It is do or die time for the four remaining teams in the battle for this year’s Europa League crown.
Arsenal, dominant for large parts against Atletico Madrid at the Emirates Stadium last Thursday, went full Arsenal and gifted Antoine Griezmann an away goal – the initiative is now well and truly with the Spanish outfit.
It looks like Arsene Wenger’s tenure could end without a Hollywood-esque European triumph in his final game in charge of the Gunners.
In the other semi-final, Marseille are two goals to the good against Red Bull Salzburg. Going to Austria won’t be easy but the French side are in complete control and it would be foolish to back against Marseille at this moment in time.
Stranger things have happened though; an early goal could change the entire complexion of the tie. Check out our best bets ahead of Thursday night’s double header below…
ATLETICO MADRID vs Arsenal
Atletico’s home record is formidable – Diego Simeone’s men have lost just one of their last 23 matches at the Wanda Metropolitano.
7/10 for a home win is quite short; the 9/5 for Atletico to win to nil carries more appeal considering their defensive prowess. This could be a real nail-biter for the two sets of supporters.
Wenger decided to rest a few of his most influential players for the trip to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon; that could turn out to be a wise move.
With the tie nicely poised at 1-1, this could quite easily go to extra time and stamina may come into it. A repeat of that same scoreline on Thursday night is available at 6/1 with 888sport.
For me, the 4/5 on offer for Atletico to score two or more goals should be snapped up. This Gunners defence is shaky at the best of times and Arsenal could crumble under the intense pressure in Spain this week.
Expect Griezmann to mastermind another Atletico triumph and you’d be hard pressed to back against the Spanish outfit in this year’s final.
TIP: Atletico to score two or more goals @ 4/5
CORRECT SCORE: Atletico 2-1 Arsenal (Priced at 8/1 with 888sport)
SPECIAL: Atletico to be leading at half-time @ 6/5
RED BULL SALZBURG vs MARSEILLE
Both teams to score looks like an absolute certainty here. 3/5 is some price considering what is at stake; a Europa League final berth beckons.
Marseille may try to keep things tight but a two-goal lead is never comfortable and Rudi Garcia’s side will look to snatch a goal on the counter attack. At the other end, Salzburg simply MUST score to keep the tie alive.
My tip for Florian Thauvin to score the first goal last week was a winner and the former Newcastle United man followed that up with another opener in Marseille’s Ligue 1 fixture last weekend.
With that in mind, backing the Frenchman to bag another early goal is well worth considering at 13/2.
As an outside bet, both teams to score in both halves is tempting at 12/1. Salzburg were very unlucky not to score in France last week and I’m expecting another open, exciting affair here.
Marseille have the wow factor and should progress but Salzburg could spring a shock if the visitors get off to a slow start.
TIP: Both teams to score @ 3/5
CORRECT SCORE: Salzburg 1-2 Marseille (Priced at 11/1 with 888sport)
SPECIAL: Both teams to score in both halves @ 12/1
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*