No Moscow meltdown for Gunners


The Europa League takes the spotlight on Thursday and Arsenal will be confident of booking their place in the last four by overcoming CSKA Moscow.

Arsene Wenger’s men appear to be enjoying their traditional late-season renaissance, winning their last six, and were too good for the Armeitsy in the first leg.

It means they take a 4-1 advantage to Moscow to face a team who have failed to win their last six at home against English opposition and an away win is a very handy 21/20.

The Gunners’ defensive foibles remain a worry though and although they should go through, a clean sheet is always unlikely so the 43/20 for them to win and both to score is indeed tempting.

Atletico Madrid should also have no issues against Sporting Lisbon following a tumultuous week for the Portuguese club.

Last Thursday’s 2-0 defeat at the Metropolitano was followed by a social media spat between the players and president Bruno de Carvalho but experienced coach Jorge Jesus seems to have done a good job in his role of peacemaker.

Bas Dost and Fábio Coentrao are suspended for the home side, while they face an Atleti team who are likely to focus on winning this tournament (1/1) with their La Liga title hopes now gone.

Another win to zero looks likely for Colchoneros at 8/5 but more drama is expected elsewhere, most notably in Marseille.

The Stade Velodrome is a ground with a history of European excitement and Les Phoceens will need their vociferous fans to get right behind them against RB Leipzig.

Ralph Hassenhuttl’s men won 1-0 in Germany and appeared to have one eye on this game during Monday’s 4-1 home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.

Fireworks are likely in this one but these two are too hard to split and the draw at 13/5 looks a good option, as does that outcome and both scoring at 3/1.

Finally and Red Bull Salzburg and Lazio also look set to provide plenty of drama after Simone Inzaghi’s men produced a 4-2 victory in arguably the pick of the first legs.

Salzburg’s defeat in Rome was their first in 35 competitive outings and they followed it up with Sunday’s reverse at Linz, their maiden back-to-back losses since October 2016.

They have, however, kept clean sheets in 14 of their last 17 at home and the two goals they scored in The Stadio Olimpico could prove crucial.

Lazio are unbeaten in seven and despite Die Roten Bullen’s defensive prowess, are likely to net after bagging 12 in their last three outings.

Their two-goal advantage is healthy and although it could be a home win and both to score (11/5), I Biancocelesti should still qualify.

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