A very good home record meets an abysmal away record in this semi-final second leg. Valencia’s surprise defeat to Eibar at the end of April was only their second defeat at the Mestalla all season. Arsenal, on the other hand, have lost six of their last 10 games on the road in all competitions, winning just three times in that timeframe.
Abject displays in Belarus against BATE Borisov and in France against Rennes nearly cost Arsenal their place in the Europa League, but their excellent home form saw them over the line.
They are therefore lucky to have notched a third goal in last week’s first leg, because the statistics suggest they will lose on Thursday. The concession of three goals in their most recent two Premier League away games is a major cause for concern and Arsenal will probably need to score if they are to book their place in Baku.
Luckily for the visitors, Valencia haven’t been watertight at the back of late, and have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 games.
Valencia could win this but, depending on the score, Arsenal could still advance. So let’s play it safe to add some juice to the price.
The way European football has gone recently, Chelsea’s slender advantage of an away goal means virtually nothing. Big leads are being made to look increasingly fragile, so a 1-1 draw does not give Chelsea a significant advantage whatsoever.
Chelsea failed to win for the first time in the knockout stages but stretched their unbeaten run in the Europa League to 16 games; a tournament record.
They will fancy themselves at Stamford Bridge. Similar to Arsenal, Chelsea owe virtually everything to their home form. Their lofty position of third in the league would be a distant daydream if their home form even somewhat resembled their performances on the road.
Six wins from six Europa League home games is an indicator of just how strong Chelsea are at Stamford Bridge and they should make it seven from seven.
If their three previous knockout games at the Bridge are anything to go by, we will see goals on Thursday. Chelsea have scored 10 times in their three knockout games at Stamford Bridge, and conceded three to Slavia Prague in a rip-roaring quarter-final tie.
Eintracht have also managed to score in every one of their Europa League away games and can boast a far more impressive away record than Chelsea can. It will not be a walk in the park for the 2013 champions and if their defensive effort resembles the one that they put in against Slavia Prague, they could well lose that slender advantage of the away goal.
Either way we should see goals, with Chelsea’s home record seeing them over the line.
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