The first legs of the UEFA Europa League Semifinals are set for this Thursday, May 2, 2019. Arsenal host Valencia at Emirates Stadium in London, UK, and the Gunners are listed as -133 favorites to reach the finals for the first time since 2000 when they lost to Galatasaray. The Bats are +100 underdogs to eliminate Arsenal and make it to the finals for the first time since 2004 when they won the title.
Arsenal vs. Valencia
Three-way: 1: Arsenal -110; X: +260 Draw; 2: Valencia +280
Spread -0.5: Arsenal -110; Valencia -110
Total 2.5 Goals: Over -110; Under -110
Both Teams to Score: Yes -125; No -105
The Gunners are on a three-game losing streak following a 3-0 defeat at Leicester City this past Sunday. They allowed nine goals in that three-game span, scoring just three goals in a return. Arsenal continues to battle for the top four finish in the English Premier League, sitting at the 5th spot of the table with 66 points out of 36 games and a 69:49 goal difference, two points behind the 4th-placed Chelsea. In the previous round of the Europa League, the Gunners eliminated Napoli 3-0 on aggregate, winning the first leg at home 2-0. Arsenal won five of its six home games in the Europa League this season along with a nil-nil draw with Sporting in the group stage.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the team’s top scorer with 24 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions this season, and he’s bagged four goals in his last eight outings. Forward Alexandre Lacazette has scored 16 goals along with 12 assists in 45 apps so far, and he’s the Gunners’ best assist-maker. The manager Unai Emery cannot count on pacey midfielder Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) who’s scored six goals and eight assists thus far. Defenders Hector Bellerin (knee) and Rob Holding (knee) and forward Danny Welbeck (ankle) will all miss the first leg.
- Arsenal won eight of its last nine games at home along with a loss
- Both teams scored in four of the last 11 games overall
- Eight of the last 13 games at home had three or more goals in the total
The Bats have dropped two games in a row including a surprising 1-0 loss to Eibar on Sunday. They are sitting at the 6th spot of the Spanish La Liga table with 52 points out of 35 games and a 40:32 goal difference, three points behind the 4th-placed Getafe. In the previous round of the Europa League, the Bats defeated Villarreal 5-1 on aggregate, beating the Yellow Submarine 3-1 in the first leg on the road. Valencia joined the competition in the Round of 32 after finishing 3rd in the UEFA Champions League Group H, and the Bats won two of their three road games in the Europa League this season along with a 1-1 draw at Krasnodar.
Playmaker Dani Parejo is leading the way for the Bats this season, scoring ten goals along with seven assists in 50 starts in all competitions. Striker Rodrigo is the team’s top scorer with 11 goals in 45 appearances, while his colleague Santi Mina has bagged ten goals in 40 outings. Winger Carlos Soler is the Bats’ best assist-maker with ten dishes in 45 apps. The manager Marcelino will miss midfielders Geoffrey Kondogbia (thigh) and Denis Cheryshev (knee), while all other players are ready to go.
- Valencia lost five of its last 15 games on the road along with six wins and four ties
- Both teams scored in seven of the last nine games on the road
- Five of the last eight games overall had three or more goals in the total
The Gunners have disappointed their fans with three consecutive losses, and the Europa League Trophy could be their only ticket for the Champions League next season. The Bats are in a similar situation, so we should see a thrilling battle in this matchup. The Gunners have been playing extremely well at home lately, winning eight of their previous nine outings at Emirates Stadium, so I’m backing them to win the first leg.
I would stick with the side bet, as the totals could be a tricky wager, considering there are 90 minutes more to be played in the second leg in Spain. Hereof, I expect to see a cautious approach on both sides, especially from the visitors, so I think we’ll see fewer than three goals in the total.
The Pick: Arsenal (-110)
Additional Pick: Under 2.5 (-110)