Jake Pearson correctly tipped up a Slavia Prague victory in the last round of the competition, and he thinks the Czech side could pose serious problems for Arsenal in this quarter-final tie.
There are no easy draws once you get into the quarter-final stages of the Europa League, but Arsenal may just have got the toughest of the lot having been drawn against the “home nation” slayers Slavia Prague.
Prague took Leicester to school as they comfortably dispatched them in the first knockout phase of the competition, drawing 0-0 in the Czech Republic before winning 2-0 at the King Power, and they did the same to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers in the Round of 16, winning 3-1 on aggregate.
Sporting Life followers will be well aware of just how dangerous the Czech champions elect are, as we correctly tipped them to beat Rangers at Ibrox last month.
Slavia Prague showed plenty of nous against Leicester, and will likely employ similar tactics against a fragile Arsenal team.
For much of this season the Europa League has provided a much-needed escape for the Gunners, with their Premier League season hanging by a thread, their European campaign has been far more impressive.
Arsenal have scored 27 goals in their 10 Europa League matches this season, an average of 2.7 goals per game, which a lot better than their Premier League return, which sits at a measly 1.33 goals per game.
Arsenal have also lost just once in this competition this term, 1-0 against Olympiacos last time out, but they were already 3-1 up from the first leg and progressed nonetheless.
However, that defeat, as well as a 3-3 draw with West Ham, and a woeful 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool at the weekend, means Mikel Arteta’s men are now three games without a win in all competitions, and if Saturday’s performance against Jurgen Klopp’s side was anything to go by, they will need to show vast improvement to get the result against a constantly underestimated Slavia Prague team.
Prague have been formidable domestically this season, unbeaten in the league having conceded just 15 goals all term, and they have taken that form into the Europa League.
The Czech side have kept five clean sheets in the competition this season, and they are likely to prove very difficult to break down once again.
Both of Slavia Prague’s away matches in the knockout stages of this competition have yielded 2-0 wins, and while that may be a tough order here, they do look to have been vastly underestimated by the market, particularly given Arsenal’s recent form.
Getting Slavia Prague on side is the aim, and we can do that by backing Slavia Prague or Draw (priced at 5/4) on the double chance market, or by backing SLAVIA PRAGUE +0.5 (priced at 13/8) on the Asian Handicap.
The price disparity about the same bet, just with a slightly different phrasing, is somewhat odd, but we can take advantage of that on Thursday, as we make money if Slavia avoid defeat at the Emirates.
Score prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Slavia Prague (Sky Bet odds: 6/1)
Odds correct at 1100 BST (07/04/21)
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