The Spanish duel, between neighbors Villarreal and Valencia, and the favorites clash between Arsenal and Naples are the 'strong favorites' of the quarter-finals of the Europa League in football, first-hand on Thursday.
On a day when there is expected to be a balance in the Light between Benfica and Eintrach Frankfurt and Chelsea begin to outline their superiority in the Slavia Prague stronghold, the Spanish match starts playing in the Ceramic Stadium.
Where they have knocked out Sporting in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw after a 1-0 win at Alvalade, Villarreal will try to keep the 'fairy tale' alive in Europe at a time when follows in descent position in the Spanish League.
The set of Javi Calleja leaves, however, as an outsider, vis-a-vis a more accredited neighbor, of which is about 60 kilometers, a Valencia that is sixth in 'La Liga', after having suffered the first weekend snub in 18 games.
The set in which several ex-benfiquista line up, namely the Portuguese Gonçalo Guedes, but also Rodrigo and Garay, will try to repeat the socks of 2011/12 and 2013/14 and to leave for the seventh Spanish win in 10 editions, after three triumphs of Sevilla and other so many of Atletico Madrid.
In the Spanish championship, where they are separated by 12 points and 16 points, the two teams tied for zero at Villarreal on 23 September, and in the second round on 26 January Valencia triumph at home 3-0.
In London, Arsenal, in an intense internal fight to enter the four places of access to the Champions, receives a Naples that is second in Italy and has this as a given almost acquired in a championship that Juventus is about to conquer.
The Gunners will be able to present some savings but certainly not many because the winner of the Europa League also has a place in the Champions League group stage and because the Spanish coach Unai Emery will want the Tetra, after three titles at the command of Seville (2013/14 to 2015/16).
As for Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli, he will be at full strength, even as the goal is to win a second European trophy, repeating the feat he achieved – the UEFA Cup in 1988/89 – when Diego Armando Maradona .
The balance is expected on the undercard, much more than in the other clash involving an English club, Chelsea, which is clearly favorite against Slavia Prague, even taking into account that the Czechs eliminated the 'specialist' Sevilla.
The Czech Republic will be the scene of the first meeting, and it was precisely at Eden Arena that the Spaniards 'fell' 4-3 after a 2-2 draw in Seville.
The Londoners, who like Arsenal's neighbors are struggling for access to the Champions League in the Premier League, are strong candidates to repeat the 2012/13 title, so after beating Benfica in the final (2-1 in Amsterdam).
The 'incarnates' are playing at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, with the Portuguese side leading the way to a better record in the competition, where they add up to two lost finals and one more semi-final appearance.
The Germans, however, are having a great season, they have already made it to the quarter of the Bundesliga, which would give them an unprecedented presence in the Champions League, and have not lost any game (nine wins and six draws) since the break. Winter.
In addition, Eintracht are undefeated in the Europa League with eight wins and two draws in 10 games, and have already left behind two Champions' teams, Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan.
The four first-leg games of the Europa League quarter-finals in football, like those of the second, are all scheduled for 20:00 (in Lisbon).