It’s time to gear up for the final stretch of the season and while most will choose to focus their attention on the Premier League, there’s just as much intrigue behind what will happen with Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League. We’re at the quarter-final stage now and it’s not unreasonable to think they’re one of the favourites, especially heading into their two-legged tie against Slavia Prague.
Today, we’re going to be previewing the game as the countdown to kickoff in North London continues.
Arsenal have slipped up one too many times in the Europa League over the course of the last few years and while optimism is the best way forward, many wouldn’t be surprised if they do so again this time around. Still, they’ve got a squad that should be more than capable of making magic happen against Slavia Prague, especially when the stakes are taken into consideration. Mikel Arteta is well aware of what winning this competition could do for the confidence of the club heading into the summer, and as such, we expect them to put in a solid shift on Thursday night.
We all know the controversy associated with Slavia Prague and their tie against Rangers in the last round, with many questioning whether or not they should even be allowed to compete at this stage of the competition. Still, on the pitch, they’ve been pretty flawless as they sit top of the Czech First League after going 25 games unbeaten thus far. Between that and what they’ve been able to produce in the Europa we think it’d be pretty foolish to write them off and moving forward, they need to be taken seriously – especially by a team as inconsistent as Arsenal.
Our expectation for this one is that Arsenal will control the pace and Slavia Prague will have to patiently wait for their openings. Whether or not that pays off for them is unclear, given what we know about Arsenal and their ability to mess things up at this level. Our official scoreline prediction is going to be 2-1 to the Gunners but we don’t think that’ll completely get them out of the woods. After all, it’d leave them vulnerable to a 1-0 loss in the second leg, which is where things can get a little bit shaky if they don’t stay completely focused.
Will Arsenal secure a first leg advantage tomorrow night?