Manchester United will find out who they face in the quarter-finals and possibly the semi-finals of the Europa League when the draws take place this lunchtime at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.
United, who won the league earlier in 2017, advanced to the last eight with a 1-0 win over Real Betis in the second leg of their last 16 draw at the Benito Villamarin stadium last night. A brilliant second-half goal from Marcus Rashford secured a 5–1 aggregate victory for Erik ten Hag’s side, meaning they could still finish the season with three major trophies.
United were lucky in the first half in Spain, turned out to be too loose in possession and offered Betis more view of the goal than Ten Hag would have liked. Nevertheless, they reunited after the break and Rashford’s brilliant moment dashed hopes of a famous Betis comeback.
READ MORE: United player ratings vs Real Betis as a duo impress
Over the course of the two legs, United actually didn’t need to get out of second gear to get the job done. They comfortably moved on to the next round with no unwanted hiccups.
Unlike the draw for the last 16, the draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals are open, meaning any two clubs can play against each other. For example, in the final round, eight teams were seeded and the remaining eight were unseeded. Also, clubs from the same country could not be drawn against each other.
Therefore, this means, for example, that Roma could compete against compatriot Juventus. Immediately after the quarter-finals draw has taken place, the draw for the semi-finals will also take place, with ties numbered 1-4 for that particular draw, meaning the eight clubs involved in the quarter-finals already know their potential semi-final opponents prior to the kick-off of the quarter-finals.
With that in mind, the quarter-final draw promises to add extra intrigue and excitement as the road to the finals in Budapest on May 31 heats up. And that’s exactly what happened when we ran a character simulation using a simulator.
Before the real draw which takes place today at noon, MEN Sports did a simulation and it produced some interesting quarter-finals, with United taking on Italy’s Roma. The Serie A club reached the last eight with a 2–0 aggregate victory over Real Sociedad.
Should they be drawn against each other in the real draw, it would mean a reunion between United and former manager Jose Mourinho. It would also be a second Europa League encounter between the two clubs in just three years, following their heart-stopping semi-final showdown in 2021.
Meanwhile, Sporting Lisbon take on Europa League specialists Sevilla after Arsenal are eliminated from the competition on penalties. After their two-legged draw with the Gunners ended 3-3 on aggregate, the Portuguese heavyweights won 5-3 on penalties to progress.
Fully simulated Europa League quarter-final draw:
Juventus against Feyenoord
Roma against Manchester United
Bayer Leverkusen vs Union Saint-Gilloise
Sevilla vs Sporting Lisbon
After completing the simulation of the quarter-final draw, we completed a simulation of the draw for the final four. It revealed that if United beat Roma in the quarter-finals, they will face either Sevilla or Sporting Lisbon in the semi-finals for a place in the final.
Fully simulated Europa League semi-final draw:
Roma/Manchester United vs Sevilla/Sporting Lisbon
Bayer Leverkusen/Union Saint-Gilloise vs Juventus/Feyenoord
The quarter-finals will be played over two legs and will take place on Thursday, April 13 and Thursday, April 20. The semi-finals, also over two stages, will take center stage on Thursday 11 May and Thursday May. 18.