Arsenal’s defeat to West Brom at the Emirates was as deserved as it was surprising and the Gunners now head to Belgrade deflated and also missing a number of key figures. Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie remain sidelined while Manuel Almunia’s elbow injury means that Lukas Fabianski will deputise in goal and it’s the latter’s inclusion that could prove crucial against Partizan.
The Pole failed one of his only tests in the Carling Cup at Spurs last week, his error allowing the home side to equalise and with a catalogue of mistakes peppering his limited number of appearances for the Gunners; Arsene Wenger’s men could look vulnerable at the back.
Subsequently, at 4/6 with Victor Chandler, Arsenal are one to avoid and indeed it could be worth a modest flutter on the hosts at 5/1 (Stan James) at the Stadion FK Partizan, especially as Belgrade pushed Shakhtar Donetsk close before losing their opener a fortnight ago.
Partizan Belgrade are certainly one to consider in the handicaps, where they kick off a goal to the good at 11/8 with Betfred and Fabianski’s tendency for the unpredictable lends appeal to 888Sport’s 4/7 for the home side to get on the scoresheet.
Chelsea were also beaten at the weekend but they can bounce back immediately at Stamford Bridge, where William Hill make them 1/3 to see off Marseille and also set for a home win are Braga (7/5, Ladbrokes) as they host Shakhtar Donetsk as well as Spartak Moscow (1/2, bet365), who tackle Zilina.
Bayern Munich tempt at 21/20 (Totesport) to overcome Basel while Real Madrid should acquire maximum points at Auxerre but after Jose Mourinho’s men only managed a goalless draw at struggling Levante at the weekend, Betdaq’s 8/13 gives little away.