Qualification a must for Arsenal who host Borussia Dortmund
Mathematically, Arsenal still aren’t guaranteed a place in the next round of the Champions League. If they lose their next two matches, and third-placed Anderlecht win theirs, the unthinkable would happen, and the Gunners would be dumped out of the competition into the Europa League.
They take on Borussia Dortmund next, and Coral place them at 13/10 for victory, which would secure a place into the last 16. If it wasn’t for a lack of concentration last time out against Anderlecht, all Arsene Wenger’s side would have to worry about is challenging for first place. Customers can get odds of 7/2 for the home side to win, and Dortmund to score.
In the reverse fixture, an under-strength Dortmund humbled the Gunners as Jurgen Klopp’s Bundesliga strugglers recorded a 2-0 victory. Odds for the Germans to record the same scoreline are offered at 18/1, while first scorer that day, Ciro Immobile, is 6/1 to break the deadlock at the Emirates. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also netted, is 7/4 in the anytime market.
The two players are currently tied on three goals, along with Adrian Ramos, who struck last on Dortmund’s previous European road trip in the 4-0 demolition of Galatasaray. The Colombian is 6/1 to round off the scoring again for the visitors, who are boosted by the return from injury of class act Ilkay Gundogan, who is 20/1 to rifle in the opener.
Home fans, meanwhile, will be looking for a response to their club’s 2-1 loss to fierce rivals Manchester United last time out, though it could be another case of a failure to beat yet another big club.
Olivier Giroud, who struck the solitary goal late on against United, wasn’t registered for this stage of the Champions League, as it was anticipated that the centre forward would be out injured for longer.
Danny Welbeck, who couldn’t produce the goods against his former club, is Arsenal’s top scorer in Europe this term, and as a result is 5/1 to strike first, though even he is fighting a fitness struggle. It was, however, Alexis Sanchez who dispatched in the 3-3 draw with Anderlecht, and he is 4/1 to net the opener.
Crucially for Wenger, though, Laurent Koscielny is fit again following injury, and will add much-needed positional sense to Arsenal’s rearguard, enabling Nacho Monreal to either be benched or moved to left back.
Club captain Mikel Arteta, who scored first from the penalty spot against Anderlecht, and is 5/1 in the anytime market, vowed that the players will learn from the defeat to United.
“We will have to analyse what we did wrong to lose the game, but if we played 10 times like this against Man United, then we would win nine and draw one,” Arteta said.
“The fans have seen both the quality and the determination which the team played with, so we say sorry, we tried our best, but it was not our day – [next time, the team] just have to put the ball in the net.”