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Europa League preview: Chelsea, Arsenal meet big names

britain Soccer Europa League

Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud, centre left, and Willian during a training session at Cobham Training Ground outside London, Wednesday May 1, 2019. Chelsea will play Eintracht in a Europa League Semi-final first leg match on Thursday. (Steven Paston/PA via AP)


There are only big boys left in the Europa League, and the tests awaiting Arsenal and Chelsea aren’t sleepy ones.

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The Gunners tangle with La Liga mainstays Valencia while their London rivals meet dangerous Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt come Thursday in Germany.

Chelsea will neither have Antonio Rudiger nor Gary Cahill as options in the center of the park, meaning there’s only one safety net to go with Andreas Christensen and David Luiz in the middle.

“We are in trouble with the centre-backs. In the last two trainings we played with Cesar Azpilicueta as a centre-back because I think he is the only other one who can play there. So we are in trouble but this is normal as we have played about 58 games. In the past we were lucky with injuries but in the last 10 days not.”

Eintracht presents a huge problem with a variety of terrific attackers including Real Madrid target Luka Jovic.

Arsenal faces an opponent with similar challenges to itself when it comes to a return to the Champions League; Valencia sits sixth, three points back of Getafe and Sevilla. Only one of the three will go to the Champions League as La Liga’s fourth place team, unless Valencia wins the UEL.

Gunners boss Unai Emery used to run Valencia, well before he was a UEL force with Sevilla, but says not much has changed besides his age. From

“My career is about thinking about progressing and learning every day,” he said. “I was there for four years and I enjoyed it. I worked, I learned, I had some very good moments. I also have a lot of friends there, my son and some other big parts of my life.”

Follow @NicholasMendola