Europa League Preview – semi-final first-legs

Arsenal and Chelsea hope to remain on course for an all-London/Premier League match-up in the Europa League final as the semi-final first-legs take place on Thursday.

Arsenal host Spanish giants Valencia, and Unai Emery admits that winning this title is their likeliest route to the Champions League – hence why are taking the issue so seriously.

“Now it’s the Europa League, it’s both a way to win a title and also a path into the Champions League,” he said.

“We want to treat this semi-final like something important.”

Chelsea travel to surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt, and the pressure is very much on Maurizio Sarri – who is aware of the threat the German side possesses.

“They have a very dynamic team with great intensity,” said Sarri.

“They are very dangerous at home and away. It will be difficult for us to get to the final.”

We run through every game including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray, our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and BoyleSports’ Lawrence Lyons.

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Arsenal 20:00 Valencia
Emirates Stadium

TEAM NEWS: Arsenal hope to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil available, but they are without Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Aaron Ramsey, Denis Suarez and Danny Welbeck.

Valencia are without former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, who is suspended, whilst Denis Cheryshev and Geoffrey Kondogbia are injured.
KEY FACT: Arsenal have won just one in five against Valencia
MATCH ODDS: Arsenal Evens Draw 13/5 Valencia 14/5
BoyleSports pick: Arsenal to win & over 1.5 goals @7/5
ANDY SAYS: Arsenal have been great in Europe and that run will continue…2-1
GRAEME SAYS: Valencia will be tough but Arsenal really need this win, and they should get it…2-0
Football Index – One to follow: Alex Iwobi – Has been great this season and really is one to watch

Eintracht Frankfurt 20:00 Chelsea

TEAM NEWS: Ante Rebic is suspended for the home side, who are also without Sebastian Haller, Taleb Tawatha and Marc Standera.

Chelsea come into the game with Antonio Rudiger, Gary Cahil, Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
KEY FACT: Frankfurt have lost all three two-legged ties v English sides
MATCH ODDS: Frankfurt 19/10 Draw 23/10 Chelsea 6/4
BoyleSports pick: Luka Jovic to score anytime @6/5
ANDY SAYS: I think that Frankfurt will get something from this but Chelsea should too…1-1
GRAEME SAYS: I can see the Bundesliga side getting the win here…2-1
Football Index – One to follow: Luka Jovic – One of the best young players in world football, this boy should be followed

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