With Arsenal now knowing that the only way of securing Champions League football next season is by winning the Europa League, the Gunners will need to make their 3-1 advantage count when they take on Valencia in their Europa League semi-final second leg clash at the Mestalla. Form Labs return with their betting preview and tips for the game and if you are after some value then head over to our FanBoosts section and check out the enhanced odds available.
Arsenal Have The Advantage
Having trailed to an early goal in the first leg, Arsenal bounced back impressively to win the game 3-1, though they’ve since let themselves down at the Emirates, failing to beat a Brighton side fighting for their Premier League survival.
Unless a miracle happens, as they’re three points adrift of fourth-placed Spurs with a far inferior goal difference, the Europa League is their only route into the Champions League for next season.
Meanwhile, Valencia managed to turn around their three-game losing streak in all competitions with a confidence boosting 6-2 hammering of Huesca at the weekend.
Arsenal’s Away Record A Concern
The Gunners are fortunate to have three-time Europa League champion Unai Emery at the reins, but his record on the road in Europe isn’t all that great.
Indeed, he’s gone a poor W7-D8-L11 from his 26 career trips in the knockout stages of both the Champions and Europa League for Valencia, Sevilla, PSG and Arsenal combined.
That includes two defeats from three so far this season, as the Gunners lost 1-0 at BATE Borisov in the Last 32 and 3-1 at Rennes in the subsequent round, though they did turn both of those ties around.
The situation this time is very different though, with those away matches being first legs, and this one certainly resembles that of their quarter-final, where they beat Napoli 2-0 at home in the opening leg before going to the Stadio San Paolo and triumphing 1-0.
However, their Italian hosts didn’t really show up on that occasion and we don’t expect this one to pan out in the same way.
Valencia’s Home Form Impressive
Los Che have lost just three times from their 28 matches at the Mestalla all season, and just once in their last 21.
In fact, they’ve won seven of their last nine outings here and will fancy their chances of turning this tie around against a team renowned for a lack of backbone.
Marcelino’s men can also take heart from English teams losing 17 of their 22 trips to Spain in the European knockout stages since 2009/10, winning only once.
Furthermore, Arsenal are just W4-D3-L9 on their travels since the beginning of December, with those victories coming at League One Blackpool, relegated Huddersfield, 10-man Watford and the previously mentioned trip to Napoli.
Rodrigo In, Ramsey Out
Marcelino had a slight scare at the weekend when Rodrigo went off injured in their domestic action, but he looks to have been given the all clear for this one, while Francis Coquelin will also return to the fray to face his old club.
Meanwhile, the visitors will be without key man Aaron Ramsey in their only recent addition to the medical room, though he won’t be returning even if they do make the final and that is a big loss.
Valencia v Arsenal Betting Tips
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made the difference in the first leg and Emery will probably be relying on them to get them through to the final.
However, both have been far more effective at the Emirates this term with the Frenchman scoring 27 of his 35 strikes (77%) at home, while Aubameyang has scored just once on the road from his last 784 minutes of action.
While we’re tempted to back the hosts to qualify, only two teams (out of 12) since 2009/10 have managed to turn around a 3-1 deficit when playing at home in the second leg.
However, teams that have been beaten by an exact two-goal margin in their opening leg on the road in the Europa League have won nine of 12 return legs at home since 2016/17, so we’ll just stick with Valencia in the 90-minute market, which is a generous enough price.
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