Thursday 2 May: 8pm KO
Live on BT Sport
Arsenal have seen a slump in form in recent weeks and that has put their chances of making it into the top four of the Premier League at risk. If all fails and they don’t get into the Champions League in that way they can still reach the promised land by winning the Europa League They host Valencia in this semi-final first leg and their Spanish opponents find themselves in a similar position.
With two games to go in the Premier League, Arsenal are struggling to secure a top-four finish. Their latest defeat on Sunday has left them in fifth position, two points behind Chelsea and even worse four behind third-placed Tottenham. Even winning their final two fixtures might not get them into the top four. There are odds of 9/4 (3.25) at William Hill on them finishing at least fourth in the Premier League.
The Gunners have hit a bad patch at just the wrong time of the season. They have lost their last three games and their defending is appalling at present with three goals conceded in each of those matches. It’s 10/1 (11.0) if you place a wager at SkyBet that Valencia score at least three goals in this game, something they did in the away leg of their quarter-final.
Arsenal’s away form was a massive problem last season and the same nightmare is being repeated now with four losss in their last six games, yet they won at Napoli. Their home record has been highly impressive this season unless facing sides from Manchester. However, even that form has slipped of late with a 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace on Easter Sunday.
They need to get a lead to take to Spain for the second leg and can be backed at 1/1 (2.0) at Betfair to win this first leg. They may of won in Napoli but had lost at both BATE and Rennes in their previous two Europa League away games. You can get odds of 5/2 (3.5) at Ladbrokes that Arsenal win this season’s Europa League.
Valencia are sixth in La Liga with three games to go and that’s three points behind the final Champions League position. Two of their final three games are against sides in the relegation zone so they may well sneak into the top four. If not, then to be in the Champions League next season, they need to win the Europa League. The odds on them doing that are 7/2 (4.5) at 888sport.
The Spanish side began this season in Europe’s top club competition but could only finish third behind Juventus and Manchester United. That was mainly due to their away form that saw them score just once and get two points from three games.
They have shown better away form in the Europa League with wins at Celtic and Villarreal and a draw at Krasnodar. Just like their opponents, Valencia come into this game in poor form with two straight league defeats by Eibar and Atletico Madrid. They can be backed at 3/1 (4.0) at Unibet to win this game at the Emirates.
Arsenal have played Valencia on five previous occasions and only beaten them once. There have been under 2.5 goals scored in three of those matches. At Paddy Power they have odds of 4/5 (1.8) on this Europa League game seeing that stat come up again.
Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil both missed the weekend defeat at Leicester Ciy and are doubtful for this game.
Valencia Away Goal?
An away goal would be a big bonus for Valencia and they have scored in all but one of their last 11 matches on their travels. That includes scoring at Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Celtic. You can get odds of5/11 (1.45) with Sportingbet on them scoring in this game.
Arsenal are struggling at present but do have a good home record. They need to get a home lead with their susspect away form. A bet on Arsenal to win with both teams scoring is available at 3.0 (4.0) at Betfred.