Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, left, takes a shot past Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London, England, Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Catherine Ivill/Pool via AP)
- Arsenal and Slavia Prague meet in the quarterfinal first leg of the Europa League on Thursday, April 8, KO 4 PM EST
- Arsenal come into this game off the back of two consecutive home defeats
- We preview the game, look at the odds, and offer a best bet below
The Emirates Stadium plays host to the Europa League quarterfinal first-leg clash between Arsenal vs Slavia Prague on Thursday, April 8, KO at 4:00 PM EST. The Gunners made it to the last eight thanks to a nervy 3-2 aggregate win over Olympiacos, while Slavia Prague did so via a controversial two-legged win over Glasgow Rangers.
We preview the game below, take a look at the odds and offer our prediction here.
Arsenal vs Slavia Prague Odds
|Matchup||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Arsenal vs Slavia Prague||ARS -1.5 (+155) | SLA +1.5 (-190)||ARS -186 | DRAW +330 | SLA +480||Ov 3.5 (+225) | Un 3.5 (-286)|
All odds taken Apr 7
Arsenal’s 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool at the weekend was not the ideal preparation for this tie, and manager Mikel Arteta has a tough job on his hands to lift his players. The Gunners were comfortably out-gunned by the Reds, who themselves have been suffering from a lack of consistency, and that followed the 1-0 home defeat by Olympiacos in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie. Luckily for Arsenal, they had done just enough in the first leg.
💬 “Firstly I apologise to our supporters for the display… For the club we represent, it’s not acceptable.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 3, 2021
This has made for a difficult time for Arteta who is finding himself increasingly under pressure from the Arsenal board and the club’s supporters. The nature of the 3-0 surrender to Liverpool was particularly hard to take and brought into question Arteta’s ability to motivate his players. With the Spaniard also seeing his team come up short in similar circumstances against Olympiacos, he desperately needs both a win and a good performance against Prague.
📍 Arsenal Training Centre
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) April 6, 2021
Big Pressure on Arteta
On the face of it, this draw looked a good one for Arsenal – having avoided some of the big names in the last eight – but that also increases the pressure on them to deliver and progress through to the semifinals. As an attacking force, they still have good options – as we will come to in a bit – but defensively it has been something of a nightmare. Not since drawing 0-0 with Manchester United on January 30 have they recorded a clean sheet – a run of 13 games.
The one big positive they can cling to is that the 1-0 defeat by Olympiacos was the first time in 26 Europa League matches that they have failed to score a goal – a run that stretches back to February 2019, when they were beaten by the Belarusians, BATE Borisov.
Arsenal vs Slavia Prague Head-to-Head Stats
|10||UEL 2021 Games played||10|
Slavia in Good Form
Slavia comes into this game in good shape, albeit their passage to the last eight was shrouded in controversy. In the second leg of their round-of-16 tie with Rangers, a racism row involving Ondrej Kudela overshadowed what was an outstanding win for the Czechs, and they will be hoping that both legs of the Arsenal game will be trouble-free.
— SK Slavia Prague EN (@slavia_eng) April 7, 2021
But what the controversy cannot disguise is that Slavia Prague’s form heading into this game is outstanding. Jindrich Trpisovsky’s team has put together an unbeaten run of 21 games and is yet to be beaten in 2021. This run includes all Czech domestic league and cup games and Europa League games – an astonishing feat. Ironically, at the weekend they almost slipped up, having disappointingly drawn 0-0 with Zbrojovka Brno, although in mitigation they may have had one eye on Thursday’s game.
What the goalless draw with Brno did bring up for Slavia was their fourth clean sheet in a row and worth remembering too is that in this season’s Europa League, the Czechs have already won on English soil, when they beat Leicester City 2-0 in late February. The Emirates will hold no fears for Slavia at all – especially with the Gunners on a difficult run – even though they did lose 7-0 on their only other visit to the Emirates back in 2008. But a lot has changed since then.
A hearty welcome at the airport! ♥️
— SK Slavia Prague EN (@slavia_eng) April 6, 2021
Arsenal vs Slavia Prague Best Bets
So, while Arsenal starts as favorites there is little to justify it, and with Slavia so tight defensively, the value here, for me, is with a low-scoring draw – a result that would tilt the tie heavily in Slavia’s favor. Also worth considering is Under 0.5 goals, which pays handsomely for the goalless draw
Picks: Arsenal and Slavia Prague to draw (+330)
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Once just a sports fanatic, fan-turned-writer Gary Gowers has been featured on European television and radio networks to discuss several professional football clubs. His work can be found in an assortment of publications like The Metro, MyFootballWriter.com, and BBC Radio Norfolk.