Given that domestically, they are locked in a tight scrap for the final Champions League place, Arsenal may need to win the competition this season if they are to qualify for next term’s renewal. However, the Gunners have been handed a tough assignment at the first knockout stage, the draw pitching them against Serie A leaders AC Milan.
Ladbrokes can’t split the pair, making them both 10/11 to reach the last eight but BetVictor lean tentatively towards the Italian outfit, installing Arsene Wenger’s troop as even money underdogs and Arsenal are also outsiders, at 29/10 with Stan James, ahead of the first leg in the San Siro.
Blue Square rate Milan at 11/10 to record a home win but knowing that their opponents have suffered at the hands of English clubs in recent years, Wenger will be confident that his side can qualify if they remain in touch after the first meeting. An away goal could prove priceless in that sense and Boylesports make the Gunners 1/2 to find the net.
With the pressure all on the hosts, Arsenal could even do better than that and Paddy Power’s 12/5 for them to nick a draw isn’t without appeal in a contest that is 6/1 via William Hill to finish one-each.
Over in Russia, the domestic league has been inactive since November and as a result Zenit St Petersburg could be a little rusty as they tackle Benfica. The Portuguese side, by contrast, are in great shape at the moment and Boylesports’ 21/10 for them to stun the hosts is definitely worth considering.