Gunners And City To Fly England’s Flag In Europe

Arsenal's Ozil celebrates after scoring a goal against Napoli during their Champions League soccer match at the Emirates stadium in LondonBookmakers are betting on the UEFA Champions League Group F game between Arsenal and Dortmund as if the Gunners are inferior to BVB so there is a value case for backing the English Premier League leaders at surprising big odds.

Arsenal is available at odds of 2.38 with Coral, which effectively means that those bookmakers think that Dortmund would be the favourite if the match was to take place at a neutral venue. Arsenal has improved quite substantially since acquiring Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil, racing to the top of the English Premier League ladder after eight rounds. Ozil debuted for Arsenal versus Sunderland and the Gunners have won six and drawn one of the seven games in which he has started since transferring from Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo spat the dummy when Ozil left the Bernabeu because the Portuguese felt that the German was the player who knew his moves in front of goal. Arsenal has benefitted considerably from having Ozil pulling the strings in its midfield and, such is the form of the Gunners with him in the centre of the park, that they should be shorter than 2.38 to beat last season’s UEFA Champions League runner-up.

Dortmund has dropped five points in nine German Bundesliga rounds and it is the leading goal scorer in its domestic championship but BVB does not look as strong as it did 12 months ago. Mario Gotze moved to Bayern Munchen not long after last term’s UEFA Champions League decider and one cannot lose a player of his quality and not take a hit. Dortmund warmed up for its trip to Arsenal with a 0-2 away loss to Monchengladbach and its road match before that was against Nurnberg and it ended 1-1. Dortmund is very strong at home in front of what some would argue is Europe’s most supportive crowd but its away form is a cause of concern to Jurgen Klopp. Napoli beat Dortmund 2-1 in Italy last month and Arsenal overcame the Italians comprehensively 2-0 in England three weeks ago. Arsenal is attractively priced for a confident team that has won each of its last five home games, including wins to nil versus Napoli and Tottenham.

Manchester City was far too good for West Ham in the English Premier League, with Hammers boss Sam Allardyce conceding that his side could not live with the Citizens. Having lost 1-3 at home to Bayern, it is imperative for City’s UEFA Champions League qualification prospects that it gets a decent result versus CSKA Moskva in Russia. CSKA welcomes City having really struggled over the last month, with not much going right since it lost 0-3 to Bayern in Germany. CSKA has won only one of its last seven matches across all competitions, with its disappointing results including a goalless home draw with the crisis club to end all crisis clubs, Anzhi. CSKA has failed to score in six of those seven games so Stan James can expect to get filled in with orders for its odds of 1.83 about a City win over the Muscovites.

Currently the English Premier League is underrated, whereas both the German Bundesliga and the Russian Premier League are overrated. One can back Arsenal and Manchester City in a double at odds of bigger than 4.00 with Bet365, with the exact dividend depending on one’s choice of bookmaker. Certainly that looks like a decent play for punters who love a multiple wager.

Genk and PAOK are the best bets on the UEFA Europa League coupon. Genk is unbeaten in its last dozen games across all competitions, winning 10 of them, including the last five in a row. Bwin is offering odds of 1.85 that Genk wins its fifth consecutive UEFA Europa League match and the Belgian Pro League team will not fear a Rapid Wien side that has won only one of its last half a dozen games. On a line through Dynamo Kyiv – Genk won 1-0 in Ukraine and then Dynamo drew 2-2 in Austria – the Belgian team is attractively priced.

PAOK is one of the toughest road trips in European football and the Greek Super League high flier is too big to miss at odds of 1.91 with William Hill to defeat Maccabi Haifa. The Israeli Ligat Ha’al side’s away record in the UEFA Europa League is ordinary to say the least, whereas PAOK has won its three home assignments in the tournament this season and, all up, it is on a six-match winning home streak.

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