ARSENAL begin their Europa League campaign with a tough tie away at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) delivers his betting analysis.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal | Thursday 19th September 2019, 17:55 | BT Sport
Last year’s runners-up Arsenal start on the road to Gdansk for Europa League 2019/20 with a tricky trip to last terms semi-finalists Eintracht Frankfurt.
Unai Emery’s side will look to bounce back after their calamitous collapse in the second half at Vicarage Road on Sunday, where the Gunners shot themselves in the foot with some awful decision-making.
This won’t be an easy trip to Germany to face a Frankfurt side that have already come through three qualifying rounds to reach this stage. The Eagles have had an average start to their domestic efforts with two wins and two defeats, but both of those Bundesliga triumphs have been here in front of their home faithful.
No Jovic, no problem
A lot was made of Luka Jovic’s goalscoring exploits in 2018/19 with the Serbian’s efforts firing Eintracht to seventh in the Bundesliga and the Europa League semis. Real Madrid soon got his signature meaning the Eagles have had to find a replacement for his 27 goals, plus the departure of Sébastien Haller.
The man that has made the step up is Goncalo Paciencia, who in four league games this season has already matched the three goals he scored in 11 appearances last term following his move from Porto.
Not only that, but the 25-year-old has bagged three goals during qualifying for this competition. His height will cause Arsenal a few problems, but so will his clever movement and direct play with the ball at his feet. He’s the type of player you’d fancy against this current Gunners backline.
Attack, attack, attack
‘Attack is the best form of defence’ or so they say. That’s something that Unai Emery looks to have brought into as well with Arsenal’s continued defensive issues.
David Luiz has given away two penalties in his last two games, while Sokaratis doesn’t look too comfortable with the ball at his feet, yet the Gunners don’t adapt to a high press. But what they lack in defence, they make up for in attack.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has hit the ground running in the Premier League with five goals to his name already, while Dani Ceballos has looked fairly good notching two assists.
Nicolas Pepe is still settling into life in the capital and has shown glimpses of what he can do. A confidence-boosting goal would no doubt go a long way in helping him to complete his transition.
While Arsenal’s attacking options are top class, you can’t trust them at the back. They do look a tad short here given their awful record away to Bundesliga sides – the Gunners have lost their last four away in Germany, scoring twice and conceding 13. Plus, the general fact is they don’t keep clean sheets.
Frankfurt can’t be underestimated with Paciencia’s record, plus Bas Dost also arriving at the German club in summer. He got off the mark in Eintracht’s last home game, which was a 2-1 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Dost arrived from Sporting where he scored 76 goals in 83 games for the Lisbon club, which is an impressive record. If he can replicate any sort of goalscoring record he did there, then he’ll win his new supporters over in no time.
Danny Da Costa tops the Bundesliga crossing charts with 23, so the Eagles will be putting balls into the Arsenal box for Paciencia and Dost to attack.
Three of Frankfurt’s last four games have seen both teams scoring and Over 2.5 Goals, while that’s won in Arsenal’s last four. The Eagles do create chances and that’s why they sit at 1.46 Expected Goals (xG) on average in their Bundesliga games so far, while Arsenal’s is 1.33 xG.
Both Teams To Score looks a solid option, but to boost the price add the Over 2.5 Goals section to get a more tempting even-money (SkyBet) play in a game between two open attractive sides.
Kohr – he gets stuck in
Italian referees are generally good for cards, so with Davide Massa in the middle, then the cards market was one to delve into.
Straight away, I noticed Paciencia already had a couple of cards to his name, so the frontman won’t shy away from a tackle. But Dominik Kohr caught the eye (6/4 Bet365). He came off the bench in the weekend defeat to Augsburg, but prior to that, he had been cautioned in his three previous starts, including in the second leg victory over Strasbourg that was very feisty.
The 25-year-old defensive midfielder has two cautions in Bundesliga, plus two during qualifying for this competition. In the German top-flight, he averages two fouls per-game, and averages 1.50 tackles per match, and up shielding his backline from this potent Arsenal frontline could see him having his hands full.
So with Massa having shown at least four cards in all of his four club games then they are of definite interest here, and Kohr could be on the receiving end with the dirty work he’ll have to get through.