Weblog: The football punter

Finding a European winner is as easy as AVB

WELCOME to Hell! Oh no, sorry, it’s at the Arsenal. Welcome to Starbucks.

The cappuccino set invite Galatasaray into the flaming pit of hatred that is The Emirates Stadium where away fans can often struggle to make themselves heard above the hubbub of the natives scrolling through the pages of The Mail Online on their tablets.

I’ve got a couple of Gooner pals and even they admit there’ll be a better atmosphere at the pub round the corner than at the ground, though I’m sure they’re happy paying good money to watch a few more of those comical Danny Welbeck dummies.

A Welbeck ‘stepover’, a handful of selfies and a takeaway chorizo frittata; the perfect evening for any self-respecting Arsenal fan.

As for the match itself, I can’t help but fancy Galatasaray. I remember Besiktas giving Arsenal a good work out earlier in the competition and Gala have got to have improved now that Didier Drogba is no longer there getting in everyone’s way.

Wednesday's nap has got to be Zenit at home to Monaco. The French club are in turmoil. Beaten at home by Nice at the weekend, things couldn’t get much worse for them. Actually, that’s not true. They could sack their manager and appoint Alan Pardew.

Failing that, these are bleak times down on the Riviera and the strictly no-nonsense Russians can put them firmly in their place and have Spurs fans wondering if they weren’t a tad rash jettisoning Andre Villas-Boas.

Thirteen wins and a draw in the last 14, eh? Maybe he wasn’t such a mug after all.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS1

Arsenal v Galatasaray

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Galatasaray have never won on nine visits to England
Expert verdict
Injuries are hitting Arsenal hard but Arsene Wenger needs to quickly lift his players following the disappointing 1-1 draw with Tottenham. Galatasaray are not in great nick themselves with only two wins from six matches in all competitions this term but they can make life difficult even if the Gunners eventually triumph.