Arsenal fans will probably see a whole different XI to that who played on Saturday.
Arsenal v BATE Borisov – Thursday 20:05, BT Sport 2
Arsenal have already qualified and so there is no doubt Arsene Wenger will make wholesale changes here, but the second-string side hasn’t clicked over the last couple of rounds with just one goal in the last three matches. For BATE, meanwhile, there is plenty still on the line as they still have a chance of qualifying if they win and it’s a draw between Koln and Red Star Belgrade.
In their 1-0 defeat in Germany, the Gunners side only had 16 Premier League starts between them this season and it was a lacklustre performance. While they’ve chalked up plenty of wins in all competitions at the Emirates this season they’ve been efficient rather than spectacular and have only once scored more than twice there in their last nine. With this in mind, we’ll back Under 2.5 Goals at a juicy price.
The lack of goals has meant each of Arsenal’s last three in this competition have been goalless at the break. The same can be said for three of BATE’s five group games and while they were in no European competition last term, they took part in the Champions League group stage for the previous two seasons where they managed to get to half-time all-square visiting the likes of Roma, Leverkusen and Bilboa, while they were only a goal down at the Nou Camp.
After the recent Man United result and the lack of superstars on show, the atmosphere is likely to be subdued at the Emirates. Arsenal drew recently with Red Star Belgrade there and in midweek League Cup encounters they only beat Doncaster 1-0 and were level after 90 minutes against Norwich, fielding weakened starting XI’s in both. Therefore, we’re backing the draw here as our longshot.