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For all of Arsenal’s troubles domestically they still sit at the head of this Europa League Group B with maximum points after Gameweek 4. Mikel Arteta has put his faith in the younger players to produce the results, and they have repaid him with their current position.
Rapid Vienna, on the other hand, have hit their worst form of their season with just one win from their last four outings across all competitions.
That one victory came against by far the weakest opponent Dundalk in this tournament, as they drew with both Salzburg and Austria Wien at home, and lost on the road at Ried.
That means they’ve now lost two of their last three when visiting opposition dating back to their defeat at Molde in late October, and as a result LASK have leapfroged them into second place domestically.
The Gunners have struggles of their own down in the bottom half of the Premier League table, having gone W4-D1-L5 from their 10 outings so far, while they only scored twice from their last six such matches.
However, that form hasn’t transferred over to the European stage against the weaker outfits, as they’ve scored at least twice in each of their four in this competition, and three or more in each of the last three, only conceding twice across them.
Indeed, both such home fixtures have resulted in three goal margin wins for Arteta’s men and considering the hosts have also won nine of their 11 European matches at Emirates over the last 24 months by an aggregate scoreline of 27-7, winning by two or more in seven, the younger players look likely to deliver again.
Arsenal -1 Handicap
By contrast, the Austrian outfit haven’t had the best of records against the better sides they’ve faced in Europe.
They’ve lost all eight trips to Villarreal (twice), Hamburg, Porto, Leverkusen, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Inter dating back to the 2008/09 campaign, failing to score in any and losing by two or more in all but two.
In fact, their two such matches since the start of 2018/19 both saw them lose by four or more and this one could follow suit.
Arteta will be conscious of his North London derby at the weekend though, and he’s unlikely to risk too many of the first team.
That does make us slightly cautious of backing the ‘-2 Goal Handicap’, but at still a healthy price the ‘-1 Handicap’ still holds value for us.