On Thursday night, Arsenal host CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium in the quarter-final first leg of the Europa League.
Arsenal have been enduring a difficult campaign. However, the Europa League has been the highlight of the season so far. Last time out in the competition, the Gunners saw-off Italian giants AC Milan 5-1 on aggregate after a 2-0 win at the San Siro and a 3-1 victory at the Emirates.
The wins against the Rossoneri mean that Arsene Wenger’s side has now won four of their last five games in the Europa League. A key to that good run in Europe’s secondary competition is the home sides attacking prowess, as they have scored at least two goals in four of their last five European outings.
The north London side has won five of their eight games in this competition, suffering just two defeats in the competitions current guise. However, the Gunners home record in the Europa League is a mixed one, as the home side has won three, drawn one and lost one of their five games at the Emirates Stadium.
CSKA have been highly inconsistent in the Europa League this season, winning just three of their last nine outings. However, the Russian side pulled-off a shock 3-2 win at French side Lyon to progress to the last eight courtesy of the away goal rule after suffering a 1-0 home defeat in the first leg of the tie.
The visitors have an impressive record on their travels in the Europa League, as the visitors have won six of their last nine games on their travels, having suffered just one defeat in the process. Four of CSKA Moscow’s last six away games have produced under 2.5 goals.
The Gunners are still without Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla through injury, while star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is eligible for the clash. Striker Danny Welbeck is a doubt with a back problem, so Alexandre Lacazette could start after his return from injury. David Ospina is likely to start in goal, as has been the custom this season in Europe. Petr Cech a fitness doubt anyway.
The visitors are without Viktor Vasin and Mario Fernandes due to injury. Kirill Nababkin will miss out through suspension. Pontus Wernbloom and Bibras Natcho are one booking away from suspension.
Arsenal are the favourites to win this clash at 1/3, the draw is 41/10 and the visitors are odds of 11/1 to record a surprise win.
CSKA Moscow have been inconsistent in this competition this season. However, the Russian side are dangerous on their travels, so the Gunners cannot afford to be complacent in this clash.
Will Arsenal record a first leg win against CSKA Moscow?