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After last weekend’s return to domestic football following the international break, European football begins in earnest once again and Arsenal will hope to put one foot in the final four of the Europa League when hosting CSKA Moscow in the first leg of the quarter-finals tomorrow.
The Gunners domestic campaign has been one to forget and their European football aspirations for next season now rely solely on this competition as they find themselves 13 points shy of North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the fourth and final Champions League spot.
Can they keep their hopes alive with victory over the 2005 UEFA Cup winners? Our football betting expert gives you the lowdown ahead of their important night in Europe.
Arsenal favourites to book last-four spot
Arsene Wenger’s charges booked their last eight spot with a comprehensive and routine 5-1 aggregate win over a struggling AC Milan side.
On the plus side in domestic football, their recent form has shown signs of promise and having lost their previous three Premier League encounters, they have at least restored some faith with back-to-back 3-0 wins over Watford and Stoke City.
CSKA tough on the road
CSKA Moscow’s path through to the final eight of the Europa League was less clear cut, but they pulled off a shock when winning on away goals against Lyon in the last round.
They had to do it the hard way as well with a 3-2 victory in France against the Ligue 1 outfit, so are more than capable of pulling off a surprise win at the Emirates despite sitting in third place in their domestic league, five points behind leaders and cross-city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow.
No complacency from Gunners
While Arsenal may be odds-on to secure victory at the Emirates, there is no value in going down that route, with the correct score outcome the more appealing market to go for despite Wenger’s side having failed to beat CSKA Moscow in their previous two encounters in Europe in the Champions League group stages back in 2006.
The Gunners are more than likely to come out on top against the Russians and a win by the odd goal in a 2-1 win, which looks to be an attractive bet at 15/2.