Live on ITV1 & Sky Sports 2: Weds 19.45: Barcelona are evens with Betfred to beat Arsenal but the Gunners could avoid defeat in London.
That Barcelona are one of the best club sides in the world, if not the best, is indisputable and they full deserve to be emphatic favourites at 2/7 with 888Sport to book a place in the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Arsenal. However, odds-on quotes – or Betfred’s even money for that matter – about them coming out on top in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium simply don’t appeal.
The Catalans giants are brilliant but not invincible and it’s worth noting that they drew two out of their three away games in the group phase – at Rubin Kazan and FC Copenhagen. Furthermore, Pep Guardiola’s troops will be well aware of the threat posed by the Gunners and trusting themselves to come out on top at the Camp Nou, they wouldn’t be too upset if they left North London with a draw, just like they did last season.
Another stalemate, quoted by bet365 at 14/5, isn’t out of the question then while Arsene Wenger’s men, given their home advantage, do look a little high at 3/1 with Totesport, although in truth nothing in the straightforward match betting can be recommended with any conviction.
Instead we’ll take a look at the ‘Double Chance’ market where Coral couple a home win and a draw at evens. As this is the same price as an away win, punters effectively get two results instead of one for their stake and Arsenal are good enough to make those terms attractive.
In the evening’s other contest, Shakhtar Donetsk would be reasonably enticing at 16/5 with as they head to Roma, were it not for the fact that the Ukrainian outfit haven’t kicked a ball in competitive competition for more than two months. With this is mind, the Italians should secure a first-leg advantage but at evens (Betfred) they don’t really set the pulse racing.
Arsenal/Draw in the ‘Double Chance’ market – evens (Coral)