Arsenal v Dundalk: Europa League betting predictions, free tips & TV details
Gunners should oblige against Irish opponents but may not fire in many goals
Free football tips, best bets and analysis for the Arsenal v Dundalk Europa League clash on Thursday evening.
Where to watch
BT Sport 2, 8pm Thursday
Arsenal & under 3.5 goals
1pt 13-10 Betway, BoyleSports
David Luiz, Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Gabriel Martinelli are out. Willian and Bukayo Saka are doubts.
Gary Rogers is expected to return between the sticks to replace former Wolves youngster Aaron McCarey. Dane Massey (hip) and Nathan Oduwa (hamstring) are doubts.
Memories of Europa League nightmares against BATE and Ostersunds should ensure Gunners' minds are focused when they welcome Group B outsiders Dundalk to the Emirates Stadium.
After losing ground in the Premier League following Sunday's dismal 1-0 defeat by Leicester and with a trip to Manchester United coming up at the weekend, Mikel Arteta can be forgiven for believing he has other priorities.
But the Spaniard sent out a strong team in Vienna for their Group B opener against Rapid and was rewarded with a 2-1 success.
And he'd probably love to have qualification wrapped up after four rounds to give him some breathing space before the Christmas schedule.
And then, of course, there are tales of that horror loss to Swedish minnows Ostersunds in 2018, which admittedly wasn't on his watch but is the type of embarrassment any self-respecting boss will be desperate to avoid.
It goes without saying Arsenal should win this and win it well. They are 1-16 shots, 1-2 to win to nil and 4-6 to win both halves. Dundalk are given no chance.
Certainly Dundalk look out of their depth. Even their route into the group stage wasn't the most challenging – getting paired with a Faroe Islands team in the final playoff round has to be the stuff of dreams.
They were beaten 2-1 by Molde in their opener in Dublin having taken the lead. The Norwegian outfit were far stronger in the second half and had they begun the game more adventurously could have won by far more.
But Dundalk, under their Italian coaching team of Filippino Giovagnoli and Giuseppi Rossi, are nothing if not disciplined and will ensure the Irish side are as difficult as they possibly can be to break down.
They went 4-5-1 at home to Molde and will repeat that in north London. Even then keeper Gary Rogers knows he'll be ever so busy and lone frontman Patrick Hoban probably figures he won't be.
They go into the game in third place in the League of Ireland, miles adrift of the top two Shamrock Rovers and Bohemians, and were beaten 1-0 at Waterford on Sunday, although you sense minds were elsewhere.
Arteta has a few injuries to concern him, enough to ensure that one or two key men may not play with Manchester United on the horizon, and to that end this might not be a massacre.
It helps that neither Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nor Alexandre Lacazette is looking at his sharpest so take Arsenal but perhaps without a goal feast.
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