Football | Europa League & Europa Conference League 2023 | Round of 16 First Legs | Roundup

By Robert Wheeler

  • Manchester United fires four past Real Betis
  • Arsenal held to a draw by Sporting Lisbon
  • West Ham win comfortably in Cyrpus
Europe – Manchester United responded well to their drubbing by Liverpool to defeat Real Betis 4-1 with Arsenal and West Ham also in action.


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Europa League

Manchester United is back to winning ways

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After losing 7-0 to Liverpool last weekend. Erik ten Hag somehow managed another quick return to form following a stumble in the road as his side beat Real Betis convincingly.

Marcus Rashford gave them the lead after just six minutes. However, the Spanish side drew level when Leicester City loanee Ayoze Perez beat David de Gea. Perez soon came close to another but his attempt rebounded off the post.

The Red Devils started the second half well, with Antony curling in an effort from a wide angle to reclaim their advantage. Bruno Fernandes who has come under a lot of criticism recently headed in from a Luke Shaw corner which put them in the driving seat.

The victory was sealed when Wout Weghorst finally found the back of the net after a few missed chances and a goal ruled out for offside.

It was a remarkable victory, especially as ten Hag started with the same team that had lost so badly at Anfield. Their ability to come back from poor performances is becoming an impressive quality about this side.


Arsenal held by Sporting Lisbon

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Arsenal was lucky that the score is level heading back to the Emirates next week. The Gunners only managed a draw thanks to an own-goal from Hidemasa Morita.

Mikel Arteta‘s side had taken the lead through William Saliba who is quickly becoming very popular with their supporters. Goncalo Inacio then equalised for Sporting with a goal that was assisted by Englishman Marcus Edwards.

More bad defending by Arsenal led to Paulinho giving the Portuguese side the lead. Then a strike from Granit Xhaka was deflected off Morita and the game finished a two-a-piece.

The Europa League is a tough competition, one that affects your domestic action with a gruelling schedule. Arsenal is top of the Premier League but it may benefit them in the title race if they are to go out of European competition.

Europa Conference League

Hammers claim comfortable win in Cyprus

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West Ham United are struggling in the Premier League but they have won all seven of their Europa Conference League games. Michail Antonio scored both their goals to claim a 2-0 win over AEK Larnaca.

Antonio headed in from a Said Benrahma cross before firing in a curling effort to double their lead. Another boost for the Hammers was the return of Maxwel Cornet who has been out since November due to a calf injury.

David Moyes said that he was taking inspiration from Jose Mourinho‘s Roma ahead of this tie. Mourinho won this competition last season with the Italian side but he has been linked with replacing Moyes at the Hammers.

Their record in the Conference League is one of the factors as to why Moyes is still in the job and winning it is West Ham’s only hope of playing in Europe next season. The Hammers must, however, focus on not getting relegated, as that would be a bigger travesty than not having European action.

The return legs of the Europa League and Europa Conference League are next Thursday, March 16.