Monaco vs. Arsenal Champions League R16 Free Soccer Pick

Nikki Adams

Monday, March 16, 2015 6:31 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 16, 2015 6:31 PM UTC

Arsene Wenger and his Gunners face a nigh impossible task in Monaco on Tuesday, reversing a 3-1 deficit to the Ligue 1 challengers in order to advance into the quarterfinals. 

Arsenal Can Mastermind The Brilliant Comeback
Unequivocally defeated at the Emirates, Arsenal is going to attempt a never-done-before comeback on Tuesday when they descend on Monaco in the reverse leg of their Champions League R16 tie. Needs must. If they are to advance into the quarterfinals, they'll need to turn the soccer odds in their favour dramatically. As it is, Arsenal to advance into the quarters is trading at staggering +600 soccer odds in futures betting markets.

Three years in a row, Arsenal have lost the home leg of their R16 tie and they are in real danger of being eliminated for a third straight year after falling to Bayern Munich in the previous two seasons at the same stage. This was supposed to be the lush draw. Avoiding some of the terrible heavyweights in the competition was a prime chance to lead the Gunners beyond the R16. So the experts, football armchair critics and fans alike thought. Whether Arsene Wenger and his lads were guilty of underestimating Monaco and taking their inexperience for granted, they can't be under any illusions now.

Three away goals to Monaco is a hefty setback, but if there were a side capable of scoring in a frenzy it's the Gunners. After losing both home accounts to Bayern Munich in the R16 two years running, the Gunners gave a good account in the return leg at the Allianz Arena by winning 2-0 in 2013 and drawing 1-1 in 2014. Neither was good enough to prevent their elimination from the competition, but knowing they can rise to the occasion provides room for optimism. Let's face it, Monaco is no Bayern Munich either.

Another positive sign coming from their ranks is their account this weekend, turning in a convincing 3-0 win over West Ham to press their bid for a top finish in Premier League. Importantly, their most influential scorer Aaron Ramsey was present in the starting line up and provided both an assist and a goal.


Can Monaco Finish The Job?
When contemplating closers, Monaco doesn't immediately spring to mind. Finishing the job is one of the toughest tasks in top-flight European club competition, almost exclusively the domain of established heavyweights. Monaco are through to the competition knockout stages for the first time in over a decade and although they have a cushy 3-1 lead the job isn't finished. And it doesn't get tougher than attempting thee feat against a side of Arsenal's ilk.

To look at the Champions League odds board is to get a sense of just how tough it's going to be for the French side on Tuesday. They are trading at +230 to win the second leg while Arsenal are trading slightly shorter at +130.  There's also an argument to be had about incentive. Technically, Monaco doesn't need a win to advance and to come through on their favourable -1000 futures odds to reach the quarterfinals. The win in the first leg and three away goals affords them quite a lot of wiggle room on the scoreboard. For instance, they could lose 1-0 or 2-0 and still advance on aggregate or by virtue of the away goals rule, respectively. Even the draw, which is trading at +250, would serve them well and keep them ahead of Arsenal on the scoreboard.


Soccer Betting Verdict:
Monaco are clearly in the driving seat of this tie, but the fact that they don't actually need a win to advance might see them play conservatively in the second leg. Hence, backing Arsenal to win rather than Monaco to win or draw might be the better soccer pick.

If the French side does play conservatively, it could work in their favour or it could backfire as it did for the Blues at Stamford Bridge last week when they were eliminated by the more adventurous PSG. Arsenal are sure to be more adventurous. They have no choice because this is a must-win game. In the past couple of seasons, Arsenal have risen to the occasion only to fall short ever so slightly. Perhaps, they'll be third-time lucky.

Whichever way you slice it, Arsenal emerge the choice soccer pick at +130 to win the second leg. What's not certain is whether their win is going to be big enough to flip the script on Monaco and snatch the tie back at +600 soccer odds. We do know, however, they need to score a lot of goals if they are to come through on those hefty odds so take the Over 2.5 at +100 on your soccer picks as well.

Soccer Picks: Take Arsenal at +130 to win and Over 2.5 goals at +100 at Bet365

Other Recommended Picks: Small stake on Arsenal to advance at +600

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