It must be a hex or something because Arsenal, once again, draw Bayern Munich in the Champions League. A date with the Bundesliga champions in the last 16 looms daunting; that is if the betting odds in Champions League outrights were any indication. But is it really game over or does Arsenal have a shot this time?
Arsenal and Bayern destined to collide?
It marks the fourth time in the last five years Arsenal clash with Bayern Munich; third time in the last 16 of Europe’s top flight club competition.
Notorious TV personality Piers Morgan puts it down to the curse of Wenger or so it seems in his tweet rather than just the luck of the draw.
Over the last six instalments of the tournament Arsene Wenger’s side has failed to go beyond the R16, largely down to drawing European heavyweights such as Barcelona, AC Milan and Bayern Munich, each of which proved too much for Wenger’s precious football baubles to handle.
There are those football pundits and experts that would argue those misadventures were down to some of the symptomatic shortcomings of Arsenal itself; not being up to snuff.
But let’s not rake Wenger or his Gunners over the coals. It’s a brand new campaign after all. Things don’t have to go down the way of season’s past, right?
Champions League Outrights
Barcelona 4.55 Paddy Power
Bayern Munich 5.50 888Sport
Real Madrid 6.2 Marathon Bet
Atletico Madrid 10.00 Ladbrokes
Man City 12.00 10Bet
Borussia Dortmund 13.00 Boylesports
Juventus 15.00 BetFred
Arsenal 29.00 Coral
PSG 41.00 Winner
Sevilla 41.00 Bet365
Leicester City 51.00 Bwin
Napoli 81.00 Unibet
Monaco 101.00 SkyBet
Porto 126.00 Sportingbet
Bayer Leverkusen 151.00 Netbet
Benfica 151 StanJames
Odds current from Monday, 12 December, 2016 at OddsMarket.com
Alas, the disappointing record in Europe’s most prestigious club tournament does speak volumes to marketers and that correlates to a rather bleak outlook in Champions League outrights. This is despite Arsenal’s top finish in Group A.
As it is, the Gunners are drifting in double-digit range with betting odds that hover anywhere from 21.00 to 29.00 depending on your choice of bookmaker.
Ironically, a few days before Monday’s draw ceremony, Bayern’s official Twitter account featured a tongue-and-cheek post suggesting the club might just book their trip to London already.
Hmmm… ’be careful what you wish for?’ An old saying that must have a German equivalent, you’d think?
By virtue of a second-place finish Bayern Munich were always faced with a potential date with group winners Arsenal. But it wasn’t a sure thing seeing as there were seven other group winners that could have been pulled out of the pot. Heck, it was a 1-8 shot.
Monday’s draw did confirm what many Arsenal fans feared most, a dreaded date with Bayern Munich next February in the knockouts. If Twitter reactions from these fans were an indication it’s game over. Tantamount to worst-case scenario.
Consider the Bundesliga giants are second overall favourites in Champions League outrights with betting odds ranging from 4.50 to 5.50 depending on your preferred sports betting exchange it certainly can look that way.
The Germans don’t seem overly fussed over this draw at all as their Twitter account cheerfully bids Arsenal ‘Hello again.’ And as if to take the mick, it comes with an accompanying Grounds Hog Day clip.
Reality is though the Bundesliga champions aren’t the same team they were under Pep Guardiola or his predecessors. On the flipside, Arsenal are decidedly better than they were last season.
Perhaps, the Bundesliga giants are taking Arsenal’s woes in Champions League for granted. It would be foolish to underestimate any club let alone Arsenal, who have serious wiggle room for optimism, even if the betting odds are stacked against them and the general mood is grim.
Who’s to say Arsenal won’t tweet an equally cheerful Auf Wiedersehen when all is said and done.