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|Match Result and Over 2.5 Goals||Odds|
|Arsenal and Over 2.5||+105|
|PSV and Over 2.5||+850|
|Arsenal and Under 2.5||+330|
|PSV and Under 2.5||+1200|
The Gunners are flying high and have become extremely tough to beat on home turf, but PSV are scoring goals for fun in the Europa League this season.
Back Arsenal to win and over 2.5 goals on Thursday. (+105)
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It is common to hear soccer pundits talk about the difficulty of the Thursday-Sunday schedule. With Champions League matches taking place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Thursdays are reserved for the Europa League and the Europa Conference League.
Since a minimum of three days’ rest between matches is required, that means Premier League teams that compete in either of the latter two competitions must play their top-flight matches on Sunday (or occasionally Monday). And the common consensus states that this is a hindrance.
There is perhaps some truth in that, even if playing on Wednesdays in the Champions League and Saturdays in the Premier League provides the same amount of time for rest and recovery. Perhaps the issue is partly psychological. The biggest clubs aspire to compete in the Champions League. Sometimes, the continent’s junior competition is seen as a chore if the team in question has designs for a place at Europe’s top table.
Arsenal have done an excellent job of balancing domestic and European commitments so far. They are top of the Premier League after 10 matches and also occupy first place in Group A of the Europa League. A 1-0 victory over Bodo/Glimt last week was their third in as many matches.
It will be interesting to see how Mikel Arteta manages this balancing act after Christmas. By that stage, Arsenal will almost certainly be in the knockout rounds and the path to the trophy will be clearer (although by no means easy).
Yet if the Gunners are still in the Premier League title race in, say, February, Arteta must decide whether to prioritize one of the two competitions. Up to now, his team selections show that the Premier League is his number one focus, but the Arsenal boss may be tempted to name his strongest possible side on Thursday given that a win would all but wrap up a place in the last 16.
When the Europa Conference League was launched last year, the format of the Europa League was tweaked too. Previously, just as in the Champions League, a top-two finish in the group stage would secure a team’s place in the knockout phase, which began with the round of 32. The eight sides that finished third in the Champions League would also enter the Europa League at this stage.
These days, first and second place in the group phase are not equal: group winners advance straight through to the round of 16, while runners-up must first contest a knockout round play-off against one of the Champions League drop-outs.
There is thus a real incentive to finish top of your group, which is why PSV will be going for the win on Thursday. They are two points behind Arsenal going into the game, having taken seven points from the first nine on offer.
Both sides have a game in hand on Bodo/Glimt and Zurich; this match was scheduled for September but was postponed due to a policing shortage in the aftermath of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. A PSV win would put them in control of the group with two rounds of fixtures remaining before the break in club soccer for the 2022 World Cup.
From the mid-2010s onwards, there was at times a palpable discord between the Arsenal fans and the team. The supporters were frustrated by what they saw as the club’s underachievement and poor decision-making, and the Emirates Stadium was often not a particularly happy place.
Things could not be more different right now. The fans are fully behind Arteta and his young, vibrant team. The atmosphere at the Emirates has improved manifold. Indeed, it has become a difficult place for opposition teams to visit, as evidenced by Arsenal’s excellent home record since the start of last season.
In 2021/22, only Liverpool and Manchester City had better home records than the Gunners in the Premier League, while they won three of their four matches at the Emirates in the EFL Cup. At the start of this season, Arsenal have emerged victorious in each of their six home games in all competitions.
We fancy them to make it seven wins from seven on Thursday, even though PSV - who have scored 10 goals in their last two Europa League outings - will push them hard. Go for an Arsenal win and over 2.5 goals in this rearranged fixture.
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|Teams||Arsenal vs PSV|
|Location||Emirates Stadium, London, England|
|Time||Thursday, 20 October 2022, 14.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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