arsenal1819The second leg of the Uefa Europa League semi final between Arsenal and Villarreal takes place on Thursday when the Gunners have a 2-1 deficit to overturn.





Given Manchester United are 6-2 up on Roma after last week's first leg at Old Trafford our focus is firmly on the Arsenal v Villarreal match up which is very finely balanced.




Arsenal were 2-0down inside half an hour of last week's first leg. Things got even worse when Ceballos was sent off but Pepe's goal from the penalty spot made it 2-1 and after Villarreal were also reduced to 10 men there was no further scoring. Possession was even and Villarreal recorded 6 attempts on target to Arsenal's 2 whilst the corner count was level at 3 a piece.


Earlier Arsenal came through their quarter final match up with Slavia Prague with a 5-1 aggregate win. The first leg in London finished all square at 1-1 but the Gunners romped to a 4-0 win in Prague to see off a side who had knocked out Leicester in the earlier rounds.


Arsenal were unbeaten in this competition until the Round of 16 when they lost 1-0 at home to Olympiacos. Fortunately the Gunners already had a 3-1 first leg lead in that tie whilst in the first knockout round they drew 1-1 at Benfica and won the second leg 3-2 in London.


Arsenal were 2-0winners at Newcastle at the weekend but given they are out of contention for a top 4 Premier League finish they will need to win this competition to qualify for the Champions League next season.



Munoz and Albiol were on target for Villarreal in the first leg whilst Etienne Capoue was the man red carded when the score was 2-1. Former Arsenal coach Unai Emery now returns to the Emirates Stadium and his side have been a model of consistency in this season's Europa League winning all their matches barring one group stage draw.


Knockout round form is the most relevant and at the first hurdle the La Liga side beat Salzburg away (2-0) and at home (2-1) before seeing off Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 away and 2-0 at home. In the quarter finals they beat Dynamo Zagreb 1-0 away and won the return 2-1 on home turf.


In La Liga Villarreal are no higher than sixth and their away record comprises of 6 wins, 7 draws and 4 defeats.



The Betting


Arsenal are currently trading at around 0.87/1 to win the second leg in 90 minutes with the draw at 23/10 and Villarreal can be backed at around 3.25/1


A game of 3 goals or more is 15/20 and it's just 13/20 for both teams to score in 90 minutes


To qualify for the final under any method of victory Arsenal are priced at 11/10 and Villarreal are 0.67/1


The winner of this tie will face Manchester United (or Roma) in the final and to win the Europa League outright this season Arsenal are trading at around 4/1 and Villarreal are 3.75/1 with Manchester United 5/10 favourites.


Note, odds are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change




I called the first leg correctly with Pepe “anytime” and the trend of 2-3 goals in total which has a cracking record of arriving in Villarreal Europa League ties.


It's very tempting to stick with the same two picks but I'm going with Arsenal to score at least twice in 90 minutes regardless of who goes through.


Bets: Arsenal total goals over 1.5 at 8/10 (90 mins)


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Note all prices quoted are subject to change


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