Attack-minded PSV can land BTTS bet
Bet Builder suggestion at 6/1
Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven
Wednesday 20 September, 20:00
Live on TNT Sports 1
It's been a long wait but, after six seasons away from Europe's premier competition, Arsenal make their return to the Champions League on Wednesday night.
They will do so against a PSV side, also back in the big time after an absence they also would consider too long - this is their first UCL campaign since 2018/19.
Flying start made by both
Both sides have made strong starts domestically, Arsenal having dropped only two points from their opening five Premier League games, while PSV have won four out of four in the Netherlands.
Arsenal, just 1.412/5 for victory, certainly dominated Everton at the weekend, although they did need a fantastic finish from substitute Leandro Trossard to break their hosts' resistance.
Trossard looks likely to start here given the injury picked up at Goodison Park by Garbiel Martinelli.
Gabriel Jesus may also replace Eddie Nketiah, who struggled to make an impact on Sunday.
Jesus' inclusion would also help plug a notable gap - that of Champions League experience, which has to be at least a slight concern for anyone getting involved with the Gunners at such a short price.
Hosts' lacking UCL experience
Take out Oleks Zinchenko and the other 10 Arsenal starters at the weekend had a total of 10 Champions League starts between them. The likes of Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka and William Saliba will all be making their debuts in the competition.
Yes, they've enjoyed significant runs in the Europa League in recent years but this is a different level.
And don't expect PSV to be pushovers.
They play an attacking brand of football - as is the wont of boss Peter Bosz - and have been full of goals so far this season, scoring 2+ in all eight games since their UCL campaign began.
PSV smashed five past Rangers in Eindhoven and have bagged 13 in their four Eredivisie matches.
On-song De Jong can help PSV score
One-time Newcastle striker Luuk de Jong has been the destroyer-in-chief with nine goals in eight games, not to mention five assists.
Noa Lang, a doubt for this game, has also impressed since his arrival in the summer from Club Brugge for whom he impressed in this competition, while other recent recruits include Germany international defender Armel Bella-Kotchap and USA star Sergino Dest. They are on loan from Southampton and Barcelona respectively.
Yes, this is clearly a step up for the Dutch side too, but Arsenal have been far from watertight, especially at home, for some time.
As has been highlighted on these pages in the past, the majority of their wins at the Emirates last season came with their opponents finding the net and that's something that could well unfold again here.
Arsenal to win and both teams to score is at 2.915/8.
However, with concerns over that lack of experience at this level, I'm going to side with a shorter-priced, simpler bet - both teams to score at 1.834/5.
Arsenal have already conceded at home to Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Manchester United this season; high-flying PSV - the only side to beat Arsenal in last season's Europa League - look capable of joining that list.
Going the other way, expect Arsenal to counter well when PSV do press forward; it's hard not to see them scoring.
Bet Builder options
With goals expected, it is worth looking at the markets surrounding de Jong, who is clearly the visitors' most likely goalscorer - and could also be their creator too.
17/29.40 certainly looks a little large in the anytime assist market given he's got five in eight games so far this season, while 3/13.95 about him scoring at any time is also worthy of consideration.
However, perhaps the best option is to get both bets onside - 23/10 is available about De Jong scoring or assisting at the Emirates. He's landed that seven times out of eight so far in 2023/24.
I think that's certainly got potential for those putting Bet Builders together.
If you fall into that bracket, it's also worth noting the referee is Felix Zwayer.
The German has long been one of the strictest in UEFA club competitions - he's now landed the over 4.5 cards bet in 29 of his last 39 such appointments.
Admittedly, these two have pretty clean histories domestically, both this season and last, but once Zwayer gets going with the cards, he can be hard to stop, and so 6/52.16 about over 4.5 coming in again is definitely tempting.
For those whose interest has been piqued, both teams to score, De Jong to score or assist and over 4.5 cards produces a three-legged Bet Builder which pays around 6/16.80.
PSV are winless in their last 14 UEFA Champions League games (D6 L8) since a 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow in December 2015. It's the longest ongoing run without a win among any of the 32 sides featuring in the 2023-24 edition.
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