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Champions League Preview Wednesday 24th February – Arsenal V Monaco In Crucial First-Leg

The Champions League round of 16 continues on Wednesday as the first-leg action comes to an end with two more fascinating fixtures and we’re predicting plenty of drama from London and Leverkusen.

Last year’s runners-up look to gain a positive result in Germany, whilst Arsenal will be hoping for success as they welcome AS Monaco to the Emirates.

It should be another top night of European entertainment.

Arsenal V AS Monaco. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 5

Arsene Wenger’s men have qualified for the Champions League knockout yet again and this year there is a real sense of expectancy following their favourable draw against French side Monaco.

Make no mistake; this is no easy task for the Gunners, but they should fancy their chances in this one. However, the pressure is on and it is inevitable that they get off to a flying start in this crucial first-leg.

The notable departures last summer have been felt, but Monaco are still a very decent side. However, Wenger’s men have been superb at home in recent weeks and will be immensely confident heading into this battle.

Monaco are certainly capable of a shock, but the Premier League club should prevail.

Arsenal V AS Monaco Betting

The positive feeling around Arsenal is reflected perfectly by the betting odds, with Bet365 pricing the Gunners as 8/15 favourites. Monaco can be backed 11/2, whilst the draw is available at 29/10.

Arsenal’s recent home form cannot be overlooked. Additionally, the need to establish a first-leg advantage should push the Gunners forward during a critical night at the Emirates.

With the likes of Theo Walcott and Oliver Giroud hitting form at just the right time, we’re backing the Premier League side to open up a healthy lead ahead of next week’s return at the Stade Louis II.

Arsenal -1 handicap @ 6/4 with Paddy Power

Bayer Leverkusen V Atletico Madrid. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1

Diego Simeone’s men were just seconds away from lifting the trophy and the Rojiblancos will be desperate to go one better this year, starting with a first-leg win at the BayArena.

Atletico’s rise to prominence has been a truly remarkable story and the Spanish champions boast a fantastically talented squad with genuine quality all over the pitch. In addition to the brilliance of their individual stars, the visitors have one of the best team chemistry’s in the entire competition and that could be crucial – especially in this away leg.

The Germans are a decent outfit and regular Champions League participants but, unlike their opponents, they are someway short of being genuine contenders. Additionally, the Bundesliga side’s poor defensive record in recent weeks is a real cause for concern. Roger Schmidt’s men have shipped nine goals in their last three games alone and simply cannot afford to give Atletico the same level of comfort in the attacking third.

Madrid are rightly the firm favourites to qualify and will almost certainly get the job done over two legs. However, Leverkusen will be positive in this home leg and could be capable of an upset. Expect plenty of drama in Germany.

Bayer Leverkusen V Atletico Madrid Betting

Unsurprisingly, Atletico enter the match as the favourites. However, playing away from home means this won’t be a walk in the park, which is reflected by their price of 6/4 with Bet365. Leverkusen are the underdogs at 9/5, whilst the draw can be backed at 23/10.

The Spaniards really should progress over two legs, but we do agree with the bookies view that this first-leg isn’t easy to call. Nevertheless, the added number of attacking options in the Rojiblancos squad makes us lean towards an away win.

One of the attacking players to really shine this term is Frenchman Antoinne Greizmann, who has notched an impressive 17 competitive goals in his debut season at the club. His confidence will be high after netting twice in the weekend win over Almeria and we’re backing the 23-year-old to fidn the target once more.

Antoinne Greizmann to score anytime @ 31/10 with BetVictor

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