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Nic Ladds 17th Aug 2009 - 17:11

Passion of fans can help give Celtic a glimmer of hope

The outcome of this thrilling Champions League qualifier looks uncertain but one thing even money favourites Arsenal can be sure of, is a hostile reception on their visit to Celtic Park.

Punters may have been expecting a shorter price for first leg victory about the away side following their 6-1 demolition of Everton on the opening day of the Premier League and the same result is available at odds of 150/1.

However, Celtic have a formidable home European record and their fans will make sure Arsenal do not have an easy time of it, and those who have seen the likes of Man Utd and Barcelona try and fail to win at Parkhead in the past may want to take the 9/4 on offer about home win.

Emphasis from Tony Mowbray is likely to be on not conceding an away goal which could make the draw at 11/5 a satisfying result for Celtic and brings scores of 0-0 and 1-1 in to play both at odds of 6/1.

Arsene Wenger will be blissfully aware that his side does not need to win as while Celtic have a great home European record, their away record is dismal and that explains why  The Gunners are as short as 1/5 to qualify with Mowbray's side 10/3 to go through.

A 1-0 home victory is not out of the question at odds of 8/1 while a 1-0 away victory is 6/1. It is hard to envisage a deluge of goals unless Arsenal score an early goal in which case Celtic will have to chase the game which could result in goals at either end.

Robin van Persie and Eduardo look sure to be a handful up front for the Celtic back line which may well be missing Glenn Loovens although Gary Caldwell should be back and the Arsenal duo are 11/2 and 6/1 respectively to bag the first goal.

Andrei Arshavin (2/1 anytime scorer) and Cesc Fabregas (4/1) are to both massive threats from midfield and a bet on either to score anytime could have you in the money.

Scott McDonald is as usual the biggest threat at 7/1 to score first but it was Aiden McGeady who grabbed two goals at the weekend and 12/1 about him opening the scoring or 5/1 to bag one anytime could be the call with him in this kind of form.

Celtic will know this is their best chance of having any kind of chance of progressing to the next round as a daunting trip to the Emirates will be in the back of their minds should they fail to get a result on home turf.

Arsenal's ability to score freely combined with Celtic's need to get on the score sheet should ensure that this doesn't end goalless and the scintillating Parkhead atmosphere can ensure the home side at least take something from the tie, namely a score draw which is not ideal as it means they concede an away goal but it is hard to envisage The Gunners being kept at bay all night.

After a close first leg, this 'battle of Britain' may well turn in to a one sided battle with last year's Champions League semi-finalists Arsenal, condemning a spirited Celtic side to the Europa League.

Recommendation:

Draw - 11/5

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