Monday, September 24, 2018

Prediction: Arsenal vs CSKA Moscow

Verdict: Arsenal/Arsenal

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Following the impressive double win over AC Milan, Arsenal will fancy their chances of defeating CSKA Moscow to reach the Europa League semi-finals. The Russian side may have toiled against Crvena Zvezda in the first knockout stage, but they then showed massive improvement to beat Lyon and, therefore, head to the Emirates in good spirits.

Arsenal

Premier League giants Arsenal have been on a major downtrend in recent years as witnessed by Thursday night football at the Emirates for the first time since the ground was built. And with the Gunners sitting massive 13 points behind the Premier League top 4 with just 7 games to go, it looks as though another season of Europa League football is on the cards, although they can obviously qualify for the Champions League instead by winning this year’s competition.

Considering the circumstances, chances are that Arsene Wenger and his side will now shift their focus to the Europa League and attempt to lift the trophy at the first attempt. Even with the Frenchman fielding severely weakened sides, the Gunners topped their group before defeating Ostersunds and AC Milan, although the team that faced the Rossoneri was significantly stronger than the previous ones. Therefore, we expect Wenger to field another strong side against CSKA Moscow and ensure his side edge closer to the semi-final berth.

Team News

Starting goalkeeper Petr Cech is unlikely to be risked on Thursday, while Alexandre Lacazette could start up front.

Danny Welbeck misses out through a back injury, whereas January recruit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ineligible.

CSKA Moscow

Just like Arsenal, CSKA Moscow have become used to Champions League football, and they did start the season in Europe’s elite competition. The Russian giants fared pretty well in the group that also contained Man Utd, FC Basel and Benfica, but were pretty unfortunate not to go through despite taking 9 points from 6 games. With the first knockout round in Europa League taking place during the midweek break in Russia, CSKA Moscow failed to impress against Crvena Zvezda, but ultimately managed to secure a 1-0 aggregate triumph.

The Army Men were also beaten at home by Lyon in the last 16 stage, but then impressed to record a 3-2 victory in the return leg at Parc OL and thus secured their place in the quarter-finals. CSKA Moscow have been in fine form of late, winning last three matches in all competitions, while it has to be noted that they recorded 5 wins in 7 away games in Europe this season.

Team News

Utility player Pontus Wernbloom again looks set to start up front, with head coach Viktor Goncharenko expected to stick to the same side that defeated Rostov at the weekend.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Arsenal won four of last five Europa League fixtures
  • Each of those games was won by a margin of 2 goals or more
  • CSKA recorded 5 wins in 7 away games in Europe this term
  • Arsenal have never beaten CSKA Moscoa (D1 L1)
  • The Gunners won last four games by 2 goals or more

Conclusion

Arsenal have been in very good form of late, winning last four by a margin of two goals or more and we believe the trend will continue against CSKA Moscow. The Gunners are well aware they need to lift the Europa League trophy if they want to be playing Champions League football next term and that should serve as an added incentive for the players to give their best.

Verdict: Arsenal/Arsenal

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

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