Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid – UEFA Europa League Semi-Finals Match Preview

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With four teams left in the competition, the UEFA Europa League reaches the Semi-Finals this Thursday, April 26th, 2018, and in the first leg matches Arsenal welcomes Atletico Madrid at Emirates Stadium in London, while Marseille hosts Salzburg at Stade Velodrome in Marseille. The more intriguing clash is certainly the one in London, as two great clubs meet each other, but the matchup between Marseille and Salzburg should also offer a top-quality football, so let’s see what can we expect from these teams in their search for the UEFA Europa League Final.

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid

Three-Way: 1: Arsenal +160; X: +225 Draw; 2: Atletico Madrid +185 at BetDSI Sportsbook 

Spread 0: Arsenal -115; Atletico Madrid +100

Total +2.5 Goals: Over +110; Under -130

ARSENAL

The Gunners have beaten CSKA Moscow 6-3 on aggregate in the previous round of the UEFA Europa League, having a lot of problems in the second leg in Russia. Arsenal was two goals down, but they managed to find the net and eventually get a 2-2 draw in the end.

Once more, the Gunners’ defense was pretty fragile, while they’ve conceded at least a goal in each of their last five games in all competitions. A much better job is needed against Atleti who knows how to take advantage of their chances, and if the Gunners want to play in the UEFA Champions League next season, the Europa League trophy is the only ticket left in play.

Arsenal played twelve games in the UEFA Europa League this season, recording eight wins, two draws, and two losses with a goal difference of 29:10 which is 3.25 goals per contest on average, while eight out of these twelve encounters had at least three goals in the total.

The pacey forward Alexandre Lacazette is the team’s leading scorer with 15 goals in 35 games this season in all competitions, while the midfielder Aaron Ramsey is the team’s best goalscorer in the Europa League with four goals in four apps. The manager Arsene Wenger can count on all players, besides the attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan (hamstring injury) and the striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ineligible).

ATLETICO MADRID

Similar to Arsenal, Atletico Madrid also had some issues to beat their opponents in the previous round of the UEFA Europa League, getting a 2-1 aggregate victory over Sporting. Atleti won 2-0 the first leg in Madrid, so they reached the Semi-Finals despite a 1-0 defeat in the second leg on the road.

Atletico Madrid has won only one out of the last five games in all competitions along with two stalemates and two defeats, failing to find the net three times in the process, while in the previous four matches away from home, they’ve recorded one draw and three losses with a 2:7 goal difference.

After finishing at the third spot of the Champions League Group C table, Atletico Madrid played six games in the UEFA Europa League this season, recording five wins and one defeat with a goal difference of 15:3 which is exactly three goals per contest on average, while three out of these six tilts had less than three goals in the total.

The pacey hitman Antoine Griezmann is the team’s leading scorer with 26 goals in 44 matches this season, and he will lead Atleti’s frontline as the striker Diego Costa will miss the first leg due to a hamstring injury. The left-back Filipe Luis is out with a fracture of the fibula, while all other players are ready to go.

Arsenal vs. Atletico Madrid – Betting Trends and Match Prediction

  • Arsenal won six games in a row at home
  • Arsenal scored at least three goals in each of their last six home matches
  • Arsenal conceded in each of their previous five tilts overall
  • Atletico Madrid won just one out of their last five games overall
  • Atletico Madrid has a 1-1-3 record in their previous five tilts on the road
  • Atletico Madrid conceded in each but one out of their last ten away games

This should be a great battle, as two heavyweight teams go on each other, but considering it is the first leg of the matchup, we could see a cautious approach on both sides at the start of the match. It is hard to say who’s closer to the victory in this one, while the bookies favor Atleti at -225 to reach the Final, but I think we’ll see a tight clash with no more than two goals on the scoreboard.

MY PICK: Under 2.5 Goals (-130)