Arsenal vs Atletico Madrid
Arsenal pulled the short straw last Friday at UEFA HQ.
The Gunners have been paired with Spanish powerhouse Atletico Madrid in the semifinal of the Europa League.
Arsene Wenger’s total focus is now on the European competition, which offers them a golden ticket into next season’s Champions League.
But will the Gunners be able to get past Atletico?
According to Sky Sports’s Guillem Balague, Arsenal have little chance of reaching the final.
Guillem Balague: ‘Arsenal lack character’
In an op-ed for AS in the aftermath of the Europa League draw, Guillem Balague tore into Wenger’s team.
Balague noted that Arsenal have yet to pick up a point in the Premier League away from home in 2018.
That, he argued, was symptomatic of bigger problems in Wenger’s squad:
When it looks like Arsenal can mount a challenge for the league title, they stumble.
It’s possible that they lack character. That would explain their horrendous away form.
Defensive problems are their main limitation. They concede almost every game, and Petr Cech has picked the ball out of his own net more in 2017-18 than in any other season.
Cutting but true?
Arsenal’s odds crash, Atletico Madrid favourites
Following Friday’s draw, the bookies have repriced the odds for the winner of the Europa League.
Arsenal are now the second favourites to win the competition.
The Gunners are priced at 5/2 to win a first European trophy for manager Arsene Wenger.
Interestingly, the bookies have Atletico Madrid as their odds-on favourites for the UEL trophy.
The Rojiblancos are 1/1 to win the competition.
Marseille & Salzburg offer huge value
Considering that one of Marseille or Salzburg will definitely be in the Europa League final, there’s huge value in backing either side to win the trophy.
Marseille are the third favourites for the crown, as the Ligue 1 side are priced at 4/1 to win the Europa League.
OM beat German side RB Leipzig 5-2 at home in their quarterfinal tie.
Austrian outfit Salzburg are the outsiders to win the trophy, valued at 7/1 by the bookies.
Salzburg have reached the final four after beating Lazio 4-1 in their quarterfinal second leg.