Europa League Semi Finals – Marseille vs RB Salzburg
This entry was posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018
Cleverly avoiding calling the Arsenal – Atletico match
Whatever the French is for, ‘there’s only one team in Europe,’ it must have had an airing with some relish in Marseille, who have lasted far longer than big-spending oil-clowns PSG in European competition this season. And for all the talk of Anfield on a big European night, the atmosphere in their home games will always play a factor in games like this.
Having consumed Red Bull Leipzig in the Quarters, Marseille will now attempt something very ill-advised indeed – downing two in a row. They are in fine form too – 13 goals in their last three matches, inspired by their dangerman Florian Thauvin. (Another man who has decided to return to form just in time for the World Cup is Dimitri Payet.)
Meanwhile, those surprised to see Salzburg on this large stage will get an even greater shock when they realise that their U19 side won last season’s UEFA Youth League. This season, the seniors have outplayed Borussia Dortmund, and came from 2-5 down on aggregate against Lazio to go through, thanks to three goals in four minutes. Maybe Red Bull really does give you wings, and their Middlesbrough-esque run to this stage will give them the belief that anything is possible. Just one defeat in their last 17 Europa League matches (in Rome no less where many bigger teams have come a cropper this season) shows they are no mugs at this level, even if their 11 point lead in the Austrian League comes with the caveat that it is the Austrian League.
There is no doubt that the incredible success of Salzburg and Leipzig show that Red Bull really know what they are doing in the world of sport (and that’s before we get to F1.) This may be a stage too far however, and the 1.7 available on a home win looks a shrewd bet.