Valencia host Arsenal at the Mestalla Stadium in the 2nd leg of their Europa League semi-final clash, kicking off on Thursday, at 9:00pm local time in Spain. Arsenal are in the driving seat with a 3-1 advantage, but Valencia can look to Arsenal’s away record to see that they are not out of this tie yet.
Home Team: Valencia
Valencia have a huge couple of weeks to finish their season with it all to play for. A Europa League final is just 90 minutes away as long as they win by a 2-0 margin, or more, in their 2nd leg against Arsenal. Following that, they still have an outside chance of reaching the top four in La Liga, as well as the Copa Del Rey final with Barcelona.
The Spanish side would have been gutted to lose a late goal to Arsenal in the first leg, as a 3-1 result is tough to take especially as they took the lead in the match and looked comfortable in the earlier stages. Valencia have it all to do, but their performance at the week showed there is goals in this team, with them defeating, and relegating, Huesca at the weekend with a 6-2 away victory.
Valencia will likely return to their more defensively tight approach on Thursday, and will have confidence they can beat Arsenal in the same manner they defeated Manchester United in the Champions League back in December.
Away Team: Arsenal
Arsenal’s only hope of achieving their objective for this season, qualifying for next season’s Champions League, is by winning the Europa League. They have surrendered their league position in recent weeks from a probable top four spot, and are now condemned to missing out.
Arsenal’s only positive results in recent weeks have come in this competition, with wins’ home and away to Napoli, as well as last week’s first leg victory. Arsenal showed plenty of grit and determination to come from behind to beat Valencia with Alexandre Lacazette scoring a brace, and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang scoring a last minute goal to really put the odds in their favour.
They really needed to win by a big advantage, as they have been close to disastrous on the road all season, in the Premier League, as well as Europe. Will they be able to see out their advantage and progress to the Europa League final?
Head to Head
Arsenal’s first leg win was only their 2nd ever win against Valencia in 7 attempts. Valencia still hold the edge in the head to head record with three victories. At the Mestalla, Arsenal have lost on their two previous visits, losing 1-0 in a 2001 quarter final 2nd leg, and again in the 2nd group stage phase just two years later by a 2-1 score line.
Admittedly, Arsenal wouldn’t mind losing again if it was by those score lines, as they would progress.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Valencia are at 17/20 to get the win on the night, with Arsenal underdogs at 29/10 to win, or even earn a draw at 14/5. To qualify, Arsenal are favourites at 2/7 to progress to the final, with the hosts at 5/2 to pull off a decent comeback. I anticipate the Europa League being an all-English final, so I expect Arsenal to avoid pain in Spain, and will go through despite a narrow defeat.
I would tip Valencia to win by a 2-1 score line at 15/2. For goal scorers, you can back both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Daniel Parejo to score at 13/2. Valencia have started to concede a lot more goals lately, but their home defensive record is still impressive, so you should consider betting on them to keep a clean sheet at 2/1.
Finally, it may be a famous night in Europe for Arsenal, so if you feel they can win in Valencia as they did in Naples, it may be worth betting on Alexandre Lacazette to outscore the opposition at a generous 10/1.[geot country="US,CA" ]
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