A big week of European fixtures come to a close tomorrow as Arsenal travel to Valencia and Chelsea welcome Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of the Europa League semi-finals.
Arsenal will be without Aaron Ramsey whilst Chelsea will take on their German opponents without midfield enforcer N’Golo Kante.
Read the thoughts of our football betting expert below, along with the best bets for all the semi-final second leg.
Arsenal v Valencia
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late goal at the Emirates last week ensures the Gunners begin the second leg with a two-goal advantage, one that on the face of things seems enough to put the tie to bed.
It was a comfortable 3-1 victory where Valencia rarely troubled the Arsenal backline. Their early goal came from a corner, not an uncharacteristic goal for Arsenal to concede, but from thereon the home side took control and, aside from some cute exchanges in midfield, the travelling side were lacklustre in their approach.
Yet there will be an element of doubt in the mind of Thursday’s visitors. They have a 33% win-rate away from home in the Premier League this season and, although their form on the road in Europe hasn’t been too shabby, an early Spanish goal could prove catastrophic for their confidence.
It’s going to be a slog, and we expect Valencia to win in normal time, with Arsenal progressing through the tie. You can get a 1-0 Valencia at 17/2 and 2-1 Valencia at 7/1 with Grosvenorsport.com.
Chelsea v Eintracht Frankfurt
If it were not for the German side’s poor result at the weekend, we’d be quietly confident of an upset on Thursday evening.
Die Adler have enjoyed a stunning European campaign this season, taking out respectable opponents throughout the knockout stages including Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan.
Their 6-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend foreshadows signs of a tired squad, however, and they’ll need every ounce of energy to thwart the Blues on home turf.
Nevertheless, Maurizio Sarri’s side were in need of brilliance from Pedro on their travels to southern Germany last week, and their hosts were unlucky not to come away with more than just a 1-1 draw on the night.
It’s a difficult one to call but the smart money is on Chelsea to see the job through at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea to win and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to carry on his superb European form with the first goal looks enticing at 17/2.
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