Sports Betting Weekly

AS Monaco v Arsenal

When: Wednesday, 18 March 2015 @ 00:45 (FINISHED)
Where: Stade Louis II
It seems incredible that a side who only mustered four goals in the Champions League group stage could go to a place like the Emirates Stadium – against a far superior side on paper – and score three goals with just one in reply, but that’s exactly what AS Monaco did to Arsenal last month.

To put that into context, Monaco achieved three-quarters of their total Champions League goal tally from this season’s six matches in just one in North London in what was billed as their toughest match since returning to Europe’s elite competition after a nine-year absence.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, must have been in complete disbelief as Yannick Ferreria Carrasco scored Leonardo Jardim’s outfit’s third on the night, leaving the Gunners with an Everest-sized mountain to climb in Monaco on Tuesday evening.

Even if Arsenal win 2-0, that will not be enough for them to progress as Monaco will have scored more away goals – and to make matters worse for the Gunners, the hosts only conceded one goal in their six group stage fixtures (none at home) and have only conceded eight goals all season at the Stade Louis II.

Indeed, there isn’t too much in terms of Monaco stats that Arsenal can even begin to draw a glimmer of hope from really. Monaco have only been trounced once this season, and that was in their first away game back in August at Bordeaux, where they gave away two penalties in a 4-1 defeat.

That being said, Arsenal should have been out of sight in the home leg. Had Olivier Giroud brought his shooting boots with him, then this second leg would be a formality for the Gunners, as the Frenchman wasted no less than six clear-cut chances on the night. If selected, he will obviously be Arsenal’s main focal point in attack, and with that in mind the bookies have opted to place him at 5/1 to break the deadlock and 6/4 to score anytime in what should be a pulsating second leg.

As for Arsenal’s chances of reaching the quarter-finals, the market is surprisingly kind to the Gunners. Obviously Monaco are clear favourites and are 1/7 to qualify, but with Wenger’s men only 13/2 to do the same, it is tempting to back Wenger to get one over his former club in truly dramatic fashion.

Arsenal winning on the night is slightly less generously priced by the bookies, however, with the best available odds being 29/20. Alternatively, Monaco are available at 11/5 to secure a quick double against their English counterparts.

The margins market makes for interesting reading too, as Arsenal’s challenge of needing to win by three goals is also dismissed at prohibitive odds of 16/1. If you fancy Arsenal to win by two clear goals in a brave but ultimately futile Champions League chase, however, such an outcome is available at 13/2.

One outlet for Monaco to get a goal is via former Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United striker, Dimitar Berbatov. The enigmatic Bulgarian coolly dispatched a strike past Arsenal goalkeeper, David Ospina, in the first leg, and the experienced forward will be keen to pile on further misery for Arsenal here. The 34-year old – who has eight goals this season – is listed at 4/1 to score first and 11/10 to score at any point during the match.

One man Arsenal fans will be delighted to see back among the goals again is Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez, as if Giroud again fails to deliver, Sanchez probably will. The 26-year old ended a drought of seven games without a goal when he found the net against QPR at Loftus Road – a strike which took him to 19 for the season. Sanchez can be had at 11/2 to be first goalscorer and 6/4 to net anytime.