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Rupert Wyman 14th Sep 2010 - 12:21

Braga could have Sporting chance against Arsenal

Sporting Braga have already beaten Celtic and Sevilla to reach the group stages of this competition and will travel to London full of confidence for their first ever Champions' League group game.

They could prove a tough test to an Arsenal side to whom they have an historical link. Whilst the two teams have never met in a competitive match they do have a connection going back many years. Way back in 1921, Braga changed their original colours of two large green and white vertical stripes to red shirts and white shorts.

Their coach at the time Jozef Szabo was so impressed by Arsenal during a trip to Highbury that he decided to adopt the London club's colours.  Braga even renamed their youth team Arsenal do Braga. And ever since their club changed its colours, the Braga fans have been known as Arsenalistas.

In this first meeting of the two clubs the main threats for Arsenal's defence will be Lima and Matheus who scored six of their team's nine goals in the qualifiers for the group stages, with the former scoring a hat-trick against Sevilla away in a shock 4-3 victory.

Matheus is 11/1 to score first and 100/1 to bag another hat trick. Lima is 16/1 to score first and 6/1 to score anytime.

Despite the link between the clubs there will be no sentiment from Arsene Wenger's side who have started the season in fine form. They have three wins and a draw from their four games and swept Bolton aside with ease on Saturday.

There is fresh optimism around the club that this season could see a challenge both domestically and in Europe. Their home form in this competition also gives their backers great confidence - they have only lost one of their last 30 Champions League home games (20 wins, nine draws).

Laurent Koscielny has slotted seamlessly into the side and is likely to partner Thomas Vermaelen in defence, whilst Fabregas should also feature for the Gunners. Fabregas is 5/1 to score first and 5/4 to net at anytime.

Whilst I expect Braga to put up a good fight the home side should be too strong for them and an Arsenal win (1/4) is on the cards.  It could be a close game though and would advise a back of Draw/Arsenal on the double result market at 16/5.

Both teams are capable of scoring goals and I expect over 3.5 at a price of 7/4. As an outside bet Arsenal to win 4-2 at 50/1 may be worth a pound or two.

This is one of 16 Champions league games this week giving you lots of choices for your midweek punts. Enjoy the football.

The game kicks off at 19:45 on Wednesday and is live on ITV1.


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