It’s do-or-die for Arsenal to qualify for the knock-out stages on Wednesday night after 16 years of Champions League qualification.
But history hasn’t been kind to the Gunners when they are under intense pressure and need a big win – or to reverse the Emirates scoreline (3-2) against Olympiacos to go through.
Here’s the problem. Arsenal have never beaten Olympiacos in Greece. Defeats in 2009, 2011 and 2012 were forgotten about when they escaped the groups. And their overall record in Greece isn’t much better, 11 games played, and just three victories, one of them coming back in 1981
In the past, when Arsenal have needed to win, they’ve a 50/50 record, three victories (2003/4, 2004/5 and 2010/11) but three defeats. Crucially, all of those defeats have come away from home. Twice they’ve been punished, the exception being 2014, when despite a 2-0 loss at Napoli, Arsenal went through on a tie-break.
A two or more goal victory puts them through. They’ve only done that once this season, but that was at home to group winners Bayern Munich. For Arsenal to go through, they’ll probably have to rely on a clean sheet, because scoring three goals is a big ask unless all of their players, like Mesut Ozil have a five-star showing.
But a two-goal win for the Gunners is , or the alternative correct-score result of them beating Olympiakos 3-2 is .
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Gary Neville’s first game in charge of Valencia sees his Mestalla debut against Lyon.
Neville will have his team set out to impress, so the best way to do that is with a clean sheet and a dominant win. There’s not much juicer in the win price at but winning to nil lifts this a bit to
There’s also a dead rubber in Rome, with BATE Borisov away to Roma. Roma are already through, but have been slacking lately, and were beaten at home by Atalanta. Expect them to blitz through an already elminated BATE. The over 2.5 goals market looks the play at .