In addition to the Champions League semifinal draw on Friday, the Europa League semi draw also took place with the two biggest contenders remaining in the cup facing off in the semifinals.

Atletico Madrid will take on Arsenal, while Marseille faces Red Bull Salzburg. 

Now, this is a tournament that means much more to Arsenal, Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg when it comes to next season. As the winner of this cup gets a spot in the Champions League group stage, Atletico Madrid is nearly assured that with it sitting in second place in La Liga. 

Arsenal currently sits in sixth place in the Premier League, while Marseille is fourth. Neither of them are in a Champions League qualification spot, so winning this cup can get them there. It’s also extra incentive for Salzburg. They are in first place in the Austrian Bundesliga, but the winner only gets a spot in the Champions League playoffs. If they win the cup, they’ll jump that phase and be in the group stage. 

Rankings

1) Atletico Madrid — The most complete team, the most talented team remaining, Diego Simeone’s club is the favorite to lift the trophy in May. 

2) Arsenal — Not the trophy Arsenal fans are dying for, but it’s a trophy regardless and one with a big incentive of Champions League qualification. These team is more than good enough in attack to win it, but can its average defense step up?

3) Marseille — Dimitri Payet just, keep doing you. This guy is good enough to carry his team through to the final, and his ability in the final third means the French club can certainly win this competition.

Extra incentive for Marseille — the final is in Lyon, France. A potential home match with a trophy on the line.

4) Red Bull Salzburg – They’ve got some good players but are far and away the least likely team to win this cup. They’ll have to beat Marseille and then a giant in Arsenal and Atletico to win the cup. Not likely to happen, but they work hard enough together that they can make the final.

Predictions

Arsenal over Atletico Madrid
Marseille over Red Bull Salzburg

The first legs will be on April 26, and the return legs on May 3. 


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