Arsenal carry a 2-1 lead over to the Camp Nou but bookies nevertheless remain confident that tournament favourites Barcelona will progress to the Champions League quarter final. Pep Guardiola’s troops are just 4/11 with Totesport to reach the last eight while the Gunners are 23/10 (888Sport) to keep their noses in front and upset the Catalan giants.
Given the attacking prowess of the hosts, it’s fair to assume that Arsene Wenger’s men will need to score to stay in the competition but their goal threat is diminished by the absence of Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott and the Gunners failed to break down Sunderland at home on Saturday, which doesn’t bode well.
Couple this with the fact that Barcelona, even without skipper Carles Puyol, have kept three clean sheets in a row and the full extent of the task facing Arsenal begins to emerge. The Gunners are undoubtedly up against it but as the home side are priced at just 3/10 at best by Stan James to emerge triumphant, there’s little scope for profit in backing a Barcelona victory.
A win ‘to nil’ for Guardiola’s side is a 7/5 chance at Paddy Power but punters expecting Wenger’s charges to draw a blank would be better served going low on goals and backing a tally of fewer than 2.5, an outcome Stan James rate at 15/8, as plenty of very possible results are covered, a 3-0 mauling for the Gunners seems unlikely and only a 2-1 scoreline seems to pose a threat.
Shakhtar Donetsk are in the driving seat against Roma, following their 3-2 away win in the Stadio Olimpico and Betfred price the Ukrainian outfit at just 1/7 to eliminate their Italian opponents. Only a win will do for Vincenzo Montella’s charges, who have to attack, but the clinical hosts have the ability to pick them off as they commit men forward and a straightforward home win is the stand out bet at even money with William Hill.