Europa League best bets: Arsenal to claim first-leg advantage

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While the Champions League splits their quarter-finals over two days, it’s full steam ahead in the Europa League.

There’s no messing around with all four ties kicking off on Thursday night at the same time.

And there should be some excellent football too. Atletico Madrid host Sporting Lisbon, Lazio take on Red Bull Salzburg while Marseille visit RB Leipzig.

But we begin tonight’s previews with Arsenal’s continued quest to bag that Champions League spot…

Arsenal v CSKA Moscow

It’s been a bumpy ride, but Arsenal have made it to the last eight and they should – on paper at least – be sailing into the semi-finals.

Arsenal are 3/10 to win the game, but with a trip to Russia still to come, Arsene Wenger’s men will be out to make home advantage count. There’s 10/11 about Arsenal -1 and 12/5 for them -2.

Thankfully the Gunners can now call upon Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman marked his return from injury with a goal at the weekend, and is 10/3 to bag the opener and 9/2 for two or more.

CSKA have failed to win eight of their last nine trips to England, and with Arsenal netting three goals in each of their last three home games, there’s 7/1 about a 3-0 home win tonight.

Atletico Madrid v Sporting Lisbon

Atletico are favourites to win the Europa League, and they should see off Sporting Lisbon.

Diego Simeone’s men have conceded just four times in their new Metropolitano home, and arguably boast a side of Champions League quality.

They’ve won 14 of their last 16 home games, and are 2/7 to prevail again this evening. Sporting have won only two of their last 17 away games in the competition, and are 11/1 underdogs.

Diego Costa has sparked Atleti into life since his return in January, and is 16/5 to score first.

The Spaniard’s comeback has also seen a marked improvement in Antoine Griezmann. The French star is 11/4 to net first and 10/11 anytime.

Lazio v Red Bull Salzburg

An intriguing clash lies in store in Rome as Serie A’s Lazio meet Austrian Bundesliga leaders Salzburg, who are in the last eight by virtue of knocking out Borussia Dortmund in the previous round.

Salzburg are the 10/3 outsiders for the first-leg, but are unbeaten since August.

Lazio are odds-on at 3/4, and they have turned their form around after a disastrous start to 2018. Simone Inzaghi’s men are unbeaten in five, but have conceded seven goals in that spell.

Both sides boast plenty of strength up front, and there’s 8/11 for both teams to net.

4/5 says we see over 2.5 goals in the Stadio Olimpico, and there’s 19/10 for over 3.5 goals.

RB Leipzig v Marseille

Both Leipzig and Marseille could do with winning the Europa League. The two sides are each locked in a fierce and unpredictable fight to land Champions League football via the domestic route.

Leipzig are the 4/6 favourites. The German outfit are unbeaten in six and their previous home game saw them down Bayern Munich, no less.

That leaves Marseille at 15/4 for this first leg.

But the French side have plenty of quality in the likes of Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin and Morgan Sanson, and proved their travelling credentials with a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao in the previous round.

A closely-matched and entertaining contest awaits, and it’s worth noting that both teams have scored in six of Leipzig’s last seven. There’s 8/11 for it to happen again.

Similarly, Marseille’s last five games have totalled 19 goals, and over 3.5 tonight is 15/8.

All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication

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