Champions League betting preview: Arsenal v AS Monaco
Arsenal play host to AS Monaco in one of this evening’s two Champions League ties, in a dream draw for the Gunners that saw them avoid the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the last 16.
They finished second in their group, pipped by German side Borussia Dortmund, while Monaco topped theirs, conceding only one goal in the process.
However, Arsenal have found form in the new year, winning eight of their last nine games, and will be hopeful of travelling to Monaco with a lead to protect in the second leg.
Arsene Wenger’s side will miss Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta in midfield, while Calum Chambers could find his starting spot under significant threat from returning wing back Hector Bellerin.
Jeremy Toulalan is a notable absentee for the French side through injury, though the pairing of experienced internationals Joao Moutinho and Geoffrey Kondogbia will mean a tough job for Arsenal to secure midfield dominance.
Priced at 1.50 by online bookmaker Winner to seize the initiative in the tie, Arsenal are obvious favourites to progress, with the midfield firepower of the in-form duo Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez likely to prove too much for a Monaco side shorn of leading lights Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez in the summer.
French striker Olivier Giroud, yet to feature in the tournament this term, will be hopeful of notching a goal in his first appearance, priced by Winner at 5.25 as the first to find the back of the net.
Winner has AS Monaco’s silkily skilled Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov priced at 11.00 to do the same, though a bet here could prove misplaced as the forward has scored a mere six goals in 18 appearances this season.
Leonardo Jardim’s men have struggled for goals all season, netting only 25 times in 26 games, and barring a major upset Arsenal should have enough to perk up the fortunes of English sides in Europe, following Manchester City’s struggles against Barcelona on Tuesday evening.