Europa League 2017/18 – Round of 16 (Leg One)

Milan v Arsenal

Friday March 9, 5:00am AEDST

Both these sides are struggling domestically as Milan are down in 7th in Serie A while the Gunners are closer to Burnley in 7th than they are to Chelsea in 5th, and so this competition represents the best opportunity for these sides to return to the Champions League. Arsenal are in the worse form as they’ve lost their last four in all competitions and their away form in particular is dire as they’ve won just one of their last eight, including defeats at the likes of Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth, Swansea and most recently Brighton.

Milan, on the other hand, are unbeaten in 13 in all competitions and have conceded just once in their last six at home, despite hosting Lazio twice as well as Inter during that run as Gennaro Gattuso’s certainly got them well-organized. Arsenal have managed just one goal in four visits to top-six opponents in the league and with their most potent attacking threat Aubameyang ineligible and confidence lacking, we’re backing Milan to win to nil, as they have done in seven of their last nine European home wins.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Milan Win to Nil at 3.75

RB Leipzig v Zenit

Friday March 9, 7:05am AEDST

Leipzig made it past the much fancied Napoli in the last round and as a result they’re justifiably short priced favourites as they host Zenit. While they’re capable of some excellent results in their own back yard, Zenit have tended to struggle on the road in Europe as they’ve lost half of their last 10 away matches, and some of those defeats have come against much easier opposition than they face here as they’ve gone down at the likes of Anderlecht, AZ Alkmaar and Gent. Indeed, their current form is poor as well as they’ve won only one of their last eight away in all competitions, including a defeat at Celtic in the last round and so we’re siding with the hosts at 1.71.

Leipzig are an excellent team at the Red Bull Arena as their record when hosting top-six sides in the Bundesliga is W6-D1-L1 since the start of last season, with that sole defeat a narrow one against Bayern last term. They struggled to get going this season but nonetheless managed four points when hosting Monaco, Porto and Besiktas in what proved a competitive Champions League group. Now that they’re in better form and facing easier opposition, we don’t expect them to have too many problems against Zenit.

They do give their opponents a chance though as they’ve kept only two clean sheets in their last 10 in all competitions and despite Zenit’s poor European away record, they have managed to net in 10 of their last 13 on their travels on the continent and so we’re backing a Leipzig win and both teams to score.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Leipzig Win and BTTS at 3.8

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