenal rumour my initial thought was no way, we do not want or need another Manchester United flop, however, on reflection, I am of the opinion that he may well be worth signing.

I watched Bailly against Paris St Germain and he was woeful but he should not be judged on just that one game because if that was the case we would have no team left after the games against Everton, Crystal Palace and Wolves.

The Ivory Coast international has clearly not had a great time with United since signing for them three years ago for a cool £30 Million but let’s be honest, they are a dysfunctional lot at Old Trafford and players that have failed up there over the last few years can be given another chance under the right circumstances.

United signed Bailly when he was just 22-years-old, well away from his prime and still a work in progress, he was bought for a significant sum of money and by all accounts was a success in Spain with Villarreal.

What this means to me is that we can sign a player that can easily recapture his previous form for a sum of money far less than what he is probably truly worth and that our manager is familiar with him from his time in Spain as the Sevilla manager.

We clearly need defenders I am not sure anyone would disagree with that and as Bailly is right now he is not an obvious choice but his age, raw talent and value makes him a player we should seriously consider buying.

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