Arsenal and Slavia Prague will meet this Thursday night at Etihad in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals. The guests from the Czech Republic eliminated two teams from the British island in the previous rounds, but this will be their biggest challenge so far. Meanwhile, Arsenal looks to save the season and win the EL title, thus securing the ticket for the next edition of the UEFA Champions League. Also, the Gunners want to bring some international silverware to London, their first since 1994, third in history.
Arsenal (-205) didn’t win in the past three games, thus reaching a very bad situation before this matchup. The Gunners lost at home to Olympiacos, then played 3-3 against West Ham on the road, before being smashed at Etihad against Liverpool, past Saturday, 0-3. It was one of the worst games of the year for Arsenal.
As usual, they are very inconsistent, and like so many times in the recent two or three years, Arsenal has troubles in the backline. That part of the team is, let’s say, mediocre at least, and it prevents this side from posting much better results.
By the way, just one of the past five games Arsenal played didn’t saw over 2.5 goals, and seven in the past ten were with both teams to score.
Slavia Prague (+500) eliminated Leicester, and after that, Glasgow Rangers, and they know how to play once jumping over La Manche. In both matchups, the Czechs were excellent, and they played modern football, outsmarting the respective rivals.
At the moment, they are on a fantastic streak that saw them not losing in 21 consecutive games. During that span, Slavia won 16 events and posted five draws, with the majority of contests ending with over 2.5 goals.
However, the previous four concluded with them not allowing a single hit in their net, while on the other side, they managed to score nine times.
David Luiz and Kieran Tierney are both ruled out for this match, both due to knee injuries. Odegaard is doubtful.
Deli, Hovorka, Kudela, Traore, are all out due to health issues, while Beran, Kacharaba, Yusuf, and Van Buren are ruled out because of the head coach’s decision. However, we need to say that Slavia has numerous absences for a long time.
Head to Head Games
These teams played in the 2007 UEFA Champions League group stage. The first event in London saw the hosts beating the Czechs 7-0, but the rematch in Prague ended without goals. That draw saw the Gunners losing the top spot in that assembly.
With the way, both sides play, under 2.5 goals would be the smartest choice for betting here. Arsenal is very bad in recent times, which is why we expect to see Arteta coming out with a bit more conservative approach. As for the visitors from Prague, their game plan is undoubtedly ultra-defensive, and as we saw in the recent past, Slavia’s backline knows how to stop the opponent. The odds for our prediction are -110, which is very good from this perspective and worth trying.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals -110
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.