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Nic Ladds 5th Apr 2010 - 11:36

Nothing Nou for Arsenal fans

Arsenal's brave fight-back from 2-0 down at the Emirates in the first-leg has just delayed the inevitable as taking on a Barcelona side in the Nou Camp with two away goals is a mammoth task for any side.

After playing poorly for most of the match, Arsenal pulled two goals from nowhere which, impressive as it was, still leaves Barca as massive favourites; they are 1/3 to win the match and a huge 1/8 to qualify.

Since that draw, Barca smashed Athletic Bilbao 4-1 in the league and that was even with a slightly weakened side. Goals from Jeffren Suarez, Bojan and Messi sent out a message that showing up on Barcelona's doorstep expecting anything will leave you massively disappointed.

They have played 15 matches at home in the league and they have won 14 and drawn one.

Arsenal are 6/1 to win the match which seems a lot better prospect than the 9/2 available on them to qualify.

The Gunners have also won their league match since the first leg but not quite as convincingly, they needed a late strike to see off Wolves after missing a host of chances. They remain in the hunt for the league title; however it is unlikely, they are three points behind Chelsea with an inferior goal difference.

Barcelona should line up with two-goal hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front who is a lot more comfortable at home. He is 10/3 to score first, or you can get 11/4 on Lionel Messi, who was quiet in the first leg, to beat him to it.

As Cesc Fabregas is out for the rest of the season, Arsenal lose yet another outlet for goals and I find it hard to imagine them even scoring. Nicklas Bendtner is their main outlet for goals, which has got to be a worry for Arsenal fans who expect their team to be challenging with the very best in Europe. You can get 8/1 first or 11/4 anytime on Bendtner.

As much as it pains me, I can't see Arsenal getting anywhere near Barca who outplayed them for most of the first leg.

Even with a makeshift defence due to Puyol and Pique being suspended, Barca shouldn't have too many worries as if they retain possession like they did in London; their defenders shouldn't see much of the ball.

If you want to back Barca I would focus mainly on the 10/11 on the -1 handicap market as it offers a much better bet than the 1/3 on 90 minutes.

The prospect of a Barca v Inter semi-final would be a treat for football fans everywhere and I think the cream will rise to the top at this late stage in the Champions League and the big names will proceed.



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