Arsene Wenger leads Arsenal into battle against old club Monaco
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will endure a trip down memory lane as he faces former club Monaco in the Champions League last 16.
The Gunners are odds-on favourites at 1/2 with Coral to triumph as hosts, and will be aiming to take a substantial lead into the second leg.
Wenger’s impressive recent stats show the north London club have been beaten just three times in their past 19 outings across all competitions. So, with the Gunners having grabbed 12 goals in their last five matches, back the swashbuckling Londoners to go gung-ho at 11/4 and score three or more.
Arsenal may have never encountered League 1 giants Monaco in Europe before, but Wenger certainly knows the upcoming enemy well. The diligent French coach was in charge of the Principality outfit between 1987 and 1994, lifting Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France during his time there.
This clash also provides top Monaco marksman Dimitar Berbatov the chance to return to London, where the former Manchester United and Tottenham attacker plied his trade for just over two seasons.
The ex-Spurs striker struck twice against Arsenal during his stint at White Hart Lane, and is 7/1 to score first, or 2/1 to be on target anytime to help sink the Gunners once again.
Ligue 1 rich kids Monaco have struggled this season, and are lacking the threat of Radamel Falcao, on loan at United, up top, so much will depend on mercurial Berbatov.
Outsiders at 7/1 to take famous scalp at the Emirates, or a more reasonable 3/1 to split the spoils, Leonardo Jardim’s team will also need Portugal playmaker Joao Moutinho to be at his brilliant best.
Should the midfield conductor cause Arsenal problems, highly-rated striking starlet Anthony Martial (7/2 in the anytime market) will be on hand to help Berbatov unbalance the Gunners’ rearguard.
The Emirates outfit should still have too much fire-power for Monaco to handle, though the Ligue 1 big-guns have conceded just once in their last 10 league games, so Arsenal may have to bide their time.
Recent results, however, including a hard-fought away victory at Crystal Palace, indicate Arsenal are a different animal this season and will not shy away from tricky duels or tough-tackling opponents.
Fearsome France frontman Olivier Giroud has grabbed three crucial goals in his last two games across all competitions, and features in a fantastic matchday special. Coral are offering customers generous odds of 9/4 for Giroud to score and Arsenal to win, but punters should note that there is a maximum stake of £20 on this brilliant bet.
The Gunners are not short of exciting attacking weapons, however, and also claim sensational Alexis Sanchez (9/2 to draw first blood), Spanish schemer Santi Cazorla (8/1 to net last) and majestic Mesut Ozil (15/8 in the anytime market) among their armoury.