Another busy week of football as the Champions League passes it’s halfway point. Arsenal travel to Shalke looking to avenge a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates last month.
Shalke are the favourites at a best price of 10/11 with Paddy Power, whereas Arsenal can be backed at 7/2 with Stan James. The draw is 20/7 with Pinnacle.
As I trudged into work on Monday morning wearing my QPR beanie hat, I was approached by an Arsenal fan, and was advised that ‘It could be worse, you could support Arsenal like I do…’ I was actually taken aback by the staggering lack of perspective that some football fans have – sure, Arsenal are not as good as the Manchester clubs, yes Andre Santos is possibly the worst full back I’ve ever seen (and as a QPR fan, I’ve seen some god-awful defenders in my time…), yes they haven’t won any silverware in a few years, and yes, Wenger has made some dubious purchases in the transfer market recently. But really, are things SO bad, that you genuinely believe yourself that badly off? Is supporting Arsenal really that much worse than supporting clubs like Port Vale or Portsmouth, who might literally disappear next season? Are you really in a ‘crisis’? Perspective people. You haz none (as a cat on the internet might say…)
A Victory for Shalke here would all but seal qualification from group B, whereas a defeat for Arsenal would leave them in a precarious position, if Olympiakos as expected, beat Montpellier in the other group game. Form sides with Shalke here, who, before a surprising injury time defeat to Hoffenheim at the weekend, had won their previous five on the bounce, Shalke find themselves second in the Bundesliga, behind runaway leaders Bayern. Arsenal go from the sublime to the ridiculous at the moment, often in the same game, as the 7-5 win over reading proved. Arsenal have won only one of their last five games (the reading game counts as a draw for betting purposes…), and that was against QPR, naturally – everyone beats QPR these days.
If I was Huub Stevens, I would instruct Ibrahim Affelay to stay on the right wing, attack Andre Santos repeatedly, and I would fine Affelay every time he strayed away from this task. I would then instruct every Shalke player to pass to Affelay for the entire match, and then fine them if they didn’t pass to Affelay. Andre Santos isn’t so much a weak spot, as a help yourself buffet down Arsenal’s left flank – Valencia murdered him on Saturday, and Affelay is twice as fast as Valencia.
So Shalke will score, naturally, probably a right wing cross from Affelay into the path of Huntelaar, who has followed up his German golden boot award last year by already bagging eight goals this season. He’s 4/1 to open the scoring, and Betfred are offering their ‘double delight, hat-trick heaven’ promo as well – I’d get on board.
Arsenal will probably score too though – although Shalke have allowed the fewest shots on target in the competition so far, they only have a single clean sheet in their last 14 European home matches. Both teams to score at 8/11 with Stan James looks a very good price indeed. It will probably only be a consolation goal for Arsenal though, as Shalke should win this one with something to spare. I like the look of a 3-1 victory @ 14/1 with BetVictor.
Shalke Win @ 10/11 (Paddy Power) – bet £10 get £20 free
Both teams to score @ 8/11 (Stan James) – bet £10 get £10 free
Huntelaar to score first @ 4/1 (Betfred) – bet £50 get £50 free
Correct score 3-1 Shalke @ 14/1 (Bet Victor) – bet £25 get £25 free
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