The Europa League quarter-final ties resume on Thursday, with Arsenal in the best position of the last eight teams after thumping CSKA Moscow 4-1 in the first leg at the Emirates.
This week’s hosts will have nothing to lose when they welcome the Gunners to the VEB Arena and will be hoping it won’t be too late to make amends for letting in four goals in a game that was effectively over at half-time.
Wenger’s side will be pleased to be in such a good position, particularly given their disappointing domestic campaign that they have been experiencing. The Europa League is now their only source of salvation as well as their only route back into Europe’s more elite competition, the Champions League.
Despite the tie appearing all but sealed on paper, there are some tasty markets on offer with Grosvenorsport.com as our football expert takes you through some of the best.
Gunners to capitalise
As you can imagine, Arsenal travel to Russia as heavy 25/23 favourites but there is value to be found in the goal scorers markets, with the Gunners’ unlikely to take their foot off the gas given that the trophy is their only way back into the Champions League for next season.
They are under pressure but, luckily, are able to reap the rewards of the return of Alexandre Lacazette, who has scored three in his first three back for the Gunners this month, including a brace in last week’s first leg. He is the Gunners’ top goal scorer in all competitions, despite missing most of February and all of March through injury.
The Frenchman will be looking to pick up where he left off, having been involved in 12 goals in his last 11 starts in the Europa League, scoring 10 and assisting two, so I’d be more than tempted to go for the generous 9/2 on offer for him to score first in Moscow.
Although Russian footballing atmospheres are widely revered and will certainly make life harder for Arsenal, it may not altogether be the best news for CSKA that they are playing this second leg at home, given the away goals rule.
CSKA failed to capitalise on the opportunity to secure more than one away goal last week and, given that at this point they must go all out with nothing to lose, they could leave themselves wide open to an Arsenal side who I think will render the tie dead and buried well before the 90-minute mark.
The hosts did, however, win on away goals during the previous round against Lyon, but I think a repeat of that is likely out of reach here. It will be the ultimate test of CSKA Moscow’s character but, should they go behind first, it’s going to be a tremendous blow to morale and I’d say it could be worth the 14/5 available for the away team to win to nil.