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Here are five players you should definitely keep tabs on in the quarterfinals of UEL

UEFA is back and the fans have been eager. The Europa league will complement the UCL like some much needed and appreciated seasoning. Big teams like Arsenal and Napoli will be duking it out in heated battles. Every team has something to lose. A loss means more pressure in the second leg while a win adds relief and momentum.

The stakes are high not exclusively because of boards with loft aspirations but loyal fans as well. A loss here could leave a bitterness that might ill-affect the rest of the season. As teams and fans stay cautiously optimistic, here’s a look at the Top 5 players to watch in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Europa League.


#5 JOAO FELIX

Portugal’s team is rising with the spirit of an eagle. If CR7 sticks around till the next World Cup, the possibilities could be endless. The product of the Benfica youth team is in high demand and his value is getting bullish by the hour. Drawing comparisons from both Kaka and Ronaldo, the teenager is no doubt the object of jealousy among most football players. Maybe you do not agree with all the reason but the hype is not conjured out of thin air.

The teenager has scored 10 goals in 15 matches with 4 assists just to put the cherry on the top. He seems almost omnipresent at times giving people a hard to time to pinpoint a single position to assign him. He shifts between an out and out striker and a winger depending on the circumstances using his creativity and technicality to polish the Benfica side to glisten with the shine of fake teeth in a toothpaste commercial.



#4 KALIDOU KOULIBALY

Napoli is not even close to running low on great players. While Lorenzo Insigne or Dries Mertens might be the knee-jerk choice, Koulibaly has been a force to be reckoned with. He has great defending stats in all competitions, averaging over 1 in both tackles and interceptions. Versatility is his middle name as he often shifts from a traditional CB to a full-back at a moments notice giving Napoli a strategic edge over their opponents.

Koulibaly's stopping and jockeying power are among the best in the world. One cannot count the no. of attacks he’s thwarted and it didn’t matter if they were charging at him with the force of a thousand suns. His tackles, including the more aggressive sliding tackles have often been exceptionally clean. With interception skills, amazing jockeying ability, clean-as-a-whistle tackles and a large frame to boot, his spark is reminiscent to that of Ledley King. From the looks of his recent form, only great things are anticipated.



#3 ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE


The Frenchman who was not picked to represent the champions, Le Bleu in the World Cup 2018 is fighting tooth and nail to make sure he’s never passed over again. He has been one of the key reasons as to why Arsenal regained their mojo this season. He has scored 13 goals and 8 assists in the league, inching closer to the frontrunners on the stats column as the matches go by. His speed and winger to centre forward switching has proved extremely handy to Arsenal.

Sometimes, Lacazette will switch to midfield in pressure situations. His link up with fellow forward, Aubameyang and Ozil has been as smooth as a fine wine. Arsenal have quite the challenge against Carlo Ancelotti and Co. but Unai Emery will be looking at Lacazette and Aubameyang to break that Koulibaly-sized barrier.



#2 PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

The Gabonese striker has reigned terror on defences this season. His 17 goal tally stands as a clear testament to his dominance in the league. His blistering pace, coordination among attackers and stamina to allow maximum ground coverage has been Emery’s ace in the hole. His brace brought them back from the teetering edge in the second leg of the RO16 against Rennes.

Aubameyang's chemistry with Lacazette will be extremely tricky to counter. His finishing is pretty good as well. The former-Dortmund speed demon is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving. Napoli would do well to mark him from the get go.



#1 EDEN HAZARD

Eden Hazard has proved himself to be arguably the best in the world behind CR7 and LM10. He is simply the best dribbler in the premier league by a long shot. His first goal against West Ham provides proof of his unbridled excellence. He is one of the most versatile players in the world, covering an insane amount of ground in every match. A true jack of all trades, he constantly shifts his position to fit the needs of the game, primarily favouring the wing and false-9 positions.

 Leading the assists in the PL (12) and not far off in the goals column (16), the Belgian is receiving praise from even the harshest of cynics. It’s no surprise that Real Madrid are interested in him. He has been Chelsea’s rock this season and from the looks of things, he will not be afraid to carry his team alone in the UEL match against Slavia Praha.   



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