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Rupert Wyman 25th Aug 2009 - 15:05

Celtic need to shoot through some hoops to get past Arsenal

Celtic face the daunting task of going to the Emirates and overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Arsenal to reach the Champions League group stage.

The Hoops were unlucky last week as two rather unfortunate goals were conceded to put Arsenal in such a dominant position. First a Cesc Fabregas shot deflected off the back of William Gallas sending goalkeeper Artur Boruc the wrong way. Then in the second half captain Gary Caldwell put through his own net.

Thus meaning if Celtic are to qualify they will have to score at least twice in front of the north London faithful. I cannot see Tony Mowbray's side achieving this therefore the 20/1 about Celtic qualifying should be left alone.

Arsenal are very short at 1/150 to qualify and there is much better value to be had on the match. Although if you are that adamant about Arsenal, then backing them to qualify in 90 minutes in our method of qualification market at 1/100 is a better alternative.

The Gunners are priced at 1/3 to win the second leg in 90 minutes and this looks a good price. Arsenal have much more quality than their Scottish counterparts and have started the season on fire so look well worth a bet to win the second leg.

The draw is priced at 7/2 and a Celtic win is available at 11/2. But neither of these appeal.

This opinion is based on the presumption that Arsene Wenger will pick his first choice line-up as he has too much to lose if Arsenal fail to reach the group stages, namely millions of pounds of television money.

Wenger can't afford to rotate his troops too much in any case as he is without a number of players. Most notably captain Cesc Fabregas limped off at half-time against Portsmouth on Saturday. The Spaniard would be a miss from any side in the world but nevertheless Arsenal should still have enough to cope without his services. In addition Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Johan Djourou are all still missing.

One plus from the match against Pompey was the two-goal performance of Abou Diaby who Wenger has since compared with his former skipper Patrick Vieria. Diaby's strikes helped the Gunners to a relatively easy 4-1 win, which followed their opening day 6-1 rout of Everton.

At the same time as Arsenal were having fun in the sun on Saturday so were Celtic in Glasgow at Parkhead. The Hoops put five goals past St Johnstone as they won 5-2.

Marc-Antoine Fortune broke his Celtic duck with a brace and the Frenchman is priced at 11/1 to open the scoring and 4/1 to score at any point within 90 minutes.

The 4/1 looks a good price as he has the pace to trouble Arsenal's defence and Wenger's back four isn't always the most secure of back lines.

For Arsenal Diaby is available at the same prices as Fortune and with the likely return of Alex Song to the starting line-up he should get given more licence to go forward.

A small bet on one of our many new markets, an anytime wincast, Diaby to score and Arsenal win the match is a 5/1 shot and this looks good value.

In the correct score betting the pick would be either a 2-1 or 3-1 Arsenal win which are 15/2 and 10/1 respectively.

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