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Nic Ladds 22nd Nov 2010 - 16:34

The draw might be a bore but it's all Arsenal need

Arsenal need just one point to make it to the knock-out stages of this year's Champions League and despite the reverse fixture ending 6-0 to the home side at The Emirates, Arsenal have been really inconsistent and the draw could be the bet in Portugal.

Braga (16/5) were the surprise package in the Portuguese league last season and finished second. They have struggled to recreate that form this season as they are just 10th in the league with 14 points from 11 matches.

Arsenal (5/6) have looked like world beaters at times this season, none more so than the 6-0 demolition of Braga in the reverse fixture. Since then they have lost to West Brom, Newcastle and threw away a two goal lead to lose 3-2 to bitter rivals Tottenham.

Since losing to Arsenal and Shakhtar, Braga have perked up slightly and picked up maximum six points from their two matches with Partizan and qualification is still achievable. A point wouldn't be the worst result in the world for both sides which is why I think the 5/2 on the draw is the bet of the day.

Arsenal will also travel to Braga with a weakened side as Arsene Wenger confirms he will rest Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin for the encounter. Considering Gael Clichy, Manuel Almunia and Thomas Vermaelen are all still out of contention, the Arsenal starting XI will look a lot different to the side that lost to Tottenham.

Nicklas Bendtner should be back in contention after injury and if Wenger goes one up top as he likes to away from home, he will be the man to bag the first goal which could be a good bet at 7/1.

Samir Nasri has been in a rich vein of form this season and has eight goals to his name from midfield and he has really come in to his own. If you think he can keep his scoring form up he is 15/2 to score first but the 9/4 anytime is the better bet for me.

Braga have struggled to score this season and main man Paulo Cesar has only goal two goals in nine matches. He is 11/2 to score first but if you fancy the home side to score first then Rodrigo Lima has to be the man to back, he has four to his name and the attacker is 13/2 to score first.

I do think there will be goals in this match, despite both teams being happy with the draw they still have enough attacking prowess to put the ball in the net. Therefore I think the both teams to score is a good bet at 7/10 and the correct score bet has to be 1-1 at 13/2.

If you agree that the draw is a good bet then also have a look at the double result of draw/draw at 9/2.

If you disagree and think Arsenal will be too strong for Braga again then the 5/6 seems a bit too short for me, especially with The Gunners weakened squad and recent inconsistency. I would back the draw/Arsenal double result at 19/5 instead as I predict a tight and cagey opener.



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