Arsenal v Villarreal Betting Tips: Can Gunners keep European dream alive?
Arsenal’s hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League rest solely on them getting past Villarreal who hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg of the semi-final.
Unai Emery’s side threatened to run away with the tie last Thursday when they took a 2-0 first-half lead and the Gunners’ cause was not helped by the second-half dismissal of Dani Ceballos but Nicolas Pepe gave the Londoners hope with a 73rd-minute penalty.
The Gunners are 17/20 to win in 90 minutes and evens to qualify for the final as we take a look at some of the markets for Thursday’s Arsenal v Villarreal Betting Tips.
Mikel Arteta was criticised for playing without a recognised striker last week, preferring to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench, but that may not be the case on Thursday.
The Gunners skipper had been out with malaria but scored the clinching goal at Newcastle over the weekend before being substituted to put himself in contention for a starting role in north London.
Villarreal still have a chance of qualifying for next season’s Europa League after a 1-0 win over Getafe left them a point behind fifth-placed Real Sociedad but the Champions League is their main target.
The Yellow Submarine have won 12 of their 13 Europa League games this season, drawing the other, and they can be backed at 3/1 to beat an Arsenal team that lost at home to Olympiacos and failed to beat Slavia Prague on home turf.
The Spaniards are quick starters, too, leading at the break in their last five Europa League games – all of which they won – so there is some merit in Villarreal to be ahead at half-time and full-time at 6/1 or alternatively backing them to score the first goal in the opening 45 minutes at 23/10 which they achieved during that spell.
It should be a close game, though, and for those wishing to avoid picking a winner, both teams to score and under 3.5 goals at 21/10 may be preferable which covers a 1-1 draw or a 2-1 win either way just like the opening leg.
Ceballos’ red card means the attacking midfielder will be suspended but Arteta also has defensive concerns after David Luiz went off with a hamstring injury at St James’ Park.
With Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette unlikely to play on Thursday, Arteta has some senior players missing, meaning Granit Xhaka may have to start at left-back again, with Mohamed Elneny accompanying Thomas Partey in the heart of midfield.
Emery, who made seven changes at the weekend, will also be without one of his midfielders through suspension as former Spurs man Etienne Capoue received a second yellow card 10 minutes from time.
Despite Aubameyang’s recent absence with malaria, the Gabon striker is the 3/1 favourite to break the deadlock and 19/20 to find the net at any time.
Villarreal’s goalscorers came from unlikely sources last week and the man who got the ball rolling, midfielder Manu Trigueros, is 28/1 to strike first once again and 11/1 to add to his two goals for the season.
A likelier scenario is for Gerard Moreno, recently linked with Leicester, to find the net at 7/5.
The 29-year-old striker has 28 goals for club and country this season and was denied by a superb save from Bernd Leno in the first leg.
Where: Emirates Stadium
When: 20:00, Thursday 6th May
How to watch: BT Sport 2
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.