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Last Updated April 26 2018, 19:04Football
Alexandre Lacazette celebrates
Alexandre Lacazette celebrates

Tom Carnduff and George Pitts are looking towards draws in Thursday night's Europa League action, with goals expected in France.


Europa League recommended bets

1pt Arsenal v Atletico Madrid - draw at 23/10

2pts Florian Thauvin and Munas Dabbur both to score in Marseille v Salzburg at 9/2

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Arsenal v Atletico Madrid (2005 BST, BT Sport 2)

A lot has happened at Arsenal since their previous Europa League outing.

After getting past CSKA Moscow in the quarter-finals, manager Arsene Wenger has now announced his departure at the end of the season.

The Frenchman’s 22-year spell in north London will come to an end and the European competition is his final hope of silverware.

Wenger said in his press conference how success in this competition would be his "biggest satisfaction" and that the current crop "deserve something special".

It was no secret the north Londoners' priorities changed, with the Europa League most important – providing them with another chance of Champions League qualification – and helping Wenger bow out on a high is presumably further motivation for the players.

They will face their biggest test in the competition yet, though, when they come up against a well-organised Atletico side.

Diego Simeone’s team dropped into the competition after finishing third in their Champions League group, behind Roma and Chelsea. They are currently second in La Liga, 11 points behind Barcelona and four clear of third-placed Real Madrid.

With the Spanish outfit 5/4 to win the competition, you can clearly see the winner of this tie lifting the trophy in Lyon next month.

The hosts are 13/8 favourites on the night, while Atletico can be backed at 2/1 to get the victory at the Emirates.

This is a real tough one to call, though. Arsenal have won seven of their last nine games in all competitions, while Atletico's last five outings have produced just one win.

Simeone obviously is a master tactician and a draw could be worth small stakes at around 11/5, as would under total 2.5 goals at 23/20.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ineligible and Henrikh Mkhitaryan injured, Alexandre Lacazette to score anytime at 7/4 also looks a workable price, French striker Antoine Griezmann is around 13/10 to net for Atletico.

Score prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Sky Bet odds: 5/1) (George Pitts)

Best bet: Draw at 11/5

Alternative bet: Under 2.5 total goals at 23/20

FC Salzburg's Munas Dabbur celebrates scoring in the Europa League
FC Salzburg's Munas Dabbur celebrates scoring in the Europa League

Marseille v Salzburg (2005 BST, BT Sport 3)

The remaining Europa League 'outsiders' meet in Thursday's other semi-final as French outfit Marseille welcome Austria's FC Salzburg to the Orange Velodrome.

The Olympians sit fourth in France's Ligue 1 and knocked out a fellow Red Bull-backed side in Leipzig in the quarter-finals.

Both sides faced tricky paths to make it to this stage, but Salzburg arguably had it more difficult as they had to see off Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio to reach this point.

'Die Roten Bullen' have pretty much got the Austrian Bundesliga title wrapped up, sitting 11 points clear at the top, meaning that they can give their full attention to Europe's second-string competition.

These two also met at the group stage, both progressing from Group I. They played out a 0-0 draw in France after Salzburg were able to secure victory in Austria.

Marseille have a mixed record against Austrian sides in Europe. They've won two, drawn two and lost two, and it'll be their first appearance at the semi-finals since 2004.

The French side have a great home profile in this competition this season, being unbeaten in all eight games. However, Salzburg have scored in each of their three away games in the knock-out stages, and an away goal could prove to be crucial.

That's why Marseille are 7/10 favourites going into this, with the draw around the 3/1 mark and Salzburg as big as 23/5 to get the win.

You'd expect goals and that's why it could be worth investing in goalscorers, as it seemingly provides interesting value.

Florian Thauvin is Marseille's top scorer after striking 21 times during this campaign, whilst Munas Dabbur boasts 26 in all competitions, with five coming in the Europa League.

Combine the two to score anytime at 9/2 which looks a tempting price given the number of goals between them this season.

The referee is William Collum, the man from Scotland who has been used in both UEFA competitions this season. On average, he's shown 42 booking points in each game he's officiated, so there is potential for more cards here.

Luis Gustavo finds himself as Marseille's most carded player with nine across the board this season and he's 2/1 to be shown a card on Thursday, which doesn't look a bad way into the more exotic markets.

Score prediction: Marseille 2-2 FC Salzburg (Sky Bet odds: 14/1) (Tom Carnduff)

Best bet: Florian Thauvin and Munas Dabbur both to score at 9/2

Alternative bet: Luis Gustavo to be shown a card at 2/1


Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLife

Posted at 1645 BST 25/04/18

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