THE EUROPA LEAGUE Last 32 continues on Thursday night as Arsenal hosts BATE Borisov. Gaurav Chaddah (@Gchaddahjourno) shares his betting thoughts.
Arsenal v BATE Borisov | Thursday 21st February 2019, 17:55 | BT Sport
BATE Borisov travel to North London on Thursday night with a surprise 1-0 advantage to defend in their Last 32 Europa League tie with Arsenal.
Written off by many, the Belorussian outfit edged a tight encounter through Stanislav Dragun’s goal at the end of the first half. They failed to build on their advantage against an Arsenal side who will be without striker Alxeander Lacazette who saw red during last week’s game, but the Gunners will nonetheless be confident of progression.
Unai Emery would have been extremely disappointed by his side’s performance last week – not only losing, but failing to score an away goal. Despite that, the Spaniard will be confident he can see his side through.
Under Emery, the Gunners were unbeaten at the Emirates in the group stages of the competition, taking seven points. And Arsenal’s early exit in the FA Cup meant they had a rare weekend off, which might have been what was needed as they look to progress.
Bate are rather dominant domestically but it is fair to say they often struggle on the continental stage, which is why whatever happens at the Emirates on Thursday night, they will take pride from the fact they defeated a Premier League outfit.
This game alone however, they are very much up against it. They will have bad memories of the Emirates following a 6-0 drubbing here last season.
BATE have shown defensive frailties, such as a 4-1 defeat to PAOK earlier in the competition, and went down 3-1 to Chelsea in the group-stages. A fiery, fresh Arsenal side, likely to be led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should have too much for them.
The betting angle
Despite being a goal down, I think we can safely assume baring any major mishaps the Gunners should still qualify. With Emery under pressure to ensure that, we should see a strong Arsenal outfit who have had a week off come together to put the BATE back line under pressure.
I fancy Arsenal to do this in style and with Betfair going a tasty 6/5, Arsenal on the -2 handicap seems a fair play to me.
Arsenal v BATE Borisov – Arsenal -2 handicap (6/5 Betfair)