Home Sports Football Europa League All-London Europa final a reality
All-London Europa final a reality

All-London Europa final a reality


Arsenal and Chelsea both have advantages going into their Europa League semi-final second legs and there is no reason to suggest there can’t be an all-London European final this season.

There is still plenty of work to be done for both Unai Emery’s and Maurizio Sarri’s teams on Thursday, but the signs are looking promising for the Premier League sides.

Valencia to win @ 10/11

Arsenal hold a 3-1 advantage going into the Mestalla as the Gunners managed to bounce back from going a goal behind to win at the Emirates in their opening meeting.

A brace from Alexandre Lacazette and an effort from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were enough to give Arsenal a convincing win against the La Liga outfit earlier this month.

Emery will be hoping that away goal does not come back to haunt them although there was enough in that performance to give the Gunners real optimism – despite their recent domestic woes.

Of course, the Arsenal cause would have been helped by a fully-fit Aaron Ramsey. However, the Wales international has been ruled out through injury, so has now played his final game for the Gunners before a summer switch to Serie A giants Juventus.

The wheels have really fallen off for the Gunners in the Premier League of late and they have fluffed their lines when it comes to finishing in the top four.

Defeats against the likes of Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester City have put an end to their top-four hopes and now all their eggs are in the Europa League basket in a bid to earn Champions League football for next season.

It’s the amount of goals conceded in those defeats to the Eagles, Wanderers and Foxes that will provide real concern for Emery, who will be desperate to make sure his side are playing in Europe’s premier club tournament next term.

Three goals in each of those losses has shown a soft centre that the Gunners would have hoped they got rid of after the departure of Arsene Wenger at the end of last season.

That issue at the back must be addressed on Thursday night if they are to progress through to the final, even with their advantage going into the game.

Valencia have won all of their home games in the Europa League this season, but they did endure a recent blip with three consecutive defeats, which did include that loss to Arsenal.

Los Che are more than capable of coming out on top on the night and winning the match, but the Gunners might just be able to do enough to qualify for the final.

After his two goals in the first leg, Lacazette is certainly worth looking at in the anytime goalscorer market at 43/20, while Valencia’s Rodrigo Moreno is in hot form of late and is 6/4 to score during the match.

Chelsea -1 3W Handicap @ 1/1

As for the blue side of London, Chelsea go into their semi-final second leg after battling it out with Eintracht Frankfurt for a 1-1 draw.

Sarri’s side will be content they managed to bag that important away goal in a fiery atmosphere in Frankfurt, with Pedro getting on the scoresheet for the visitors.

Chelsea have a little bit of pressure off their shoulders after securing a top-four place in the Premier League over the weekend, but Sarri will still be determined to win a trophy in his first season at Stamford Bridge.

Following the departure of Antonio Conte last summer, there was plenty of hype surrounding Sarri after a drawn-out process to lure him away from Napoli.

The Italian has been under pressure at time this season for the style that his side have played with, but ultimately the team have made progress and can look forward to Champions League football next season.

Eden Hazard, to the shock of many, started the first leg in Germany on the bench. However, the Belgian star should start from the off on Thursday night at the Bridge.

There is still plenty of speculation surrounding Hazard’s future at the club, with Real Madrid the favourites to try and lure the playmaker away from the Premier League.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Hazard although Chelsea are determined to keep hold of a player who makes everything tick for them.

With Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba also strongly linked, Los Blancos might find it hard to get both players this summer.

Hazard is still the first name on the teamsheet for Sarri in the biggest games and the former Lille star is 33/10 to score the opening goal of the night on Thursday.

With four games without a win in all competitions, Frankfurt are finding things tricky at the business end of the season.

They still remain in fourth place in the Bundesliga table although pressure is mounting with two league games to go, especially after a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen last time out.

Youngster Luka Jovic continues to impress and the 21-year-old was the man who bagged Frankfurt’s goal in the first leg.

The former Benfica star has 17 goals to his name this season and is 16/5 to score anytime.

Chelsea should have the ability to limit the visitors to few chances, while the likes of Hazard, Pedro, Olivier Giroud and Willian have the quality to cause Frankfurt problems at the other end.

It might well be an nervy affair under the lights, but Chelsea should fancy their chances of progressing to what could be a mouth-watering final between two London giants.

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Alex Jack As a regular at Murrayfield and Headingley, Alex's knowledge of both Rugby Union and Rugby League is undoubted. He also takes in plenty of Football League action and particularly specialises in Championship betting.


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