Barcelona welcomes Arsenal over at Camp Nou for the second leg fixture in their 1/8 champions league final. Arsene Wenger’s men are currently third in the premier league, though they’ve hit quite a rough spot this spring facing the classic gunners inconsistency. A good performance at Camp Nou would be very welcome to boost the morale of the team and as such maintain their direct champions league spot for next season. Barcelona on the other hand is leading La Liga comfortably, steamrolling through most of their games in typical Barca manner and as always they’re the team to beat.
Barcelona will be coming into this game with 5 victories overall aswell as 5 victories at home in their latest 5 games. There isn’t much to be said about Luis Enrique’s men other then that they’re leading La Liga comfortably and are setting their sights for another champions league title. Barca’s only concern will be to keep MSN (Messi, Suarez and Neymar) healthy as they’re the unstoppable goal machine for the Catalonians. In their latest 5 home games Barca have managed to score 23 times which means they have a 4.5 goal/game average on their own when they’re at home. Barca will be without Rafinha and Sandro who are injured aswell as Piqué who is suspended, in addition to this Luis Suárez is facing suspension.
Arsenal will be coming into this 1 victory, 1 draw and 3 defeats overall aswell as 2 victories, 2 draws and 1 defeat on the road. The gunners are currently third in a neck-tied premier league and even though they’ll most likely not proceed any further in this years champions league they desperately need a good performance here both for the team and for Arsene Wenger to boost the morale and to satisfy the fans. One of the main issues for Arsenal have been Alexis Sanchez poor performances since his return from injury, before the injuries he was looking to carry the team on his back with his great goals and during his injury Özil and Giroud shined through but now the team play just isn’t there. The gunners will be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Petr Cech, Tomás Rosicky, Santi Carzola and Aaron Ramsey who are all reported injured.
Arsenal vs Barcelona 0-2 first leg review
The first leg of the fixture looked to be an open game during the first half and even though Arsenal fell into the classic Barcelona trap of backing home and defending, they seemed to be heading for a 1 goal victory or a draw with their admirable counter attacks. And the gunners main man Oliver Giroud almost managed to score on a header to further his record of being the clubs top scorer, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen barely saved it and in doing so demonstrated that it wouldn’t be that easy.
In the second half Messi showed Wenger and his men that defending against the best strikers in the world wasn’t going to be that easy when he scored a world class goal with the help of Suarez and Neymar. The finishing blow later came in the 83rd minute as substitute Mathieu Flamini took down Messi in the penalty area just a minute after being substituted into the game, a chance that Messi wouldn’t let go and he scored the second goal to wrap up the game.
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The value for this game lies in all goal related picks as even though Arsenal didn’t show to much of it in the first leg, they are able to score against any team; Giroud, Sanchez, Wellbeck and Özil namely. In addition to this the gunners will be without star keeper Petr Cech and as such David Ospina will substitute for him. Ospina is by no means a bad goal keeper but when it comes to a game of this magnitude, versus the best attackers in the world he will most likely fail. Ospina is also known to severely lack discipline and an early goal or two from MSN could put him in a “tilt mentality” and we could very well be seeing an over 5.5 goals+ game.
The viking’s prediction for this game is an easy victory for Barcelona, however Wenger and the gunners should be playing this game with the mentality to perform at their best and try to score, with the 0-2 deficit and the absence of Cech in mind, the first leg serves as no preview and the Gunners will probably play a completely different game than their strategic one that they had there. The smart gambler will be looking at the value in a straight victory for Barca as a banker pick and a large bet on 1/x/2 is a very smart move here, if you want to play with smaller stakes then consider the various AHCP lines; especially -1 and -2.
Barcelona – Arsenal, 3-1 @ 10.00
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Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.40
Over 3.5 Goals @ 1.95
Over 4.5 Goals @ 3.00
Over 5.5 Goals @ 5.25
Both teams to score YES @ 1.75
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