ARSENAL continue their Europa League campaign with a trip to Portuguese outfit Vitoria Guimares on Wednesday night. Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) analyses the odds.
Vitoria Guimares v Arsenal | Wednesday 6th November 2019, 15:50 | BT Sport
Arsenal can take their mind off their league struggles as they head to northern Portugal knowing three points will seal their path through to the Europa League knockout rounds on Wednesday.
It was Nicolas Pepe that saved Arsenal blushes a couple of weeks ago. His two late free-kicks earned the Gunners all three points to keep their 100% record intact.
Vitoria Guimaraes will have shocked a few with how they performed. The pace on the break caused Arsenal all sorts of problems, especially in the first half, and it saw them record 17 shots, five of which tested Emiliano Martinez.
Strong at home
Guimaraes are unbeaten in five home games in their domestic league (W3-D2-L0), and that’s included them scoring five on two occasions. They blew Belenenses away in their last home game with Bruno Duarte and Mikel Agu putting them two up in the opening five minutes.
Even at the Emirates they were fast out of the blocks. Andre Almeida forced Martinez into a save with three minutes on the clock, before former Spurs academy player Marcus Edwards broke the deadlock with eight minutes gone.
Ivo Viera’s side had plenty of joy down their right side exploiting the rustiness of Kieran Tierney, and similar tactics could well be employed once more to get at this vulnerable Arsenal defence.
You saw Guimaraes turnover the ball high up the pitch, capitalising on heavy touches from Arsenal players on numerous occasions at the Emirates. If replicating that intensity and press, then Os Conquistadores could prove to be the conquerors.
Pressure on Emery
The fans are getting restless and results haven’t been good enough. Their only win in their last five came in the reverse fixture, but Arsenal were well below par that evening and lucky to take all three points.
Home draws to Crystal Palace and Wolves won’t have helped the mood, especially having lead in both and managed to squander it.
Their away form has to be a cause for concern. It’s just one win in six on the road, and even though the 3-0 score at Frankfurt looks comfortable, it was far from that with the Germans creating numerous opportunities to get on the scoresheet before having Dominik Kohr dismissed.
Given the Gunners have a crunch game against high-flying Leicester on Saturday, I’m expecting Emery to field a side similar to that crazy 5-5 League Cup draw against Liverpool.
If that is the side that starts, then I couldn’t be going anywhere near their price to win and will be looking for alternative approaches.
The betting angle
Interestingly, if you look at both sides league matches, then Guimaraes have been in front at the break in three of five home games, while Arsenal were behind at Man United and Sheffield United respectively.
Also in the reverse fixture, the Portuguese side lead at the interval, so if they press like they did at the Emirates then the 11/4 on the hosts leading at half-time could be of interest.
If Guimaraes do catch Arsenal cold then that’ll make this more of an open game, which will see the hosts hitting the Gunners on the break.
With Emery’s side poor travellers, I’m happy to put Guimaraes or draw into a Bet Builder with Over 1 Goal in the game for an odds-against price.
Vitoria Guimaraes v Arsenal – Vitoria Guimaraes Double Chance and Over 1 Goal (21/20 Bet365)