Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The 2020/21 UEFA Europa League has reached its quarter final stage, and on Thursday the competition’s eight remaining combatants will face off in four mouth-watering first-leg tussles across the continent.
Representatives from six different countries make up a fascinatingly diverse knockout round, however, our focus is trained on the two Premier League clubs involved in the shake-up, Arsenal and Manchester United.
The Gunners’ clash with giant slayers Slavia Prague and United’s date with La Liga outfit Granada both offer tons of multi-part bet potential, and below, we’ve picked out selections for each quarter-final clashes with that in mind.
Want even more betting tips? Check out our football predictions page here.
Arsenal vs Slavia Prague bet builder tip
Match result market
Bet builder tip: Slavia Prague double chance
Slavia Prague have become masters at upsetting the odds in this season’s Europa League. The Červenobílí eliminated Rangers and Premier League side Leicester City in the competition’s previous too rounds, and they will arrive in London armed with bags of confidence as a result.
Arsenal should be nervous following successive defeats at The Emirates Stadium and they could find beating a Slavia team that have lost just one of their last 29 matches in all competitions a tough task.
Both teams to score market
Bet builder tip: Both teams to score
Arsenal have failed to score in just one of their ten Europa League assignments this season and we expect the Gunners to maintain their impressive strike rate in the tournament, but keeping Slavia out at the other end is another matter.
Prague notched twice in each of their last two away tests in the Europa League in difficult ties at Leicester and Rangers, and Jindřich Trpišovský’s technically gifted team have the skills to open up Arsenal’s unconvincing backline.
Bet builder tip: Nicolae Stanciu to score
Key creator Nicolae Stanciu has been a talismanic figure for Slavia Prague this season, scoring three times in just five Europa League starts and netting in both legs against Rangers in the previous round.
His run of eight goals in his last seven appearances at club level should arm him with buckets of self-belief ahead of Thursday’s contest. .
Bet builder tip: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2+ shots on target
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has endured a difficult campaign, though the Gabonese forward was Arsenal’s match-winning hero against Benfica in the last round of the competition.
Aubameyang struck two key goals against the Portuguese giants, and his goal threat has been consistent right throughout his displays in the Europa League.
The 31-year-old has averaged 3.0 shots and 1.2 attempts on target per 90 minutes in the tournament, and Aubameyang should be in the thick of the action in the final third again on Thursday.
Read all our Arsenal vs Slavia Prague predictions here
Granada vs Manchester United bet builder tip
Match result market
Bet builder tip: Manchester United to win
Manchester United made light work of Spanish opposition in February when they dismantled Real Sociedad 4-0 in the first leg of the teams’ Round of 32 clash, and the Red Devils are favourites to get the job done against another La Liga representative, Granada, this week.
Granada were beaten in each of their last three assignments, meaning United, who were bested just once in their last 16 fixtures in all competitions, have the edge in terms of momentum. The Manchester giants are away day specialists under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and they should be able to counter-attack their way to a first-leg lead on Thursday.
Both teams to score market
Bet builder tip: Both teams to score – no
Manchester United conceded just one goal in their four games against AC Milan and Real Sociedad in the Europa League’s previous two rounds, while their haul of six clean sheets from their last ten matches in all competitions also makes for impressive reading.
With Dean Henderson’s vocal and proactive presence key, United have been performing with more confidence in their own third, and they look ready to keep Granada at arm’s length on Thursday.
Bet builder tip: Under 2.5 goals
Rout against Real Sociedad aside, United have toiled in attack over the past two months and their lack of cutting edge has combined with their improved defending to produce plenty of low-scoring matches.
Indeed, under 2.5 goals landed in seven of their last nine fixtures and in each of their last three tussles in the Europa League, and another game light on goals is expected this week.
Bet builder tip: Marcus Rashford to score
Marcus Rashford has saved some of his best work for Man Utd’s continental pursuits this season, and the rapid England international has bagged seven goals in nine Champions League and Europa League starts this term.
The 23-year-old’s ability to explode forward from deep positions makes him a lethal prospect for European teams that defend with a high line, and Rashford will punish Granada if they leave spaces for him to exploit.
Bet builder tip: Mason Greenwood 1+ shot on target
With Anthony Martial sidelined and Edinson Cavani out of form, Mason Greenwood stands out as the most natural finisher in Manchester United’s frontline.
The gifted teenager has been hitting the target with approximately one out of every three attempts in all competitions this season, and fresh from scoring a late winner for United in their Premier League victory against Brighton, Greenwood will be in predatory mood again against Granada.
Read all our Granada vs Manchester United predictions here
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