Europa League Quarterfinals: Your Running Commentary

GarethBaleEuropaLeague (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Three English clubs remain as the Europa League moves into it’s quarter-final stage.

Chelsea, last season’s Champions League winners, face Rubin Kazan, who previously dethroned the defending Europa League champs Atletico Madrid in the round of 32.

Tottenham hope to stop their recent domestic slide when Gareth Bale and co. welcome  Basel to White Hart Lane, while Newcastle travel to sunny Lisbon to face Benfica. Turkish side Fenerbahce takes on Lazio in the only other match not featuring an English side in the quarterfinals.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (and check out our preview of all four quarterfinal match-ups after the jump):

CHELSEA vs. RUBIN KAZAN

3:05pm, Fox Soccer Channel

Players to Watch: CHELSEA – Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard, David Luiz; RUBIN KAZAN – Salomon Rondon, Roman Eremenko, Bebras Natkho, Gokdeniz Karadeniz

Quick Kicks: Chelsea will be missing two of their key defenders from this season, with Ashley Cole set for an extended spell on the sidelines, and Gary Cahill likely to miss out due to a knee problem. Ryan Bertrand will likely make it into the starting lineup, with the veteran John Terry to take Cahill’s place. Kazan have a full squad to choose from, and will likely see Bebras Natkho come into the starting lineup, coming off two solid matches for Israel during the international break.

TOTTENHAM vs. BASEL

3:05pm, Fox Soccer Plus

Players to Watch: TOTTENHAM – Emmanuel Adebayor, Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson; BASEL – Alexander Frei, Mohamed Salah, Marco Strellar, Valentin Stocker.

Quick Kicks: Jermaine Defoe’s groin injury means he won’t be available for Tottenham, but otherwise manager Andres Villas-Boas will have a full squad to choose from. Hugo Lloris has recovered from a knee injury but he’ll likely stay on the bench, as Brad Friedel has been the preferred goalkeeper for the Europa League. Basel meanwhile will have to deal with the loss of three players to suspension; David Degan, Park-Joo Ho and Marcelo Diaz.

FENERBAHCE vs. LAZIO

3:05pm, Fox Soccer 2Go

Players to Watch: FENERBAHCE – Dirk Kuyt, Moussa Sow, Miroslav Stoch, Raul Mereiles; LAZIO – Libor Kozak, Sergio Floccari, Hernanes, Mauro Zarate.

Quick Kicks: Lazio enters the match as the only remaining unbeaten team in the competition (not including teams that transferred in from the Champions League). They are 8-0-4 in the current tournament, going back to the playoff rounds. The Roman club has enjoyed success against Turkish teams in the past, posting a 6-1-1 mark in previous meetings with Turkish teams. Fenerbahce’s record against Italian teams is far worse. They are 3-10 in 13 previous meetings with Italian sides. This match-up marks Fenerbahce’s first foray into the Europa League quarterfinals.

BENFICA vs. NEWCASTLE

3:05pm, Fox Soccer 2Go

Players to Watch: BENFICA – Oscar Cardozo, Nemanja Matic, Ola John, Nicolas Gaitan; NEWCASTLE – Papiss Cisse, Jonas Gutierrez, Moussa Sissoko, Yohan Cabaye

Quick Kicks: Benfica comes into the match winners of four matches since making the move from the UEFA Champions League group stage to the Europa League knockout rounds. Newcastle have recorded four straight shutouts and can tie the competition’s record with a shutout today. The Magpies are 1-1-4 in six road matches in the current Europa League competition. Benfica has faced English opponents in European quarterfinal match-ups five previous times, and have lost all five times. This match-up is the first meeting between the two long-standing clubs.

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21 Responses to Europa League Quarterfinals: Your Running Commentary

  1. Peter says:

    Hmmm, Dempsey is on the bench of a Europa tie, and Defoe is out injured. Dempsey truly doesn’t have a position on this Hotspur team other than poacher if we’re down. He doesn’t provide possession, nor is truly an attacking option.

    • jones says:

      And worse, now Lennon goes out injured and Dempsey doesn’t even make it in. Holtby, Sigurdsson and Adebayor all on now.

    • jones says:

      Perhaps he has a bit of a returning injury and isn’t match fit. I’m certain we’ll see him in the second half at least.

    • Eric says:

      Dempsey had the flu. Prolly still not feeling real good.

  2. jones says:

    wow, 2-0. Spurs look like they might exit soon.

  3. jones says:

    Anyone know where Walker is? Defense doesn’t look great today.

  4. ATX_Colin says:

    I could see this coming, as much as I hate to say it, he doesnt seem to possess the qualities of a top class attacking player. he doesnt have blazing speed nor does he have the vision to unlock a defense with creative through balls. He can finish well, puts himself in the righ spots, and has a great work rate but at the level he himself desires to play those are attributes of a role player.

  5. xmen says:

    Put DEMPSEY IN. Let him Run FREE

  6. Kmac014 says:

    Anyone see the bale injury? Is it bad?

  7. Travis says:

    Bale got stretchered off with an ankle injury, if he is out for any length of time (2+ games) I think Spurs can kiss the CL goodbye next year.

  8. Peter says:

    I’ve watched about 60% of Spurs games and Dempsey doesn’t warrant a start because he provides less presence than Dembele, is not as creative and energizing as Sigurdsson, can’t run nor provide service as Lennon, can’t score like Bale, is not a Tottenham product and heart of team like Parker, doesn’t cost as much as Holtby, and is not Adebayor. To me in most of my games, which I do root for him hard, he just kind of fades in and out the game. I never feel he doesn’t anything that is a threat. When he is put out there, I just feel it’s just to have veteran presence on the field. I feel he is out of his depth at Hotspur, because he is a poacher and nothing more, and Hotspur do not have a lack for guys who can score. A team like Stoke, Sunderland, or even Newcastle now would have been perfect, and even Liverpool would have been fine, because they are full of youth and really need a veteran presence. I hope he finds his way at Tottenham, because I think they are still a CL team, but Dempsey should have stayed at Fulham, and became a free agent then went to Turkey.

    • Conrad says:

      Truth.

    • ronniet says:

      No worries, pessimist such as yourself is what drives Dempsey and what has driven him his whole career! He’s been doubted many a times before and has come out on top and i believe this another one of those scenarios #SleptOn

      • Conrad says:

        I hope you’re right, but…who has doubted Deuce, exactly? Even at Donovan’s peak form, there was a constant hum of “landycakes” doubters. But Dempsey, as far as I can recall, has pretty high approval ratings. But lately he has been poor. Even his goal in Colorado was purely opportunistic. I understand he’s been injured, and someone said he had the flu. I’m rooting for him, but he’s not above criticism. Or doubt.
        Only Freddy Adu is.

    • biff says:

      Hey, “Peter.” How’s your buddy Martin Jowl doing? Just wanted to let you know you have won Grand Prize for being the stup–let me rephrase that, the most idiotic troll up to this point, spouting your words of (ha-ha) wisdom, such as Dempsey “is not Adebayor.” Wow. What a brilliant statement, man.

      Hey, but let’s repeat this farcical part of your post, just for a few more laughs (at you).

      “Peter” says: “Dempsey doesn’t warrant a start because he provides less presence than Dembele, is not as creative and energizing as Sigurdsson, can’t run nor provide service as Lennon, can’t score like Bale, is not a Tottenham product and heart of team like Parker, doesn’t cost as much as Holtby, and is not Adebayor.”

      Doesn’t cost as much as Holtby? Huh? Can anyone else figure that one out?

      You are too much, “Peter.” I thought you guys from across the pond were supposed to be smarter. Pull your head, buddy, before you kill your few remaining brain cells.

  9. hudson says:

    Dempsey really is becoming Tottenham’s forgotten man. I’d be surprised if he’s still with Spurs next season. Just not a good fit for a team built around pace, and Bale in particular.