Arsenal face Valencia in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, on the back of three consecutive Premier League defeats.
Whilst everything is falling apart in the race for a top-four finish, things have been going pretty well in the Europa League. The Gunners managed victories home and away against Napoli in the last round, despite the Serie A side representing one of the favourites to win the entire tournament.
The difference this time is that Aaron Ramsey is injured and certain to miss out. The Welshman was influential against Napoli, and he’ll be a big miss against Valencia.
Other than that, let’s have a look at team news and our predicted lineup for the match.
Goalkeeper and Centre-Backs
After he kept his place in goal against Napoli, there’s almost no doubt Petr Cech will start once again on this occasion. The goalkeeper is on a good run of form, keeping four clean sheets in his last five Europa League knockout matches.
Emery should start three at the back, as that’s how they got both of their victories against Napoli in the last round. Laurent Koscielny was rested at the weekend, so he should come back in. Nacho Monreal is a doubt with injury, but the signs look good that he’ll return in time to start as well.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos hasn’t had the best time since his Premier League suspension ended, but Arsenal will need him to return to his best on this occasion. The Greek international will very likely start over Shkodran Mustafi, as well as Konstantinos Mavropanos, who is ineligible.
Arsenal vs Valencia Betting Tips
Like Arsenal, Valencia haven’t kept a clean sheet in the three matches since their last Europa League game. Bet on both teams to score with BetUK at 10/13.
Alexandre Lacazette scored in the last round against Napoli, he’s scored most of his goals at home since joining Arsenal and he’s scored three in his last two Europa League semi-final ties. Bet on Lacazette to score anytime with BetUK at 33/20.
Arsenal’s away record to Valencia is poor, but they’ve never lost against the Spanish side at home. Bet on Arsenal or draw with BetUK at 4/17.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Valencia (25/4 with BetUK).