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Arsenal aren’t at risk in Champions League despite pounding

| 17.09.2014

For the past four seasons Arsenal have been wholly unthreatening in the Champions League and, after Borussia Dortmund thoroughly belittled them in this season’s opener, things won’t be changing.

The club have not managed to progress beyond the round of 16 in four consecutive seasons in the competition and have only won their group twice in that stretch.

Following the humiliation at the Westfalenstadion, in which the hosts could have had treble the amount of goals, the 9/4 on the north London club topping Group D is best left well alone.

However, while Arsene Wenger is probably the manager under the most scrutiny following Tuesday night’s debacle, which left the Gunners as 1/5 chances to qualify, he’s not got the toughest task to do so.

Elsewhere in the competition, last year’s beaten finalists Atletico Madrid suffered a surprising 3-2 defeat to Olympiacos despite their Greek hosts only registering four shots on target.

But with fellow Group A frontrunners Juventus beating Malmo with a Carlos Tevez brace, Diego Simeone’s side have been firmly pushed onto the qualification back foot and are now 13/8 to top their mini-league.

In Group B, Liverpool’s return to European competition ended in a fluster, with a Steven Gerrard penalty securing a 2-1 win over Ludogorets in stoppage time.

Collecting three points may take some of the glare away from Anfield, but the side’s performance against the group’s minnows must be a cause for concern for Brendan Rodgers, with Real Madrid and fond Champions-League-spoilers Basel to come.

The Reds’ chances of qualifying will look far shakier than their 1/10 price suggests if they continue to stutter in attack.

Rounding off a quadruple of bottom-lip curling results was Bayer Leverkusen, the Bundesliga pace-setters, who fell to a Monaco side that now receives, rather than spends, big money.

In an open group, coming first is the priority and the Germans will be wary of some heavy-hitting knockout opponents should they fail to claw back the early deficit at 3/1 odds.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.