ARSENAL continue their Europa League campaign with a clash against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates. Chris Bland (@blandc_1996) analyses the odds.
Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt | Thursday 28th November 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
Under-pressure Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be keen for his side to end a torrid run of form, which has seen the Gunners go six games without a win, on Thursday night against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
Alexandre Lacazette rescued a point against south-coast strugglers Southampton on Saturday, and Arsenal will be desperate for a turnaround here. The North Londoners know a point will secure qualification into the next round with a game to spare, whilst a win will see the Gunners take top spot.
Consistency has been an issue for Eintracht Frankfurt, who sit 10th in the Bundesliga and third in the group. Signs of promise for Adi Hutter’s side were evident in their 5-1 mauling of Bayern Munich three weeks ago, but since they have suffered three defeats on the bounce, with a particularly disappointing loss at Standard Liege last time out in this competition.
A 3-0 win for Arsenal doesn’t paint the whole picture of their initial meeting, which saw an exceptional performance from goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, before a late red card for Dominik Kohr allow the Gunners to clinically kill off the game. Expected Goals (xG) highlighted how wasteful Frankfurt were, racking up 2.01, albeit Arsenal managed an impressive 3.46.
Chance creation hasn’t been an issue for the Germans so far this season. Goncalo Pacienda has impressed for Hutter’s side, leading the scoring charts with six goals, and he will fancy his chances against an Arsenal backline potentially short on minutes, with Shkodran Mustafi amongst those expected to start.
Portuguese forward Andre Silva has struggled for game-time his summer move, however, if given the opportunity on Thursday, he has some impressive numbers behind his performances, and could be well equipped to cause the Gunners defence problems. An xG of 0.67 per-90 minutes highlights how many chances he gets, whilst he averages 2.52 key passes showing he adds an element of creativity to the side.
Wing backs Filip Kostic and Danny Da Costa are fundamental to how Frankfurt play and offer a strong attacking option, with 75% of their attacks going down the flanks in their 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg on Saturday. However, they can often leave their defence vulnerable to the counter, and this is certainly an area Arsenal will look to target.
Arsenal can target Eintracht weaknesses
Tactically-unique with Makoto Hasebe playing deep, the 35-year-old Japanese sweeper can be targeted by Arsenal, particularly with their pace on the break. The form of Gabriel Martinelli has been a boost, and the Brazilian forward impressed off the bench in helping set up Lacazette for the equaliser on Saturday.
Bukayo Saka burst onto the scene with a fantastic performance in the reverse fixture, causing the Frankfurt backline all sorts out problems, and if the youngsters are given the opportunity to impress, they should be well suited to causing the German side some problems.
Creativity was an issue against Vitoria last time out in the Europa League as Emery’s side struggled to adapt to a back three, but it was more of a concern defensively against Southampton on Saturday, as the xG of Southampton (2.60 to Arsenal’s 1.61) suggested they were unlucky to come away with just a point.
Whether Emery continues to opt for his back three awaits to be seen, but with Frankfurt likely to take the game to the Gunners, Arsenal could be well suited to hit the German side on the counter.
The betting angles
Given the open nature of the first game, and a similar approach from both sides expected once again, Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score at 5/6 (Bet365) takes appeal.
Arsenal’s xGa of 21.04 domestically highlights their defensive worries, and they showed frailties at the back once again against Vitoria. Frankfurt have shown their attacking threat throughout the season, and although goals have dried up in recent games, they still will fancy their chances of netting against a rotated Arsenal.
Arsenal’s counter-attack and pace on the break brings cards into play, and referee Ruddy Buquet has shown he is not afraid to dish them out, with 55 yellows and four reds in 15 games this season.
Unfortunately, the team card markets aren’t priced at the time of writing, but on the individual card markets, there is a stand out option against Arsenal’s quick attackers in Gelson Fernandes. Available at 7/4 (William Hill), the Swiss midfielder will be vulnerable to counter that Arsenal opt to play.
Averaging 3.30 tackles, and 3.10 fouls per-game in the Bundesliga, it highlights the ball-winning midfielder role’s and Fernandes could be vulnerable out of possession.
Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (5/6 Bet365)
Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt – Gelson Fernandes to be carded (7/4 William Hill)