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Europa League: Arsenal, Manchester United and Juventus can all progress

An international break may be fast approaching but the thrash and crash of the Europa League continues on Thursday with the last 16 second legs.

Arsenal are level with Sporting after their first leg but look to put things right at the Emirates, while the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Roma all aim to make the most of their first-leg advantages.

Gunners can edge front-footed Sporting

WhatArsenal v Sporting
WhereEmirates Stadium
When20.00, Thursday 16th March 2023
How to watchBT Sport 2
OddsArsenal 4/11, Draw 4/1, Sporting 15/2

Arsenal re-established their five-point advantage at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 win over Fulham on Sunday but the Gunners also have a great shot at making the quarter-finals of this season's Europa League.

In a pulsating first leg of their last-16 tie in Lisbon, Sporting and Arsenal played out a 2-2 draw but Arsenal are fancied at 1/6 to progress to the last eight with home advantage in the second leg.

The Gunners have lost only two of their 17 home games in all competitions this season - one against Brighton in the League Cup and the other against Manchester City in the league.

And although it is fair to say they have bigger fish to fry than the Europa League, Mikel Arteta will want to maintain their winning mentality and they look about right at 4/11 to win in 90 minutes.

But Sporting showed great attacking impetus in the first leg with young defender Goncalo Inacio getting forward and Pedro Goncalves a capable creator in the middle of the park, so an Arsenal win and both teams to score could be the way to play it at 11/5.

United should work their way past Andalusians

WhatReal Betis v Man Utd
WhereBenito Villamarin
When17.45, Thursday 16th March 2023
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsReal Betis 13/5, Draw 5/2, Man Utd 21/20

Responding to their 7-0 demolition by Liverpool, Manchester United won the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie with Real Betis 4-1 last Thursday and they are fancied to win again when the teams reconvene at the Benito Villamarin.

United were held to a 0-0 draw by strugglers Southampton last time out but they lost Casemiro, who was sent off, early in that game.

Betis' form since the start of the year has been patchy and they are not helped by the absences of star creator Nabil Fekir and key defender Luiz Felipe going into this game, so 21/20 for a United win looks worthwhile.

Goals could be at a premium at the Anoeta

WhatReal Sociedad v Roma
When20.00, Thursday 16th March 2023
How to watchBT Sport 1
OddsReal Sociedad 11/10, Draw 11/5, Roma 11/4

It is hard to get behind Real Sociedad, who not long ago looked nailed-on to finish best of the rest behind the El Clasico clubs in La Liga but are now struggling to cling on to a top-four spot.

Their top scorer Alexander Sorloth has gone off the boil a little, having failed to score in each of their last five contests, and the club are also winless in that run.

They were comfortably matched by mid-table Mallorca in Sunday's league contest which finished 1-1 and they go into the second leg of their Europa League tie with Roma 2-0 down.

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The first leg was pretty comfortable for Jose Mourinho's Roma, who limited their opponents to a solitary shot on target and are a capable defensive unit.

They have kept clean sheets in four of their last six games and, although their latest match was a 4-3 loss to Sassuolo, that only enhances appeal about them keeping things tight in this one with Mourinho likely to want a response.

Roma at 11/4 is tempting but the better bet could be one or both teams not to score at 4/6.

Old Lady favourites to do the double over Freiburg

WhatSC Freiburg v Juventus
WhereEuropa-Park Stadion
When17.45, Thursday 16th March 2023
How to watchBT Sport 7
OddsSC Freiburg 21/10, Draw 11/5, Juventus 11/8

Juventus were not long ago hit with a 15-point deduction in Serie A but that has not dampened the spirits of the Old Lady, who are climbing their way back into the European places in Italy's top flight.

But they are also a step closer to making the quarter-finals of the Europa League after a 1-0 win against Freiburg in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

The scoreline does not tell the whole story, though, with Juventus having thoroughly dominated Freiburg in that first leg, winning the shot count 20-1 and denying the Black Forest club a shot on target.

Juve followed that win with a 4-2 triumph over Sampdoria, meaning they have won five of their last six games in all competitions and they are a great bet at 11/8 to win the second leg and progress.

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