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Arsenal face Napoli and Chelsea draw Slavia Prague in Europa League quarter-final

Napoli were drawn against Arsenal in the most high-profile fixture of the Europa League quarter-final draw earlier this afternoon.

Goals from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang secured a 3-0 second leg victory at the Emirates Stadium against Rennes, overturning a first leg defeat and providing Unai Emery a chance to win his fourth Europa League in six years.

Chelsea – who comprehensively dispatched Dynamo Kyiv in the previous round – were drawn away to Slavia Prague, after Ibrahim Traore’s extra time winner sent the Czech side through to their first Europa League quarter-final.

The draw also produced an all-Spanish clash between Villarreal and Valencia, while Benfica will face Eintracht Frankfurt, the Bundesliga’s last remaining representative in European competition. Luka Jovic, now one of Europe’s hottest properties, scored the only goal of the tie as the German side knocked Inter Milan out at the San Siro.

Napoli vs Arsenal

This is the perhaps the most intriguing tie of the quarter-final as a Napoli side winless in five Serie A matches welcome an Arsenal side gathered some momentum next month.

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The Gunners are rising up the Premier League table with four wins in their last five games and showed no signs of nerves last night, despite having to fight back from a 3-1 first leg deficit.

Napoli, though, lost 3-1 in Salzburg, which was enough to see them through to the next round, but it was a nervy ending that Carlo Ancelotti won’t want to repeat.

Villarreal vs Valencia

The last time these two sides met in this competition was back in 2004, as Valencia knocked Villarreal out of the UEFA Cup semi-final courtesy of one Mista goal as the Spaniards secured their first and only title in the tournament. Current manager Marcelino will be hoping for a repeat.

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Both sides are undefeated in the competition this year, Villarreal having played ten games across the group and knockout stage, while Valencia had the advantage of dropping down from the Champions League.

Benfica vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Jovic has exploded on the scene this year, with 15 goals in 23 Bundesliga games to rival Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski at the top of the scoring charts and he’s set to return to Lisbon against his parent club in the Europa League.

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The 20-year-old also has seven goals in nine Europa League matches this season – scoring a delightfully dinked winner against Inter last night – and Benfica will be desperate he doesn’t maintain his form when Frankfurt visit next month.

Slavia Prague vs Chelsea

Maurizio Sarri will be rubbing his hands together in delight at the prospect of facing Slavia Prague in the quarter-final, arguably the weakest side left in the competition.

The Czechs battled their way into the next round with a 6-5 aggregate victory over three-time winners Sevilla, Traore sending the home fans into a state of pandemonium with his 117th minute winner to complete the biggest shock of the round.

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But this may not be enough against a Chelsea side that were rampant against Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine. All eyes will be on Callum Hudson-Odoi and whether he can maintain his form in the competition after two goals and an assist in the last-16.

The Europa League quarter-final draw in full:

Napoli vs Arsenal

Villarreal vs Valencia

Benfica vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Slavia Prague vs Chelsea

Ties will take place on April 11 and 18.

Featured image/Pixabay/Bvarem

Oli Stein
Oli, 24, is currently co-editor of the Sports Gazette. Prior to starting his MA at St Mary's University, Twickenham, Oli was the football editor at RealSport, a sports media company based in north London, and he accumulated a total of 3.3 million personal views from 2016 to 2018. He also has work experience with Hayters Teamwork, Soccer AM and most recently with Sky Sports News. Outside of work, Oli has been a sports fanatic his entire life, falling into a long lineage of Tottenham Hotspur fans. He can regularly be found refusing to leave their new stadium or playing American football for the Hertfordshire Cheetahs. You can follow Oli on Twitter: @steinoliver_
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