THE EUROPA LEAGUE returns on Thursday night as Arsenal entertain Vorskla Poltava at The Emirates on matchday one. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his betting thoughts.
Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava | Thursday 20th September 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
The little-known Vorskla Poltava make the long journey to London from eastern Ukraine in their first competitive European group-stage game.
Poltava finished third in the Ukrainian league, behind native giants Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, which is as good as they could’ve expected. We’re used to seeing Zorya Luhansk as the third Ukrainian team in Europe but Poltava managed to outdo them by four points to be crowned the best of the rest.
The visitors don’t have any players of great note but you’d expect them to come here with a game plan to keep compact and try their best to hold out for a draw. Doing so is a different matter though, given the gulf in class between the two teams.
Arsenal are well fancied to dispose of them with ease and the best price 2/13 reflects that. It’s a case of finding an angle at a more palatable price.
Unai Emery has an excellent record in the Europa League, winning it three times with Sevilla. He has already come out and said he will not undermine the competition and with a place in the Champions League up for grabs for the eventual winner, why would he?
I’d expect a few changes here though with the likes of Mohamed Elneny, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Bernt Leno to come into the squad. They should have enough to make this relatively comfortable but if they go 2-0 up I can see them saving their energy for Everton on Sunday and seeing the game out.
We can boost the 2/13 on a home win to an odds-against quote by chucking in Under 3.5 Goals (11/10 Ladbrokes). I don’t expect Vorskla Poltava to put up much of an attacking threat but they will try to keep the score down.
Even if the visitors do notch we still have the 2-1 home win on our side.
Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava – Arsenal to win and Under 3.5 Goals (11/10 Ladbrokes)