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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Udinese likely to beat Arsenal - but Gunners might squeeze through anyway

After watching Arsenal's first leg match where they beat Udinese 1-0, I've broken out the spreadsheet to estimate the likely second leg result.

Gooners Numb3rs Spreadsheet - Udinese v Arsenal

Qualifying for the group stage is worth around £30 million in various forms of income for Arsenal, from TV money, to UEFA participation money and gate receipts.

It's a BIG game, and manager Arsene Wenger's consistent refusal to strengthen the squad means that it is a very inexperienced Arsenal side is traveling to Italy.

My betting analysis after reviewing the sheet ? ... Ugggh ...  
Get on Udinese to beat Arsenal at prices of 2.20+

A quick look at the match data shows that Arsenal have lost five of their last SIX away games in Europe - the sole exception being a 3-1 win over Partizan Belgrade - but those losses at Braga and Shaktar Donetsk seem more relevant to me.

Arsenal travel poorly in Europe, and seem to play with a lack of confidence away from the Emirates. After watching the first three games of this season - I can't see how Arsenal will even match last seasons form.

Overall, my spreadsheet weighs up the strength of the two sides and considers their European results before coming up with a rating that has Udinese as 35/100ths of a goal stronger once home advantage is factored in.

Last week it had Arsenal 1 or 2 goals stronger - and we know that Arsenal won 1-0. This time has Udinese at 51% to win - Arsenal at 26% - and that is suggesting that a price of around evens for the home win would be fair - so the current bookmaker offers of 2.20 to 2.40 must be taken.

There is some good news for Arsenal fans ... in that a single goal defeat could be enough to progress as long as Arsenal score a goal. After winning the home leg 1-0, the away goals rule means that a 1-2, or 2-3 loss will be enough for the Gunners to progress on away goals, as would a 0-1 loss with a penalty shoot-out win.

So even with Udinese figured at 51% to win ... Arsenal probably have a 60/40 chance of progression.

Finger's crossed then eh?

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