Only success in the Europa League can save Arsenal’s season now but unfortunately for Arsene Wenger and his players they are facing AC Milan in the round of 16 at exactly the wrong time.
The Gunners have lost five of their last seven Premier League fixtures as well as being beaten 3-0 by Manchester City in the League Cup final less than a fortnight ago.
In contrast AC Milan are unbeaten in their last 13 matches in all competitions and have won through to the Coppa Italia final.
Gennaro Gattuso has done an excellent job since succeeding Vincenzo Montella and now may be the time to back the Rossoneri to win the Europa League outright at enticing odds of 13/1.
Atletico Madrid (43/20) are the current favourites to win the Europa League and Diego Simeone’s team will be confident of getting the better of Lokomotiv Moscow over two legs and reaching the quarter-finals.
Atletico, Champions League finalists in 2014 and 2016, are 15/4 to win Thursday’s first leg 2-0.
Borussia Dortmund, Lazio and Sporting Lisbon should have little difficulty getting past Red Bull Salzburg, Dynamo Kiev and Viktoria Plzen respectively, but the ties between CSKA Moscow and Lyon, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao as well as RB Leipzig and Zenit St Petersburg, should all be tight affairs.
Lyon are fourth in Ligue 1 but have been in poor form of late while CSKA have one of the meanest defences in the Russian Premier League.
A goalless draw in the first leg may be good value at 31/4, while Marseille should be too good for an Athletic Bilbao team that are languishing in the bottom half of the La Liga table. The French side are 5/2 to win the first leg with both teams to score.
RB Leipzig have not hit the heights of last term but they are still sixth in the Bundesliga table and should have too much talent for a dour Zenit St Petersburg side that knocked Celtic out in the previous round.
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