After successfully predicting Arsenal's defeat in Cologne on Matchday Five, Kevin Hatchard believes the Gunners won't have anywhere near as much trouble against BATE Borisov.
"Arsenal beat BATE comfortably in Belarus, and their opponents aren't great travellers at this level."
Back Arsenal -1 on the Handicap at 5/4 (Sportsbook)
Arsenal v BATE Borisov
Thursday December 07, 20:05
Live on BT Sport Extra
Gunners through with room to spare
Although Arsenal haven't fielded their strongest available line-up in the Europa League so far, they have been able to pick teams that have secured top spot in the group with a game to spare. The likes of Jack Wilshere, Olivier Giroud, Per Mertesacker and Theo Walcott have been glad of the game time, although the last two performances (a 0-0 draw with Crvena Zvezda and a 1-0 defeat at FC Koln) have been underwhelming.
Arsene Wenger and his charges are licking their wounds after suffering their first home defeat of the season on Saturday, as basic individual errors and a stunning goalkeeping display from David De Gea combined to help Manchester United come away from the Emirates with a 3-1 win. Arsenal will go another season without a title challenge, so once again other trophies will be targeted, and there's no reason to think the Gunners can't go far in this competition.
Wenger will once again pick a team that features players who aren't regularly starting at Premier League level. A few more youngsters than usual may make their way into the starting XI, with nothing riding on the result.
BATE still a factor in three-way fight
BATE Borisov can still qualify for the last 32, but they face the daunting prospect of needing to win in north London, and they must then hope for a stalemate between Crvena Zvezda and Koln.
The Belarusian champions have only won one of their five games so far, and Arsenal beat them 4-2 at the Borisov Arena on Matchday Two. They were also crushed 5-2 at FC Koln, a team that can still make the last 32 with a win in Serbia against Crvena Zvezda.
Although BATE are generally strong at home in European competition, there's little to suggest they can cause an upset here. In the Champions League they have won one of their last 19 away matches, while in the UEL it's one win from the last seven.
Even with a whole host of first-teamers left out, Arsenal should win this handily. BATE have to push for a win rather than just look to contain, and that may create space for Arsenal to work in.
BATE's poor away record shouldn't fill anyone with confidence as regards an upset, and although they lost at the weekend, the Gunners have been very strong at home this term, winning all but one of their Premier League matches.
I'll back Arsenal -1 on the Handicap at 5/4 on the Betfair Sportsbook, which means you win if the Gunners win by two goals or more.
Six of Arsenal's nine home wins in 90 minutes this season have seen them lead at half time and at the final whistle. If you think there's a good chance the Gunners will win this game, the stats show that backing Arsenal/Arsenal in the HT/FT market on the Sportsbook is worth a go at 11/10.
Back Arsenal -1 on the Handicap at 5/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)
2017 Europa League Group Stage P/L
Points Staked: 33
Points Returned: 36.56
P/L: +3.56 points