Football Tips: The 3 best bets with Arsenal set for a fall against Benfica

Our tipster Andrew Cunneen guides you through Benfica's Europa League knockout trip to Arsenal... at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Greece.


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change.

Arsenal are a tough one to crack really, aren’t they? Pep Guardiola is full of compliments for their manager – albeit maybe born out of his friendship with Mikel Arteta and the fact they pose no viable threat to the top half of table than anything else.

But there’s genuine signs of life with them and that’s the most frustrating part. For a long time, they were considered to be signing youngsters that were stopping them from being in the title picture. Well, given the influx of veterans that clearly haven’t worked out, it’s quite a breath of fresh air to see youth be the leading light for them this time.

Thursday 5.55pm: Arsenal v Benfica
BT Sport 1

Now if they could just leapfrog Leeds in the league. Their 1-1 first leg draw with Benfica was concerning for a few reasons – moreso because Benfica are having a down year and clearly have very little football in them, but also because the Gunners seemed to develop stage fright as the game went on.

Maybe they really don’t belong in the Champions League if they’re absolutely s****ing the bed against Benfica on a Thursday night. But anyway – here’s three bets that I think could land you in more net profit than the Kroenkes after a transfer window.

Mikel Arteta

READ MORE: A Dishy 4/1 Double For Rangers & Leicester’s Games On Thursday

Safe Bet: Both Teams to Score

If we noticed one thing from the opening leg, it’s that both sides were conservative and somehow still managed to concede. It’s often the case that clubs will be timid in the opening leg as the psychology says you should play reactive football in the second leg and just try and stay in the tie from the opening tussle.

Only the passive sides do this and you saw that in full flow last week. I don’t necessarily understand what’s stopping you from just having a go considering your games are taking place in cities that only appear on a teenager’s bucket list but still – that mental block is a scary trait.

Both teams will score and both will fall in on themselves again here and make it cagey.

Value Punt: Benfica to Qualify

It’s hard to be backing this Arsenal team with any enthusiasm and I can see why Benfica are more likely to negotiate a tie better despite clearly having the second-best squad. There’s just more experience and more game-managers in this XI than there is with Arsenal.

If the Gunners are to progress, their best shot at it is either grabbing the game by the throat which we know they won’t be doing – or simply trying to keep a clean sheet. They’ll probably opt for the latter and the momentum of the tie will favour the Portuguese giants with Benfica to Qualify.

Long Shot: Willian to Score First

I don’t even know if he’ll start hence the disclaimer on the bet suggestion, but given he’s an accomplished set piece taker as well as the best pure striker of the ball in this Arsenal squad, it wouldn’t be totally unusual to see a rare experienced head make the difference for the Gunners if they’re to land a blow first. My long shot is Willian to Score First.

Tips for Arsenal v Benfica

Safe Bet: Both Teams to Score
Value Punt: Benfica to Qualify
Long Shot: Willian to Score First

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change.


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