THE EUROPA LEAGUE returns on Thursday night as Arsenal travel to Azerbaijan to face Qarabag on matchday two. Gaurav Chaddah (@Gchaddahjourno) shares his betting thoughts.
Qarabag v Arsenal | Thursday 4th October 2018, 17:55 | BT Sport
Arsenal make the long trip to Azerbaijan for Thursday evening’s Europa League tie against Qarabag, who find themselves in the Europa League following an early exit from the Champions League qualifying rounds.
The Gunners themselves made a fairly simple start to life in the Europa League, seeing off Ukrainian side Poltava 4-2 in their opening game a fortnight ago. In contrast, their opponents went down 2-0 in Portugal against Sporting Lisbon, the other team in the group.
Interestingly, Qarabag did manage to make the group stages of the Champions League last season and impressed with their displays at home. As fourth seeds they were given a difficult group with Atletico Madrid, Roma and Chelsea but they managed to hold the Spaniards to a goalless draw and were edged out by Roma 2-1.
Chelsea did dispatch the minnows, however they played most of the game with 10 men. Those home displays last season make it difficult to side with Arsenal, who as short as 4/9 (Matchbook) to make it two wins from two in Europe this season.
Despite Arsenal’s early game against Fulham on Sunday however, it is uncertain just what team Unai Emery will decide to go with, having started players such Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan against Poltava. The former is unavailable this midweek.
The betting angle
Whilst Arsenal have enjoyed a good run of form lately, their defence has continued to be a worry and the Gunners are yet to keep a clean sheet away from home this term.
That, plus the fact Qarabag have held their own at home in the Champions League last season, suggests this game might be a potentially trappy encounter for the Gunners, and one where I do fancy Both Teams To Score (21/20 Sportingbet).
In addition, should Emery continue with Aubameyang up front in Europe, then 7/2 with BetVictor for the forward to open the scoring certainly is worth a small play.
Qarabag v Arsenal – Both Teams To Score (21/20 Sportingbet)
Qarabag v Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score first (7/2 BetVictor)