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Nic Ladds 19th Oct 2009 - 13:33

Arsenal to gun down AZ but may need another late show

Arsenal will be the banker on many a punter's coupon this Champions League round at odds of 4/9 but AZ Alkmaar should make things difficult for them and aren't a totally forlorn hope at 5/1.

AZ have amazingly lost just once in 34 home matches of European competition and the Dutch champions may fancy their chances of at least snatching a draw at 11/4.

The Gunners have been rampant in the Premier League recently and if they can take this form in to Europe then they will be difficult to stop and AZ have had an average start to the season having lost five of their last eight games in all competitions, and have had problems scoring with just four goals in their last six matches.

They have one point from their opening two fixtures with Mounir El Hamdaoui having scored their solitary goal and he is 8/1 to score first with Moussa Dembele 9/1 and the most interesting at the prices being pacey winger Simon Poulsen who is 33/1 for first goal or 12/1 to bag one anytime.

Arsene Wenger meanwhile will be happy in the knowledge that he has goals coming from all over the pitch and with Robin van Persie (7/2), Eduardo (9/2) and Andrei Arshavin (9/2) all looking dangerous, the goals could come from anywhere and a wager on Carlos Vela to score last at 13/2 looks the pick as the young Mexican will more than likely get his chance late on and could pop up with a late goal.

Looking at the stats it is not foolish to think that AZ can at least score as the Gunners have not kept a clean sheet in their last eight away Champions League matches and have won just twice, while interestingly they have scored four of their five goals after the 75th minute.

This brings bets like Arsenal to come from behind and win at 13/2, the 'Yes' option at 10/11 for there to be a match goal after the 75th minute and even Alkmaar/Arsenal in the double result market at a whopping 22/1, as they trailed to Standard Liege at half time then went on to win and it is conceivable that they could concede early on before finishing with their usual late flurry.

Bearing this in mind scores of 2-1 and 3-1 to the away side look about right at 7/1 and 10/1 respectively as it is hard to see Alkmaar shutting Arsenal out but the Gunners can easily concede but only the one as in their Champions League record against Dutch sides they have conceded just five goals and never let in more than one and it is unlikely AZ will be the first side to break that trend.

The Gunners should record another victory to make it three out of three and leave them all but qualified for the final stages while AZ look destined for the Europa League where they may find things a little more to their level.


A match goal after the 75th minute - 10/11

Carlos Vela to score last - 13/2


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