Europa League Quarterfinals Odds & Betting Picks for Slavia Prague vs. Arsenal (Thursday, April 15)
Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images. Pictured: Arsenal standout Bukayo Saka.
- Premier League side Arsenal welcomes Slavia Prague to the Emirates for Thursday's Europa League Quarterfinal showdown.
- The Gunners and their Czech foes are even at 1-1 on aggregate, with the winner advancing to the semifinal round.
- Matt Trebby breaks things down below and explains why he's backing Arsenal to march on.
Slavia Prague vs. Arsenal Odds
|Slavia Prague Odds||+400|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-103 / -121)|
|Day | Time||Thursday | 3 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.|
It has been a familiar story for Arsenal this season: the Gunners’ season is on the line in the Europa League.
The chances of manager Mikel Arteta’s team qualifying for European competition next season through the Premier League are slim, plus the club was embarrassingly knocked out of the FA Cup as the reigning champion early in the competition.
Slavia Prague — formally known as Slavia Praha — is thriving in the Czech Republic and won’t be an easy out. Arsenal has proved itself capable of coming up with the necessary big result through the opening two knockout rounds, so let’s dig into see if it’s good value to do it again.
The Czech side had to have been happy with how the first leg at the Emirates Stadium went. After a scoreless first half that saw it look just as much of a threat as its host, Slavia Prague conceded a goal before getting a stoppage-time equalizer that gave it a lot of leverage in the second leg.
Slavia Prague is going to win the Czech First League. The club is unbeaten at 21-5-0 (W-D-L), with a plus-57 goal difference. Given the poor quality of its league, we’ll look to the Europa League to see how its strong form will translate when facing a team like Arsenal the second time.
Slavia Prague took out Rangers in the Round of 16 on a 3-1 aggregate scoreline, while registering a combined 1.0 expected goals over the two legs. Before that, Leicester City fell 2-0 on aggregate, with both goals coming in the second leg. Slavia Prague won the xG battle over two legs by a 1.5-1.3 margin.
The first leg saw Slavia Prague lose the chance-creating battle via a 1.8-0.6 difference against Arsenal. The Gunners were unspectacular, and Slavia Prague had an impressive 46% of the possession and actually more shots on target than the hosts, finishing with a 4-2 edge.
The Gunners were without Bukayo Saka and Martin Ødegaard in the first leg, with the latter Norwegian playmaker set to miss this game as well. Arteta said he expects both Saka and Emile Smith Rowe to be fit for this match, while Ødegaard’s involvement sounds doubtful.
The big tactical call for Arsenal will be how the backline looks without left-back dynamo Kieran Tierney, who left the first leg injured and might miss the rest of the season.
The Gunners had lined up with a unique defensive look in their 3-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday, with Granit Xhaka playing as a left back/midfielder. Saka was operating as an attacking midfielder, swapping the middle for the right wing often with Nicolas Pépé.
There are significant selection questions for Arteta in this game. Does Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang start up top? Arsenal has been at its best with just one of the two on the field, but Arteta could opt for both with Aubameyang on the left side in a lineup that hasn’t yielded great results this season.
The Gunners were smooth and dynamic against Sheffield United with Aubameyang on the bench, and Saka running the show behind Lacazette. Don’t be surprised to see a similar setup, although Smith Rowe could be thrust back into the starting lineup.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Regardless of who starts for Arsenal, it will have the advantage in terms of quality on the field. It’s encouraging that against Benfica and Olympiakos, the Gunners were able to come through when they needed to do so, although the second leg against the Greek side was a disappointing performance.
Arsenal will control this game in a must-win scenario, knowing it needs to score to go through to the semifinal round. Having an idea as how the Gunners like to operate, it likely won’t be easy and there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way. However, I’ll back the team with more quality to go through with a win.
Currently, the best number on Arsenal’s moneyline is -124 odds via DraftKings, so we’ll go with that as the top selection.
Pick: Arsenal ML (-127)