Europa League Second Leg Treble: Few goals again between Zenit and Celtic
Arsenal and Celtic are in Europa League action again this week, and their matches feature in our Analyst’s second leg treble along with Dortmund. Using expected goals, the Analyst has generated the best bets.
Thursday 18:00 GMT
Last week’s first leg saw Celtic take a 1-0 lead thanks to Callum McGregor’s second half goal, and it was nothing less than the Bhoys deserved after a good display in which they looked as though they had more energy than their Russian counterparts.
The first leg was a game of few chances, with both sides creating just one ‘big’ chance each (xG: CEL 1.0 – 0.7 ZEN) in the ninety minutes. Roberto Mancini’s side looked jaded throughout the game, and are not helped by currently being on their winter break, so went into the first leg having not played a competitive game since early-December.
The Infogol model calculates a 39% chance that Zenit will overcome the first leg defeat and go on to qualify, but to do so they have to improve their level of performance quite drastically.
Celtic are expected to make this a similar game to the first leg; high-tempo and very tight, so few goals are expected as a result, with under 2.5 goals looking good value at 5/6.
Thursday 20:05 GMT
Arsenal made light work of Ostersunds last week in the first leg (xG: OST 1.21 - 1.67 ARS), a game which illustrated the gulf in class between the two sides. The Swede’s didn’t help themselves though, with the first two goals coming from poor defensive errors.
They were given a life-line with a late penalty but failed to convert, meaning they face a nigh-on impossible task in the second leg, with the Infogol model giving them a mere 0.2% chance of making it to the last sixteen.
The Gunners would have planned to have this tie wrapped up before the second leg, that way they could concentrate their attentions on the Carabao Cup final this weekend. Another weakened team is expected to be fielded by Arsene Wenger, but a strong enough one to win this comfortably.
Ostersunds have generated only 1.6 non-penalty xG in their last four Europa League games, so they don’t generate many chances in matches – as was proven in the first leg. As a result, the best value bet looks to be Arsenal to win to nil at 1/1.
Thursday 20:05 GMT
What a first leg these two teams played out! Plenty of goals, including two more for Michy Batshuayi, and the tie being finely poised heading into this second leg. Dortmund deservedly edged proceedings last week (xG: DOR 1.7 – 1.3 ATA), but there are sure to be more twists and turns in this tie.
Dortmund look to have found their rhythm again in recent weeks after a mid-season dip, with the returning Marco Reus having an effect straight away since recovering from injury.
Atalanta have shown already in this competition that they are a very strong team, and they will fancy their chances of qualifying here given the fact they have two away goals – meaning a win would see them through.
In their seven Europa League games this season, Atalanta have generated 14.6 xG, so consistently create chances, with Dortmund generating 11.9 xG in their seven European matches, so both teams are strong going forward, which should result in another game with plenty of goals.
Treble pays around 5/1