Europa League quarter-final first-leg preview

Arsenal’s bid for Europa League glory continues on Thursday as they entertain CSKA Moscow in the first-leg o their quarter-final clash.

Arsene Wenger has never won a European trophy in his 21-year reign, and they are considered one of the favourites, but the Frenchman is refusing to get carried away.

“We’re in the quarter-finals and have to be very realistic,” Wenger said. “We don’t live in dreamland. We have to go step by step and give absolutely everything to go through. It’s about how well we play together, the quality of our game and how we want to play football.

“There is some extra pressure to do extremely well in this competition, but that is part of being where we are. We have to see it as an opportunity we want to take and keep our priorities right.”

The actual favourites for the competition are Atletico Madrid, who face Sporting Lisbon with the first game being in Spain.

The other two last eight clashes see Lazio face Red Bull Salzburg – whose sister club Leipzig face Marseille.

See below for a run-down on the games, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray, our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey and John Hills of Coral.

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First leg 
Arsenal 20:05 CSKA Moscow
The Emirates

TEAM NEWS: Alexandre Lacazette is set to start after overcoming his knee injury and making his comeback at the weeked. David Ospina is set to start again ahead of Petr Cech.
KEY FACT: CSKA have lost last five v English clubs
MATCH ODDS: Arsenal 3/10 Draw 19/5 CSKA 9/1
GRAEME SAYS: I think CSKA could test Arsenal more than some think, but narrow home win…2-1
ANDY SAYS: Have to go with Arsenal here, they will be too good…2-0
CORAL PICK: Arsenal to win 2-0 @5/1 
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Mesut Ozil looks a decent pick-up for any portfolio

First leg
Atletico Madrid 20:05 Sporting Lisbon

KEY FACT: Sporting have never won in Spain
MATCH ODDS: Atletico 1/3 Draw 7/2 Sporting 10/1
GRAEME SAYS: Atletico are best team left in and will be too good for Sporting…3-0
ANDY SAYS: Can’t see anything but a home win here…3-0
CORAL PICK: Griezmann first goal @11/4 
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Antoine Griezmann is a top player and worth investment

First leg
Lazio 20:05 FC Red Bull Salzburg

KEY FACT: Salzburg are 35 games unbeaten, since August
MATCH ODDS: Lazio 4/5 Draw 5/2 Salzburg 16/5
GRAEME SAYS: An interesting tie, but Lazio should just have the edge…2-1
ANDY SAYS: I can see the home team just about claiming the win here…1-0
CORAL PICK: Lazio to win @4/5 
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a top player and worthy of investment

First leg
RB Leipzig 20:05 Marseille

KEY FACT: German side are six games unbeaten
MATCH ODDS: Leipzig 6/10 Draw 29/10 Marseille 4/1
GRAEME SAYS: I don’t think Leipzig are getting beat, but think they will cancel each other out…1-1
ANDY SAYS: I can see Marseille claiming the win in this one, but it will be close…1-2
CORAL PICK: Leipzig and Marseile to draw @ 29/10 
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Dmitri Payet, still a quality performer

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