Europa League 2020/21 quarter-finals: Match previews and how to watch first legs on BT Sport

Manchester United and Arsenal return to European action among four unmissable matches exclusively live on Thursday evening.

Published: 5 April 2021 - 1.11pm

The Europa League returns with Manchester United and Arsenal looking to progress to the last four after Tottenham and Rangers were eliminated in the last round.

With all four quarter-final first-leg matches exclusively live on BT Sport on Thursday evening, it promises to be an unmissable night of live action from across Europe.

Read on for match previews, live streams and how to watch every game.

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Granada v Manchester United: BT Sport 2 HD, 7.15pm (8pm KO) - Live stream

After Sunday’s morale-boosting come-from-behind Premier League victory over Brighton, Man United return to European action against La Liga side Granada.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be looking to mark an improved campaign with some silverware and his side are firm favourites to progress to the last four at the expense of Diego Martinez’s men.

The Red Devils reached the quarter-finals after a hard-fought 2-1 aggregate win over AC Milan, the winner courtesy of a close-range strike from Paul Pogba at San Siro in March.

Thursday’s opponents Granada have lost their last three matches in all competitions, but have impressed in Europe, dumping out Napoli and Molde en route to the last eight.

Former Man City forward Roberto Soldado is expected to the lead the line for the Spanish side in Andalusia and the 35-year-old is the club’s leading scorer this term with eight goals.

With little left to play for in La Liga, Granada will be looking to claim another huge scalp in Europe when Man United visit Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes.

Man United have scored 21 goals in Europe this season, with 13 of them being scored by either Marcus Rashford or Bruno Fernandes and their deadly duo will be looking to add to their tally on Thursday evening.

Granada coach Martinez said: “As always, the objective is to be our best, to try to improve ourselves, and be as faithful as possible to our identity and our values, competing without nerves. Being here is already something unique.”

“It’s another difficult tie, of course,” said Solskjaer. “They’ve done well in La Liga and we know we’re up against a team that will be technically very good and tactically very good.”

Arsenal v Slavia Prague: BT Sport 1 HD, 7.15pm (8pm) - Live stream

Fresh from a galling home defeat to Liverpool, Arsenal’s attention turns to Europe and a quarter-final first-leg clash with Slavia Prague at the Emirates.

Mikel Arteta’s side are winless in their last three matches in all competitions and they were tame throughout against champions Liverpool on Saturday.

It was a desperate performance from Arsenal who have struggled all season in the Premier League.

They face another tough assignment in the Europa League against a Slavia Prague side who have already knocked out Leicester and Rangers to reach the last eight.

The dominant force in Czech football beat the Foxes 2-0 on aggregate before winning 2-0 at Ibrox in an ill-tempered match to claim a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Jindřich Trpišovský’s side will be eyeing another famous win over British opposition and they will be hoping talisman Nicolae Stanciu can continue his remarkable run of form with another influential display.

The only previous matches between the two sides in Europe were in the group stages of the 2007/08 Champions League, with Arsenal winning 7-0 at home before drawing 0-0 away.

Promisingly for the Gunners, they are unbeaten against Czech opposition, keeping seven clean sheets in eight matches. Can they extend their run? Or will an inspired Slavia spring another surprise?

Speaking ahead of the clash, Trpišovský said: “The advantage for us is that we know the players of big clubs like Arsenal. The disadvantage is that they rotate a lot, and they have a big squad.”

Arsenal midfielder Willian said: “They are a compact team which also has quality so we have to have confidence and go game by game but we certainly have chances. We believe we can reach the final, yes.”

Ajax v Roma: BT Sport 3 HD, 7.45pm (8pm KO) - Live stream

Two European heavyweights meet in Amsterdam on Thursday as Ajax, looking for a record-equalling 11th consecutive home win, take on Serie A giants Roma.

Dutch league leaders Ajax are in superb form and Erik ten Hag’s men have won all four Europa League knockout matches this season, beating Lille and Young Boys home and away.

The 2019 Champions League semi-finalists boast a number of familiar faces in their squad including former Premier League players Davy Klaassen, Dusan Tadic and Daley Blind.

Former Southampton man Tadic has already registered 14 goals and 12 assists in the Eredivisie this season. He has also been directly involved in nine goals in Europe for Ajax this season, three times as many as any teammate.

Roma also reached the last eight with relative ease, beating Braga and Shakhtar Donetsk to set up the Ajax clash.

Spanish striker Borja Mayoral scored four goals in the knockout stages to become the competition’s joint top marksman this season with seven and his goals helped fire the Giallorossi into the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s storied history.

With the likes of Jordan Veretout, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Edin Dzeko and Pedro in their ranks, Roma are heading to Holland with plenty of firepower.

Ten Hag said: “Ajax against Roma would look great on a poster, with two famous clubs meeting. For me, it is a Champions League game. There are no weak clubs in the last eight.”

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca said: “Ajax are a very strong team: among the best in the Europa League. They have a good European project and a very difficult match awaits us.

“They are [one of] the most established football schools in Europe, but we have our chances.”

Dinamo Zagreb v Villarreal: BT Sport ESPN HD, 7.45pm (8pm KO) - Live stream

After sensationally dumping Tottenham out in the last round, Dinamo Zagreb will be looking to cause another upset against Villarreal in their first European quarter-final since 1970.

The Croatian champions were 2-0 down going into the second leg, but remarkably won 3-0 at home courtesy of a magical hat-trick from Mislav Oršić to reach the last eight.

They have won four consecutive home matches in Europe, but will be tested against a Villarreal side who have enjoyed a near perfect European season so far.

The Spaniards are unbeaten in the Europa League this term, winning nine times and drawing only once. They dumped out Salzburg and Dynamo Kyiv in the knockout rounds and will be targeting another European semi-final under Unai Emery.

Forward Gerard Moreno has already bagged 23 goals this season, including a hat-trick against Granada in La Liga last time out, and he will be looking to add to his tally in the Croatian capital.

The visitors will be in confident mood given their impressive away form in Europe. They haven’t tasted defeat in their last 10 matches in the Europa League outside Spain and are undefeated against non-Spanish opposition in 19 European matches.

Dinamo coach Damir Krznar praised his opposite number ahead of the clash at Stadion Maksimir.  “[Emery] is a fantastic coach, and it’s obviously very difficult to set traps to beat such a coach,” he said.

“What gives us hope is that we overcame Tottenham in an unlikely manner. This gives us a certain strength to look for a recipe to at least be competitive.”

Emery said: “Their history says it all. No team at this level gives anything away anymore. They are well organised and must have very good players to have eliminated Tottenham the way they did.”