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Arsenal v Barcelona: Gunners have work cut out to deny Messi and co

| 23.02.2016

Arsene Wenger’s team selection for his side’s FA Cup clash with Hull at the weekend was a pretty clear indicator that the Frenchman had one eye on European duties, with Barcelona in town tonight.

The 0-0 draw with the Tigers won’t have been ideal, and Arsenal must now host Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez having won just three of their last eight fixtures in all competitions.

Barca, meanwhile, are on a 32-game unbeaten streak, winning 26 of those with their lethal striking trio netting 91 goals already this season in addition to over 40 assists.

If there is solace for Wenger and his team, it’s that they’ve beaten Barca at home before, and the Spanish side haven’t been massively convincing on the road of late.

Arsenal are 15/4 for victory, and did prevail 2-1 when the La Liga side were last at the Emirates in 2011.

The visitors are 13/20 favourites, with a draw available at 3/1.

Alexis Sanchez hasn’t been at his best since returning from injury, but the Chilean will doubtless be eager to put one over his former employers, and we’re boosting Sanchez to score and Arsenal to win from 8/1 to 10/1.

The bookies aren’t stopping there either, with Lionel Messi to score and Barcelona to win also boosted from 6/5 to 9/5.

We should certainly be expecting a few goals tonight, with both sides finding the net in each of the pair’s last four meetings, an event that’s 8/13 to occur again, while over 2.5 goals – as has happened in six of the duo’s seven Champions League meetings – is also an 8/13 price.

Barca have kept just one clean sheet in their last five away games, and should Arsenal find a way past Claudio Bravo, Sanchez is 9s to score first and 3/1 to net anytime, with Giroud 15/2 for the opening goal and 13/5 at any point.

English duo Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott are each 11/1 first goalscorer and 4s anytime.

Petr Cech looks set to be in for a busy evening, with Messi scoring six times in his last three appearances versus the Premier League outfit.

The little Argentine is 7/2 to score first and 3/4 anytime, while Suarez is 4/1 to net the opener and 17/20 any point in the 90 minutes.

And then there’s Neymar, who at 5/1 first and 11/10 anytime arguably represents the best value of Barca’s unstoppable trio.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.