UEFA Europa League: Manchester United-Roma, Villarreal-Arsenal betting odds, predictions, expert picks

Only one thing can come close to matching the excitement of UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg soccer and that is Europa League semi-finals.

Tuesday brings us Real Madrid vs. Chelsea, Wednesday Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City and Thursday packs the double delight of Manchester United vs. AS Roma and Villarreal vs. Arsenal.

Who will come out on top? Can the Italians continue to save their best soccer for continental competition? Can Unai Emery mastermind another UEL success story at the expense of his former club?

So many storylines are there to be written. See what our experts make of it and see how their predictions match up with your own.

All Europa League games can be viewed live and on demand on Paramount+. A special edition of “The Golazo Show,” the live whip-around program featuring every goal from every match, will air live on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+ starting at 2 p.m. ET with Kate Abdo along with analysts Jamie Carragher, Roberto Martinez and Alex Scott.

Let’s get to the predictions:

Manchester United vs. Roma

Date: Thursday, April 29 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+

Featured Game | Manchester United vs. Roma

Rongen’s take: The Red Devils have lost four semifinals under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but they will surely feel that a first trophy since 2017 is within their grasp. Pick: Manchester United 2, Roma 0

Romano’s take: Man United have more solidity as a team, but Roma have their entire season at stake in this match and play with big “heart.” They can muster an important goal, but United are favorites here. Pick: Manchester United 2, Roma 1

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Echegaray’s take: Man United remain my favorite to win the Europa League as there is quite simply too much depth and in this competition, that’s a key factor that can make all the difference, especially in the late minutes of a game. Roma’s extraordinary loss to 17th placed Cagliari this past weekend really showed just how vulnerable they are. The fact that beat Ajax to get here in the first place, still amazes me. I see United taking this game. I don’t think it will be ugly for Roma, but it will be uncomfortable. Pick: Manchester United 2, Roma 0

Johnson’s take: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troops brushed Granada aside relatively easily, but the Italian side is unpredictable and won away at Roma in the quarterfinals. Do not write Paulo Fonseca’s men off here as they have little else to play for after falling away in Serie A. Roma to take a big away goal back to the capital. Pick: Manchester United 1, Roma 1

Benge’s take: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has been a relentless juggernaut in the Europa League since dropping out of the Champions League, conceding just one goal in six games. Recent wobbles in form mean Roma’s season is all about this competition, but while that should make them a tougher opponent, a team that has won two of seven in April ought not to hold too much fear for United. Pick: Manchester United 1, Roma 0

Gonzalez’s take: Manchester United just played a dud of a game in attack against Leeds and bounce back here, putting Roma in an uncomfortable position entering the second leg. Pick: Manchester United 2, Roma 0

Herrera’s take: Man United, the more organized side, should come out on top, but Roma have had impressive Europa League matches and have shown they can contend in shootouts and in tight games. Expect experience to come into play for United in this one. Pick: Manchester United 2, Roma 1

Goodman’s take: United continue to take care of business, quietly putting together a very strong season both domestically and in Europe sitting second in the Premier League while they’ve cruised to the Europa League semifinals. Roma, meanwhile currently sit seventh in Serie A and are in a fight just to return to European competition next season. United’s superior talent shows. Pick: Manchester United 2, Roma 0

Villarreal vs. Arsenal

Date: Thursday, April 29 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Live stream: Paramount+

Featured Game | Villarreal vs. Arsenal

Rongen’s take: Appointing Emery as Villarreal manager in July, a triple winner of the UEFA Europa League, so far is evidence of how shrewd that choice was. Pick: Villarreal 2, Arsenal 0

Romano’s take: With so much balance at display here, Arsenal can still come out well from this first match with a valuable result. Speed will be key in this type of match. Pick: Villarreal 1, Arsenal 1

Echegaray’s take: It’s honestly amazing how things turn out sometimes. Unai Emery, Arsenal’s former manager, left the club after much unrest and reported unease among the club and squad. Now, he faces them feeling somewhat vindicated as Arsenal fans know that their club’s issues are far deeper than a manager. Emery loves this tournament. He took Sevilla to three titles and of course, the Gunners to the final in 2018-2019. Villarreal are still fighting for a European place in La Liga, something that is not confirmed, so taking el submarino amarillo to the final will be a key priority. But on the other side, that’s exactly Mike Arteta’s hope as Europe seems even more unlikely for them in the Premier League. As I write this, Alexandre Lacazatte’s absence seems likely and even more for Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who is meant to return to light training later this week. So that means the young Gunners have to step up. Aside from the wonderful Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and others, Gabriel Martinelli needs a massive game. I don’t really see it and Arsenal still have to deal with the might of Gerard Moreno. Villarreal haven’t lost at home in this competition and I don’t think it starts now. Pick: Villarreal 2, Arsenal 1

Johnson’s take: Unai Emery comes up against his former club and if there is one guy you do not want to cross in the Europa League, it is the Spaniard. I expect Mikel Arteta’s Gunners to get an away goal, but they will still be up against it over two legs. Villarreal in the driving seat. Pick: Villarreal 2, Arsenal 1

Benge’s take: The Gunners need no reminding of Unai Emery’s excellence in this competition but they themselves have been good travelers in this competition, scoring eight goals in three road games in the knockout stages. Much will depend on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s availability as he battles malaria, though if he is not fit, do not be surprised if young tyro Gabriel Martinelli gets the larger role he merits. At the other end, Arsenal can ill afford their customary mistake with Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno waiting to pounce. Pick: Villarreal 1, Arsenal 1

Gonzalez’s take: Unai Emery gets to face off against his former club and gets a rude gift from the visitors as his as the Gunners overpower the Yellow Submarine and put one foot into the final. Pick: Villarreal 1, Arsenal 3

Herrera’s take: Villarreal have dominated against their opposition in the deep stages, while Arsenal have had some lapses. Speed in attack on Villarreal’s top line could give Arsenal some problems. Expect a draw for this one. Pick: Villarreal 1, Arsenal 1

Goodman’s take: Unai Emery’s Europa League magic will be put to the test by an Arsenal squad whose performances over the second half of the season have been significantly better than their results. This match will end with the perfect result to set up an enthralling second leg. Pick: Villarreal 2, Arsenal 1

Thanks for checking us out, and good luck with your picks!

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