(26 Apr 2018)
Arsenal – Atletico Madrid
Match Preview: Make or break for Arsenal in the Europa League
Arsene Wenger’s incredible 22-year reign as Arsenal manager is coming to an end and, while his replacement is yet to be finalised, the Frenchman is still in with a chance of ending his spell on a high by winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League. His club is sixth in the Premier League and unlikely to finish higher, but they started the long farewell to their manager with a 4-1 win over West Ham United and will be aware that beating Atletico Madrid over two legs in a semi-final is their last chance to make a success of the campaign.
The first match takes place on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium and a strong performance will be required to take control of the tie. Atletico is second in La Liga and is boosted by the news that former Chelsea striker Diego Costa is in Diego Simeone’s squad despite being an injury doubt. The Spain striker has scored just six times this season but is a constant danger.
Atletico is one of the trickiest European teams to play against given their remarkable defence – they have conceded just 18 times in 34 league games – and, despite their disappointing early Champions League exit in the group stage, they have reached the final twice in the past four seasons.
While they are guaranteed to finish in the La Liga top four, Barcelona is about to win the title so Simeone will be taking the tournament seriously as the only source of silverware, and getting past Arsenal would make them major favourites to beat Marseille or RB Salzburg from the semi-final.
Match Preview: Odds & Markets
Choose from a huge selection of top odds for this Europa League semi-final from Tipbet. There are a whopping 102 markets available and as it is the first leg a cagey meeting is likely. Picking a winner is not easy, though the home team are marginally more likely at 2.60 compared to Madrid’s 2.90.
Extra funds for this and all other Europa League and Champions League games can be acquired by taking advantage of Tipbet’s UEFA Bonus, which doubles up deposits.