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Arsenal vs Valencia preview | double injury boost, Ozil to start + prediction

By on May 2, 2019

Arsenal take on Valencia in the first leg of our Europa League semi-final at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

Given our woeful away form, I expect we’ll need to secure a healthy lead this evening to put ourselves in a strong position to reach the final as I have no faith we’ll get a decent result in Spain next week.

We’ve pretty-much blown our hopes of finishing third in the Premier League following three consecutive defeats to Crystal Palace, Wolves and Leicester City but thankfully Chelsea and Man Utd have also dropped points so fourth place is still within our sights.

However, we’ll need to rely on Chelsea dropping at least two points in their last two games to stand a chance of snatching fourth so winning the Europa League is probably our best shot at getting back into the Champions League.

Coincidentally, the chances are we’ll have to beat Chelsea in the final as they’re favourites to beat Frankfurt in the other semi-final but we’ve got to see-off a well organised Valencia side before we can dream of the final in Baku.

Arsenal had a surprisingly easy time of it in the quarter finals after beating Napoli 3-0 over two legs so we should be confident of edging past Valencia – who eased past Villarreal 5-1 on aggregate in the last round.

Team news

Arsenal will be without Aaron Ramsey for the rest of the season as he’s been ruled out with a hamstring injury which sadly means he’s played his last game for the club.

Denis Suarez has also been ruled out for the rest of the campaign with a groin problem while Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin remain out with long-term injuries.

However, Mesut Ozil is available again after recovering from a foot problem while Nacho Monreal is set to return after missing the Leicester game with a calf issue.

As for Valencia, Francis Coquelin misses the chance to face his former side as he’s suspended but Gabriel should start in defence. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Denis Cheryshev and Cristiano Piccini are all injured.

Preferred line-up

football formations

Expected Valencia XI: Neto, Piccini, Garay, Gabriel, Gaya, Soler, Parejo, Wass, Guedes, Gameiro, Rodrigo

Prediction

Arsenal’s form on the road has been a disaster again this season but with the exception of the Palace game, we’ve been excellent at the Emirates so I’m confident we’ll win tonight, also suggested by odds at gambling sites. Valencia are a decent side and will be difficult to break down but I’m hopeful we’ll have enough firepower to grab a couple of goals. As long as we can keep a clean sheet and take our chances, we should be in a strong position to reach the final. I’m backing Arsenal 2-0 Valencia

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