A strong first leg at the Emirates is needed if Arsene Wenger wishes to bow out with a European trophy.
Arsenal v Atletico Madrid – Thursday 20:05, BT Sport 2
Arsenal will certainly be looking to give their fans something to cheer about this season and may be encouraged having netted 20 times across their last six at the Emirates, but none of the backlines they’ve faced in this recent streak can hold a candle to Atletico’s rearguard.
Diego Simeone’s side have conceded a solitary strike in four of their last seven European matches though, while Arsenal have found the net in eight of their last nine against teams we have ranked in Europe’s top 10 so they should be capable of breaking through. Both teams scored in six of the last seven of these, and with a precious away goal for the visitors to play for, it’s the standout bet.
Wenger’s side have been embarrassed by the quality of their opposition when facing Europe’s top 10 in recent times, shipping an average of more than three goals per game across their last seven while they netted exactly once in five of these. That appears their likely sum total with Atletico only conceding more than a single strike twice in their last 12 across all competitions. Given Diego Costa looks set to miss this clash, the Gunners will breathe a sigh of relief as he continuously tormented them during his time with Chelsea, and since Atleti’s results can often resemble binary code, the 1-1 stalemate is our correct score selection.
Alexandre Lacazette ensured Wenger’s first game since announcing his impending departure ended in victory with two late goals against West Ham, and the Frenchman now has six in as many appearances. With Aubameyang ineligible, he’s sure to start and looks well placed to make it seven in seven.