The United Kingdom is still going strong in all three European competitions this year. The Champions League final is expected to have at least one English side competing for the trophy, whilst the Europa League and Europa Conference League are being represented by West Ham, Rangers and Leicester City.
West Ham and Rangers will face off with Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig respectively in this year’s Europa League semi-finals, whilst Leicester take on AS Roma in a Europa Conference League semi-final later this week.
Here is everything you need to know about the trio’s European journey so far and going forward.
The journey so far
West Ham are currently experiencing a history-making campaign that, no matter the outcome going forward, will live long in the memory of the Hammers’ faithful.
West Ham were drawn in Group H of this season’s Europa League alongside Dinamo Zagreb, Rapid Vienna and Genk.
And, apart from in their last group game, by which point they had already qualified for the knockout rounds, West Ham dominated their group – winning four and then drawing one.
The east Londoners were then paired against Europa League specialists Sevilla in the Round of 16, a tie they were expected to lose, especially after the first leg which they were dealt a 1-0 defeat in.
However, a Tomas Soucek equaliser and an extra-time strike from Andriy Yarmolenko was enough to book West Ham a spot in the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
David Moyes and co. then took on French outfit Lyon, drawing 1-1 in the first leg before picking up a 3-0 win away from home in the reverse fixture.
Like West Ham, Leicester City began 2021/22 in the Europa League. However, a shock loss to Legia Warszawa followed by a draw with Spartak Moscow and a defeat to Napoli in their final group game resigned the Foxes to the Europa Conference League.
From here, Leicester smashed minnows Randers FC 7-2 over two legs of a qualifying tie before seeing off Stade Rennais and PSV in Round of 16 and quarter-final matchups.
Rangers also began 2021/22 in the Europa League, but their campaign got off to a nightmare start when they lost their opening two games vs Lyon and Sparta Prague.
However, the Scottish outfit then picked up wins over Brondby IF and Sparta Prague as well as drawing to Brondby and Lyon in the second meetings between the pair.
This was enough for Rangers to clinch second spot in their group, drawing them against Borussia Dortmund, who had fallen out of the Champions League, in the Round of 16.
Despite being heavy underdogs vs BVB, Rangers beat the German side 4-2 and drew the reverse leg 2-2. An impressive accomplishment even if Dortmund could not call upon Erling Haaland for both legs.
West Ham: Declan Rice
West Ham have a number of players who have performed admirably in this year’s competition including Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma.
None, though, have impressed more than Declan Rice. The midfielder is West Ham’s captain despite only being 23 and it is easy to see why.
Rice led by example across West Ham’s Europa League journey to date and has also netted an impressive three goals in eight outings despite being a defensive midfielder.
Leicester City: Patson Daka
Despite very rarely completing 90 minutes for Leicester, Patson Daka is the Foxes’ top scorer in European competition this term.
The 23-year-old scored five in six Europa League group games this season and has netted a further one and provided one assist in four Europa Conference League ties, with said assist leading to the all-important winner vs PSV in the quarter-finals.
THE COMEBACK IS COMPLETE 🔥
Ricardo Pereira scores his first goal in Europe to surely send Leicester to the semi-final!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 14, 2022
Rangers: James Tavernier
Rangers’ star man during their 2021/22 Europa League campaign has most certainly been James Tavernier.
Even though he is a right-back, the Rangers captain has scored a staggering six goals and provided two assists in 11 Europa League outings this term.
The majority of those goal contributions have come in huge games as well, with only one assist and no goals in the group stages.
Chances of winning
With a fully fit squad, West Ham would be one of if not the favourite to win the Europa League heading into the semi-finals.
However, with Craig Dawson currently their only fit centre-back, two legs vs an intense, pacey, creative Eintracht Frankfurt may prove too much for Moyes and co.
Odds: West Ham are currently 2/1 to win the Europa League with bet365.
Leicester City are the joint-favourites to win the Europa Conference League along with Marseille.
However, if the Foxes do lift the trophy, they will certainly have had to work for it.
Jose Mourinho, despite his decline in recent years, remains something of an expert in high-profile cup games, with Tammy Abraham and co. sure to cause Leicester all sorts of issues in the semis.
Marseille – the side Leicester will likely face in the final – are also having an excellent 2021/22, sitting second in Ligue 1 with a superb defensive record.
Leicester are currently 9/4 to win the Europa Conference League with bet365.
Despite causing a major upset against Dortmund, Rangers are, and probably rightfully so, clear outsiders to win the Europa League.
They are facing arguably the best side left in the competition in the form of RB Leipzig in the semis and, even if they no make it past them, which seems unlikely, West Ham and Frankfurt are, on paper, better teams than the Scottish outfit.
Rangers are currently 8/1 to win the Europa League with bet365.
This article was edited by Ben Browning.
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