Arsenal have drawn CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarterfinals. This is a good draw for the Gunners, and they should be favored to advance from the tie. More importantly, Arsenal dodged Atlético Madrid for another round. Coincidentally, of the possible destinations for the quarterfinals, Moscow is the furthest for Arsenal - good thing the club is sponsored by Emirates Airlines.
CSKA defeated Lyon in the round of 16, advancing on away goals, and Red Star Belgrade in the round of 32. They entered the Europa League after bowing out of the Champions League in the group stages. CSKA currently sits tied for second in the Russian Premier League, 8 points behind Lokomotiv Moscow. The focal point of CSKA’s attack is 24 year-old Brazilian forward Vitinho, who leads the club in goals in all competitions with 10.
Arsenal and CSKA Moscow’s only other meetings came in the group stage of the 2006-07 Champions League. CSKA beat Arsenal 1-0 in Moscow and earned a draw at the Emirates. Arsenal eventually won the group and CSKA failed to advance.
The tie will be played on April 5th at the Emirates with the return leg coming April 12th in Moscow at the VEB Arena. Alexandre Lacazette should be fit for the tie, giving Arsenal some much needed striker depth - Danny Welbeck played in both legs against Milan more out of necessity than anything else. As we all know by now, winning the Europa League represents Arsenal’s only realistic shot at returning to Champions League football next season.
The other matchups are:
RB Leipzig vs. Marseille
Atlético Madrid vs. Sporting Lisbon
Lazio vs. Salzburg