Michael Owen states his prediction for Valencia v Arsenal
BT Sport pundit Michael Owen is backing Valencia to beat Arsenal and reach the Europa League final on Thursday night
Michael Owen is backing Valencia to beat Arsenal to reach the Europa League final on Thursday night.
Arsenal edged to a 3-1 victory over the Spanish side in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final at The Emirates last week.
Mouctar Diakhaby broke the deadlock for the visitors in north London before France international Alexandre Lacazette netted twice to hand the home side a narrow lead.
The Gunners netted a third goal in the 90th minute through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to give the Premier League side a two-goal cushion heading into this Thursday’s return leg.
However, Unai Emery’s side have struggled on the road in the Europa League and the Premier League this season.
The Gunners have lost 10 of their 18 away games in the Premier League and have also lost at BATE Borisov and Rennes in two of the last three rounds in the Europa League.
Former Liverpool FC striker Owen is backing Valencia to win by the necessary scoreline to beat Arsenal and reach the Champions League final on Thursday night.
“Arsenal have progressed from all 27 European ties in which they have held a two-goal lead from the 1st leg, but I fear for the Gunners in the Mestalla and believe that the away goal score by Valencia at the Emirates may prove crucial,” Owen told BetVictor.
“The Gunners have lost their last four away games in European competition in Spain and the hosts are a formidable outfit on home soil – although they did lose their 20-game unbeaten home record to Eibar in their last home game.
“Gunners boss Unai Emery has a proud record in the competition winning his last 18 Europa League ties, but Arsenal remain vulnerable defensively and I think the hosts will do enough to reach Bacu in front of their fanatical home supporters.”
Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion at The Emirates last weekend to effectively end their slim hopes of a top-four finish.
The Gunners lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final last season in what was Arsene Wenger’s final European game in charge of Arsenal.