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Can Arsenal turn around tie to reach last eight? Get Europa League tips

Leigh Copson 11 Mar 2019
Granit Xhaka & Laurent Koscielny of Arsenal (credit:Credit by bettingpro)

Europa League last-16, second leg predictions for Thursday, March 14. Can Arsenal fight back from two goals down to book their place in the quarter-finals, and will Chelsea successfully defend a three-goal cushion in Kiev? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea (17:55 GMT)

Chelsea took firm control of this two-legged tie a week ago as they ran out 3-0 winners at Stamford Bridge. Pedro gave the Blues an early lead and although the Dynamo Kiev floodgates did not open after that, further goals from Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi have put Maurizio Sarri’s side in a commanding position as they make the lengthy trek to Ukraine. They do it, however, on the back of another disappointing home result in the Premier League that has put another dent in their quest for a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League. It took a last-gasp goal from Eden Hazard to snatch a 1-1 draw against Wolves, so can they now lift themselves to ensure they book their place in the quarter-finals of this competition with a win in Kiev? I am not so sure. While I thoroughly expect Sarri’s side to march on and would not be remotely surprised to see them win, they simply do not need to win this match so they do not need to go out there and take any unnecessary risks. Therefore I am avoiding the match betting market and going with both teams to score instead. Kiev failed to get on the scoresheet in London, but they must go on the offensive here and they have now scored 10 goals in their last three competitive fixtures at home. Chelsea, meanwhile, have now conceded in each of their last two away games in this competition, conceding in 11 of their last 12 competitive fixtures away from Stamford Bridge. However, at the other end an away goal would almost certainly wrap up the tie for Chelsea and I believe they will get one. The Blues, despite their issues up front this season, have managed to find the back of the net in all nine of their games in this competition so far, netting three in their previous meeting with Kiev, so there is every chance that they will grab at least one goal here.

Arsenal v Rennes (20:00 GMT)

Arsenal have given themselves plenty to do in this return leg after a disappointing 3-1 defeat in France. The Gunners made a flying start as Alex Iwobi broke the deadlock in the first three minutes, but defender Sokratis Papasthathopoulos was shown the red card four minutes before the break and almost immediately Rennes levelled things up. The hosts then pulled away in the second half as an own goal from Nacho Monreal and an Ismaila Sarr strike two minutes from time gave them a commanding lead to take to London for the return leg. So can Arsenal turn this around or will their quest for silverware this season come to an end? Unai Emery’s side issued the perfect response to that loss in France as they impressively dispatched Manchester United at the weekend. The Red Devils had arrived on a high after their shock Champions League win over Paris St Germain in midweek and they were full of confidence having not lost a domestic game since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reins. However, the woodwork twice denied United a goal and the hosts took full advantage to record a 2-0 victory that propelled them back into the top four in the Premier League, and I now expect them to follow that up with a big enough victory here to ensure that they progress in the Europa League. I also expect them to make the breakthrough early – that has been a common theme in games that Arsenal have won recently. They have led after 30 minutes in all but one of their last 11 competitive wins and if you solely look at the Europa League they have led at the half-an-hour mark in all but two of their games – and one of those games saw them go in front on 32 minutes. Emery’s side need a fast start at the Emirates Stadium and all of the key statistics suggest they are more than capable of making one, and that is why I am backing the Gunners to be leading after 30 minutes instead of backing them for short odds in the handicap market.

Villarreal v Zenit St Petersburg (20:00 GMT)

Villarreal took a big step towards the last eight of the competition as second-half goals from Gerard Moreno and Manu Morlanes lifted them to an impressive 3-1 victory over Zenit in St Petersburg. The night could not have gone any better for the Spanish side – not only did they return home with a two-goal cushion they also boarded the plane with three away goals and that means Zenit have a gigantic task on their hands if they wish to turn this around. I do not see that happening though. Villarreal’s home record in La Liga leaves a lot to be desired, but they have been strong at home in the Europa League and are yet to lose in front of the home fans this season. Therefore I fancy them to complete the double over Zenit here, although a lack of clean sheets over the past few months suggests the Russian side will at least get on the scoresheet in this one.

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Can Arsenal turn around tie to reach last eight? Get Europa League tips

Europa League last-16, second leg predictions for Thursday, March 14.

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