Valencia vs ArsenalUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 May 9, 2019, Estadio de Mestalla
Unai Emery's side head for southern Spain with a 3-1 first-leg lead, but this tie is still very much alive after Valencia grabbed a valuable away goal in London.
The Spanish side should be a different animal at the Mestalla and the bookmakers agree with Valencia 5/6 (Paddy Power) favourites to win on the night. Despite Arsenal's victory over Valencia last Thursday, the North London side are 14/5 (Betfred) to win in Spain. Meanwhile, a draw would be enough to send Arsenal to Azerbaijan and that outcome is best priced at 3/1 (Bet 365)
Arsenal come into this tie on the back of a drab 1-1 draw at home to Brighton, a result which all but ended another lacklustre Premier League season. The Gunners have failed to win any of their last four domestic outings, taking a pitiful one point from 12.
In contrast, Unai Emery's men have come to life in the latter stages of this season's Europa League. After neatly negotiating a tricky looking quarter-final tie against Napoli, Arsenal impressively came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 at the Emirates last Thursday night.
However, Valencia showed no signs of a Europa League hangover on Sunday by hammering Huesca 6-2 to maintain their top-four challenge in La Liga. It was a welcomed victory for the Spanish side, who, like Arsenal, had lost three league games on the spin prior to last weekend.
Both sides domestic inconsistencies can clearly be attributed to their respective ropey defences. However, at the other end of the park these two teams do have an abundance of quality attacking options, so backing both teams to score looks like a banker at 4/7 (Bet 365)
The bookies clearly agree, but with such short value on offer, an alternative angle to consider may be to combine Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 goals at 10/11 (Bet 365)
The Spaniards are unbeaten at home in Europe this season, with the likes of Juventus and Manchester United having failed to win at the Mestalla during the Champions League group stages. Furthermore, Los Che have only lost one of their last 21 games in all competitions at their iconic home.
Valencia led after 11 minutes in London and the Bats should come flying out of the traps again on a night where they must net a minimum of two goals.
Arsenal are not the type of side who will set up to contain the hosts or preserve their lead, but they did bag five yellow cards at home to Brighton on Sunday.
With this in mind, it may be profitable to have a punt on some Gunners going into the referees notebook again. A good candidate to consider is Arsenal's combative midfielder Granit Xhaka. The Swiss international is no stranger to a booking and can be backed to receive his eleventh card of the season at a tempting 2/1 (Bet 365)
Whether or not Xhaka and co can shut out the Spanish side remains to be seen, and even although Arsenal won and kept a clean sheet in Naples, their away form this season has been atrocious.
However, the North London side will believe that they can grab an away goal of their own and book their tickets to Baku. The hosts will have to take risks to rescue their hopes of making the final and the Londoners could expose them in doing so.
Travel-sick Arsenal do not tempt me enough to back them to win or draw on the night, but I do believe that they can score and send Unai Emery into a fourth Europa League final in six years. Therefore, back Arsenal to Qualify and Both Teams to Score at 4/5 (Bet365).
This UEFA Europa League match between Valencia and Arsenal will be played on May 9, 2019 and kick off at 20:00