Dundalk vs ArsenalUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:55 Dec 10, 2020, Oriel Park
THE Europa League has given Mikel Arteta shelter from the storm this season and his Arsenal side should finish off their group campaign with another victory in Dundalk.
The Gunners are in dreadful form in the Premier League, with an insipid derby defeat to Tottenham at the weekend leaving them languishing in 15th place, just seven points above the drop zone.
That has led to serious questions about Arteta's so-called revolution with the rookie boss coming under fire for the first time since replacing Unai Emery.
But his side haven't put a foot wrong in Europe, winning five out of five to ease through as group winners ahead of this dead rubber with a Dundalk side yet to pick up a point.
Arsenal crushed Rapid Vienna 4-1 in their last outing, justifying my faith in them grabbing a few goals, and it seems like they are able to play with the pressure off when in the European arena.
They could certainly grab a few against Dundalk who are on a horrendous run of seven defeats in eight games in all competitions.
How the bookies view it
It's no surprise to see the Irish side as rank outsiders and they are as big as 25/1 with SBK while even the draw is 7/1 at McBookie. Arsenal's best price is 2/11 with SBK and Matchbook but if you double a Gunners win with a clean sheet it pays 17/20 at BetVictor.
That has a chance as Arteta's men have kept clean sheets in two of their group games, including the reverse fixture as they eased to a 3-0 home win over Dundalk (below).
Dundalk should have a full squad to pick from but Thomas Partey will miss out for Arsenal after picking up an injury against Tottenham and David Luiz is a doubt. Youngster Gabriel Martinelli still isn't ready to return after a long-term lay-off.
Players to watch
Arteta should give some youngsters another chance to impress in what is a meaningless game. The likes of Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe could start, with the latter two both scoring in the win over Rapid. Smith Rowe looks an exciting prospect and is 7/4 with Paddy Power to net again.
Dundalk have been chopping and changing their strikers but David McMillan might be their best bet for a goal as he scored two penalties in the 4-3 loss to Rapid. The former St Johnstone hitman is 5/1 with Paddy Power to score.
Anything else catch the eye?
The stats point to goals, with 13 of Arsenal's last 16 Europa League games seeing over 2.5 strikes while the same applies for Dundalk's last six European outings. But over 2.5 goals only pays a best 4/9 at RedZone so you have to go to over 3.5 to find value at 11/10 with Bet365.
There have been four penalties in Dundalk's group games so far and it could be worth backing another here at 7/4 with McBookie.
This UEFA Europa League match between Dundalk and Arsenal will be played on Dec 10, 2020 and kick off at 17:55. Check below for our tipsters best Dundalk vs Arsenal prediction.