The group stage of the UEFA Europa League has started, a competition that has three great English contenders looking to win the European trophy.
After unfavorable results for all of them in the last day of the Premier League, with the defeats suffered by Arsenal and Leicester City, added to the catastrophic draw of Tottenham Hotspur, it only remained to see if they could turn the tide and smile on the Europa League night.
Rapid Vienna 1-2 Arsenal
With six changes from the team that fell 1-0 to Manchester City, those led by Mikel Arteta suffered some stretches of the game due to the rotation of the usual starting eleven.
Although they had the dominance of possession, the ideas were clouded near the rival goal and they looked too predictable. As the minutes passed, the left wing, with Saka as the flag, began to grow for Arsenal, although without too much danger.
A handful of occasions followed one another for the opening of the scoreboard by the Londoners, while the locals hardly disturbed Bernd Leno.
Minutes after the start of the complement, Taxiarchis Fountas appeared to capitalize on a gross error in the visitor’s defense. As if nothing had happened Leno failed again a few moments later, but Fountas missed the chance to double the lead.
Understanding that they had to gain more weight on offense, Arteta quickly sent Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Héctor Bellerín onto the field. Thanks to the substitutions, Arsenal began to corner their rival and, with an exquisite cross from Pepe and a header from David Luiz, managed to equalize the score.
Already with 1-1, the ‘Gunners‘they went for the three points, and they got it thanks to Arteta’s changes. After another error by Leno at the exit, the next play Bellerin appeared with a back pass so that Aubameyang could define alone.
Little more was left to add and Arsenal ended up with a victory that, although it had to come back, it helps them to start on the right foot in a competition where many of their guns will target.
Tottenham 3-0 LASK
Seven years later and in a different stadium, Gareth Bale started a game again with the Tottenham Hotspur shirt. After the failed debut against West Ham, a match that Mourinho’s men ended up equaling 3-3 after winning 3-0, the Welshman was facing a great opportunity to be more current than ever.
Joe Hart, the unforgettable goalkeeper for Manchester City and the England National Team, also made his Tottenham jersey debut in this match, while Vinicius replaced Harry Kane as striker.
Gareth Bale commanded the attacks of the London squad, but Argentine Erik Lamela also had a good start, combining in his sector with Sergio Reguilón.
After the first quarter of an hour, Vinicius assisted his compatriot, Lucas Moura so that the Spurs managed to open the scoring. A few minutes later, Bale managed to sneak into the rival defense and Andrade ended up pushing the ball into his own goal to bring two the advantage of the English.
The complement was an extension of what had already been seen in the first half, with Tottenham’s third goal closer than a possible LASK discount. Heung Min Son replaced Bale at the end of the game hour, and it was the South Korean himself who sentenced the final score to 3-0, with a subtle hand-to-hand definition between the legs of the rival goalkeeper.
Leicester City 3-0 Zorya
After the great campaign carried out by the ‘Foxes‘In the last season, it was time for the debut in the UEFA Europa League for those led by Brendan Rodgers, with a game that was more than approved.
From the first minute, both teams shuffled according to their real possibilities, with Leicester City widely dominating the possession and Zorya retracted near their goal, trying to repel the onslaught of the premises.
Resistance broke within half an hour with James Maddison pushing the ball for 1-0. At the end of the first half, Harvey Barnes appeared, following a great assist from Iheanacho, to increase Leicester’s lead.
Little changed in the second half and 3-0 was sentenced with Iheanacho himself marking his name in the final score. In this way, Leicester City added their first three European points since their participation in the UEFA Champions League in the 2016/17 season, when they reached the quarter-finals.