Arsenal v Villarreal Tips: Best bets for UEL semi
Arsenal will need to overturn a first leg deficit to reach the Europa League Final and set up a probable encounter with fellow English rivals Manchester United. The Europa League holds great importance for Arteta’s men as it offers them a way back into the Champions League to compete with qualification via their league position now impossible having looked unlikely for several months.
The Gunners were reduced to ten men at 2-0 down in the first leg and responded superbly to get that valuable away goal. The spirited finish to the game has given them confidence that the comeback will be complete in the return leg at the Emirates.
This competition is also Villarreal’s only hope of playing against Europe’s elite next season and they come into this fixture on the back of a narrow 1-0 victory over Getafe, who created the majority of the goalmouth action. Arsenal picked up three points of their own in a routine win over Newcastle and will be happy to have put an end to their run of three games without a win.
The home side will be without the suspended Dani Ceballos and the visitors will be without Etienne Capoue, both of whom were sent off in the first leg.
Arsenal v Villarreal Tips
Arsenal v Villarreal Odds
Although I expect Arsenal to be the ones predominantly on the front foot, Gegard Moreno has certainly had his shooting boots on of late so I see no reason why that can’t continue here. The forward has had 3 shots in nine of his last ten starts and the numbers behind that stat are even more staggering. Moreno has managed 5, 5, 3, 1 , 5, 5, 5, 3, 4 and 4 efforts (most recent start first) in those fixtures and it includes his most recent league start against title chasing Barcelona.
BoyleSports price is particularly generous with them giving us a price that is odds against when Paddy Power/Betfair have him priced up at ½ to have 3 shots.
The first part of this selection is pretty self-explanatory, Arsenal know a draw won’t suffice and the importance of this competition cannot be overstated. The Gunners have also only lost three times in their last twenty home games in the Europa League.
The first leg finished with both teams having 3 corners each and Arsenal played a larger portion of the match with ten men. The London outfit are averaging just under 3 more corners than their opponents in their last ten matches and that number jumps to 4 more corners per game than their opponents in their last five matches when priced similarly.
Arsenal’s opponents have received more cards than them in seven of their last ten matches and I can see Spaniards looking to commit fouls to prevent an Arsenal siege on their goal. In those previous ten games for Arsenal they are averaging 1.1 yellow cards per game while their opponents average 2.
The first leg was not short of incident as both teams managed 9 attempts and both were reduced to ten men. The game lowered in intensity after Ceballos was given his marching orders, but I expect the second leg to start in the same fashion as the first.
The only part of this bet that didn’t land in the game last Thursday was the corners. Given that Arsenal will be chasing the game immediately and there is a very really possibility that Villarreal will be chasing the tie at some point themselves this seems like a good value bet.