Arsenal v Napoli
The first of our top April 11 Europa League betting tips and predictions is for Arsenal v Napoli. It’s the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday 11 April with the all-important return played to a conclusion a week later. Arsenal enjoys home advantage when welcoming Napoli to London and the locals will be eager to make it count, collecting a win they can protect in Italy. The Gunners have eased their way through this competition so far and there’s a feeling they have yet to hit top gear as we speed towards the latter stages. Winning the Europa League may just be their best chance of ensuring a return to Champions League football next season.
The locals were beaten 3-1 by Rennes in France in the last round and looked out on their ear but bounced back to beat the Ligue 1 side 3-0 at this venue in the return and that sent them into the quarters thanks to a 4-3 aggregate win. It was closer than fans would’ve liked from their team, but they got the desired result and kept the dream alive. Another win to nil will put them in a fantastic position and you can bet on Arsenal in the match winner market at 29/20, top price with Bet365. That’s sure to feature in a fair share of accumulators on the night.
Italians Snuck Through
Napoli can think themselves lucky to still be in the running to win the Europa League after suffering a 3-1 beating at the hands of a very impressive Red Bull Salzburg side last time out, an opponent who hadn’t put a foot wrong in this tournament. Napoli was gifted home advantage in the first leg and that made all the difference, winning 3-0 to give themselves an advantage their opponents just couldn’t cover. 3-0 at home, 1-3 away, they snuck through with a slender advantage, but they did score away from home and that goal made all the difference.
Milik broke the deadlock in the Round of 16 2nd leg when hitting the net inside 14 minutes to put his side 4-0 up on aggregate and it looked like Napoli would then go on to inflict another heavy defeat on their opponents, but Red Bull wasn’t in the mood to simply roll over and play dead, especially in front of their own fans. They rallied to score three goals, Dabbur, Gulbrandsen and Leitgeb on the scoresheet, but the away goal meant they were never close to going through. Salzburg fell on their sword, Napoli learned they must tighten things up at the back. The away win is 2/1 at 888sport, a draw priced 5/2 by Bet365.
Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt
This match won’t feature too highly on the watch list of UK fans on Thursday, with each of the four games shown live on BT Sport, but it promises to be a competitive contest between two dark horses of the tournament who will set up knowing they have avoided the big guns in the draw and it would be criminal if they didn’t take advantage. Benfica understands a strong home win would see them put one foot in the semi-final of the Europa League.
The locals earned their spot in the quarters with a solid 3-0 home win over Dinamo Zagreb last time, a result that saw them overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat. Home advantage seems to count double in the latter stages of this tournament and Benfica certainly made the most of it, winning a bad-tempered match in extra-time. Zagreb had two players sent off on 104 minutes and that allowed Grimaldo to score the goal that sent his side through. Benfica is 13/10 at Unibet for another home win.
Flying Under the Radar
The quarter-finals of the Europa League boast some big names, but Frankfurt has been happy to fly under the radar and go about their business without the pressures of being tipped as winners. They have worked their way through the rounds without fuss, improving with every game and knocking out supposed bigger names when written off by the bookies. The competition’s outsiders, it would be a great story if they were to go further and ruffle a few more feathers.
Frankfurt seems to have a great chance to do just that and they will know all about just how close their hosts came to being knocked out last time, needing two red cards to secure their passage. The visitors will aim to keep their discipline and see just how good Benfica are under pressure. They beat Inter Milan 1-0 on aggregate, a result achieved thanks to a 1-0 win in Italy last time. We’re backing the away day at a cracking 9/4 with Bet365. The draw will get you 5/2 with the same firm.
Slavia Prague v Chelsea
Slavia Prague is another team who weren’t expected to make it this far, but they haven’t allowed critics or bookmakers to hold them back to date and will aim for more of the same when hosting English Premier League giants Chelsea, a side with proven Champions League experience. The home team booked their place in the quarters with a thrilling 6-5 aggregate win over a Sevilla side who wouldn’t get out of the way easily.
The first leg ended in a dramatic 2-2 draw and the teams couldn’t be split in the second when finishing up at 2-2 again. That meant we went into extra-time and the threat of being eliminated seemed to spark both teams to life. Added on time was a tense affair, eventually won by Traore who scored what turned out to be the winner on 119 minutes. If you didn’t see that game, we would advise watching the highlights as it was thrill-a-minute stuff right to the whistle. Prague must improve their defence if they are to beat Chelsea, priced 19/4 (Bet365), another draw yours at 14/5 with the same online bookmaker.
Singing the Blues
Chelsea fans spent many years believing the Europa League was beneath them but, like Manchester United a few years ago, they now view it as the best way to scramble back into the Champions League. With the race for the top-four in the Premier League in danger of leaving them behind, winning Europe’s second-string competition gives teams automatic entry onto the top table next term, and that’s something that appeals to everyone at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues looked to have a job on their hands when drawn with Dynamo Kyiv in the last round, but they made easy work of what could’ve been a banana skin, claiming an 8-0 aggregate victory, achieved thanks to a stunning 5-0 away win last time out. That shows just how good Chelsea are when in the mood and they’ll want to keep their opponents out here while gifting themselves a cushion to take back to London. Back the away win at 4/6 with Ladbrokes.
Villarreal v Valencia
The last of our April 11 Europa League betting tips is for Villarreal v Valencia. Villarreal did their best work in the first leg last time when beating Zenit 3-1 in Russia, before returning home to finish the job with a strong 2-1 win in front of their own fans. This promises to be a nervy contest in both legs, but Bet365 have the home win as favourite, priced 7/4 at the time of writing and that’s better than we expected to find.
A Clumsy Beginning
Valencia hasn’t impressed us in the Europa League so far, seeming to stumble over the hurdles, but they are in the latter stages and have a chance of going deeper still. They’d accept a draw here if offered it before kick-off – priced 23/10 (Bet365) – and that makes more appeal to us than the away win at 17/10 (Ladbrokes).