Arsenal (+1100) at FC Barcelona (-400), Draw (+600)
Let’s be honest, the result of Barcelona and Arsenal’s Round of 16 playoff isn’t in doubt. Barca made sure of that when they left the Emirates with a 2-0 win three short weeks ago. But the second leg (today at 2:45 PM at the Camp Nou) should still be a fun one to watch as the Gunners throw the kitchen sink at Lio Messi and company, hoping for a miracle.
Barcelona dominated the first game, both on the scoreboard and in terms of possession and chances. Now Arsenal needs to hand the Catalans their first home loss of the season – and to do so by at least a 2-0 score.
Just how good has Barca been at the Camp Nou? They’ve won 13 of the last 14 UCL games in their home stadium, with a lone draw against Atletico sprinkled in. No visiting team has scored more than a goal in that span.
While Arsenal have a talented roster, they haven’t been great away from home lately, going 3-0-3 in the last six. Actually, they haven’t been on form anywhere of late. They’ve only won one of their past six (all competitions) and that came against second-division squad Hull City in the FA Cup. They were ousted from that competition in shocking fashion by Watford on the weekend (2-1 at the Emirates).
And there are more trends that indicate today’s game could get out of hand. The last time Arsenal faced a team roughly on par with Barcelona on the road, they were trounced 5-1 (by Bayern Munich). They’ve also lost their last two visits to the Camp Nou by a combined 7-2 score.
Expect Barcelona to win by a couple of scores. They will dominate the ball possession and create enough chances to make this game one sided.
Pick: FC Barcelona (-400).
(Photo credit: Christopher Johnson (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)