Football Tips: Our 3 best bets for Arsenal v Villarreal on Thursday

Our tipster Andrew Cunneen previews Unai Emery's return to the Emirates.

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

At what point does ‘to Arsenal’ become a verb? It already refers to a collective of something as a noun, but the only thing I can see them collecting is evidence to sack Mikel Arteta. In fact, one could argue the only reason anyone even keeps him around is because his hair consistency is both troubling and aesthetically-pleasing at the same time.

That level of distraction is required if the fans of the club are to be led away from the shambolic performances that seem to plague them week in, week out. But until Spurs stop ‘Spurs-ing’, they’ll be spared the blushes. And at least in this instance we can afford to grant them the consolation that a mortifying night in Spain has only landed them a 2-1 deficit, with an away goal to boot.

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Of all the situations they’ve been in, a favourable chance to qualify for a European final is hardly the stickiest situation of them all is it? You’d at least imagine the penny will drop for them back at the Emirates now and they’ll go on to qualify, over a side who have only won 13 times in La Liga this season.

Here are three bets that understand Arsenal’s comic association actually hands punters value inadvertently.

Thursday May 6 – 20:00
Europa League semi-final second leg – Arsenal v Villarreal
BT Sport 2

Short-Price Punt: Arsenal to Win

I love these bets for loads of reasons. In second legs where the side you’re backing to win have lost the opener 2-1, you also gain the hidden advantage of the visitors being very content with losing 3-2, 4-3 etc – but also that they’d probably settle for a 2-1 defeat too and bring it to extras.

In life, we can take all the advantage we can get – and the short price about Arsenal may seem odd to some, but it’s loaded in value due to the increased likelihood of both teams being happy with the outcome at various scorelines. Delicious.

Value Play: Arsenal Half-Time/Arsenal Full-Time

For much the same reason, Villarreal could easily go 1-0 down and have to come out and play a small bit in the second half if they’re feeling conservative. They know they’ll be knocked out with a 1-0 defeat and Arsenal, being as passive as they are, could easily try to cling onto that lead late into the game.

Villareal are a side who try and keep the ball. Without it, they might struggle if they’re in dire need of a goal to prevent them from being dumped out. For once, I feel like Arsenal have the psychological advantage in a game of football.

Long Shot: Arsenal (-2)

You just never know. Late in the game after travelling to London, it could all come unravelled for the Spanish side.

There’s clearly bite in this game and if there’s another red card, that rightly opens up this possibility. On the absolute base of things, Arsenal could be three goals better than Villarreal. And for the price that we’re being afforded – depending on a side notoriously mentally weak – I can’t turn away from it.

Arsenal v Villarreal betting tips:

Short-Price Punt: Arsenal to Win
Value Play: Arsenal Half-Time/Arsenal Full-Time
Long Shot: Arsenal (-2)


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