Arsenal travel to Austria for the opening game of their 2020/21 Europa League Group B campaign against Rapid Vienna at the Allianz Stadion.
After missing out on European competition last season, Rapid had a chance to have a bite of the Champions League cherry for finishing second in the Austrian league but they failed in the qualifiers, losing 2-1 away at Gent. They, however, get a chance to participate in a competition where they have been perennial participants, this being their eighth appearance with two knockout stages to show for their efforts.
Rapid managed to get seven points from three home games in this competition a couple of years ago, with wins against Rangers and Spartak Moscow and a draw against Villarreal. Coach Dietmar Kuhbauer will be hoping that they can remain competitive at home this time too as that could propel them to at least a second-place finish second in the group.
They have been in terrific form in the Austrian league, sitting second on the log. This however will be the toughest opponent they have faced this season.
Arsenal were disappointed to exit this competition last season after losing to Olympiakos in the round of 16, with Youssef El Arabi scoring late in extra time to seal a dramatic victory.
This time around, they are one of the favourites for the title despite only qualifying for the competition as FA Cup winners, following a disappointing Premier League campaign in which they finished in 9th position – well outside the usual Europa League places. They reached the semifinals in 2018 and went one better in 2019, getting to the finals but ultimately losing to bitter London rivals Chelsea in that final.
Arsenal have also had a good start to their season, winning three and losing two of their opening five league games, with the losses coming against Liverpool and Man City in the last game. With Molde and Dundalk the other teams in the group, topping the group is a feasible expectation for Arsenal and they will not leave anything to chance as they come into this game.
Arsenal have grown as a unit under Arteta. They play with verve, desire and organization – attributes that were in short supply before his arrival. Rapid Vienna will provide a stern challenge but the Gunners have shown their prowess in cup competitions. They were undefeated in four away games in this competition. Arteta will ring some changes from the squad that faced Man City last weekend but we still feel that overall, they have the better quality players and we are backing them to get the win here @ 1.55 with Cloudbet as our initial betting tip.
Both of these teams have been prolific upfront and have had little trouble scoring. Greece international Taxiarchis Fountas has been scoring goals for fun for Rapid, while Arsenal have Aubameyang and Lacazette who have started the season brightly to count on. We expect a few goals in the game going by the quality of these forwards and we are settling for Over 2.5 goals @ 1.59 with Cloudbet betting app as our final tip for the game.
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