Valencia to Home in on Arsenal’s Obvious Weakness
Valencia v Arsenal – 9th May – 20:00 BST
Arsenal’s defence is brittle, its best player is injured and the Gunners visit a Valencia team has won 15 and drawn five of its last 21 home matches across four competitions.
Valencia has to turn around a two-goal deficit to reach the UEFA Europa League final at Arsenal’s expense but one thinks the Bats will have a real crack at eliminating a Gunners side that cannot be trusted away from their own stadium.
The numbers speak for themselves: Arsenal has kept only one English Premier League clean sheet on its travels and the Gunners were hugely assisted by Troy Deeney’s 11th-minute red card in their 1-0 away victory over Watford last month. That Arsenal is a million to one to qualify for the UEFA Champions League via the English Premier League pathway has a lot to do with the Gunners leaked 50 goals in their 37 divisional games, which is more than eight of their rivals and more than double the concessions of Manchester City and Liverpool. In the UEFA Europa League, Arsenal is 4-0-2 on the road, including a hugely impressive 1-0 win at Napoli, but the Gunners lost at BATE and Rennes scoring just once across those two flops. Arsenal’s defence does not inspire and, while Valencia is a level or two below fellow Spanish Primera Division teams Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, the Bats are formidable at their Mestalla base.
Triumphant in each of its last five home matches in UEFA tournaments, Valencia is worth backing to beat Arsenal on Thursday at 1.91 with Black Type. Denis Cheryshev and Geoffrey Kondogbia are out for Valencia but each of them has been absent for a few weeks and the latter is a defensive midfielder so one believes he is not the greatest loss given the state of the UEFA Europa League semi-final tie following Arsenal’s 3-1 first-leg win.
Whereas Valencia is coming off a 6-2 away smashing of Huesca that relegated its weekend host, Arsenal’s last outing was a 1-1 English Premier League home draw with a Brighton side which has not won a game in any competition since early March. The contrast between Valencia’s home form and the road results of Arsenal is stark so bet on the Bats.
TOP TIP! – Valencia to beat Arsenal @ 1.91
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Chelsea v Frankfurt – 9th May – 20:00 BST
TOP TIP! – Chelsea -1 to beat Frankfurt @ 2.00
Your guess is as good as mine as to the psychological state of Frankfurt after it lost 1-6 at German Bundesliga rival Leverkusen on Sunday, a remarkable match in which all seven goals were scored inside the first 36 minutes. The result has done significant damage to Frankfurt’s chance of getting into the UEFA Champions League via the German Bundesliga as now Eintracht are level on Leverkusen and the former’s run home includes a daunting Round 34 trip to Bayern Munchen.
On paper, one could make a fair case for Frankfurt to score at Chelsea on Thursday at 2.00 with Betway because, after all, Eintracht have rustled the onion bag in 28 of their 32 German Bundesliga games and 12 of their 13 UEFA Europa League matches. But one cannot ignore either Frankfurt’s weekend hammering or its relatively poor results against the other German Bundesliga teams fighting over UEFA tournament berths. For example, Frankfurt is a dreadful 1-5-5 in its 11 German Bundesliga games versus fellow top-seven sides, including a 0-3 home loss to Bayern Munchen and multiple-goal away defeats at Dortmund (1-3), Leverkusen (1-6) and Monchengladbach (1-3).
Ante Rebic is available to partner Luka Jovic up front for Frankfurt but Eintracht have failed to win any of their last four matches and one suspects Chelsea, which forced 11 corner kicks in last week’s UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg in Germany, will be too strong for their guests, with the Blues taken to cover a one-goal handicap line.
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