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Arsenal v Standard Liege: Gunners to win comfortably

Arsenal manager Unai Emery
Unai Emery has his critics, but the Arsenal boss has made the Emirates into a fortress
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Arsenal were excellent on Matchday One at Eintracht Frankfurt, and Kevin Hatchard believes they'll also sweep aside Standard Liege.

"Arsenal have won three of their four home games this term, and their recent 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the League Cup may be a pointer towards what happens against Standard Liege."

Back Arsenal -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [2.05]

Arsenal v Standard Liege
Thursday October 3, 20:00
Live on BT Sport

Gunners made impressive statement in Frankfurt

Although the 3-0 scoreline flattered them a touch, Arsenal certainly made Europa League viewers sit up and take notice on Matchday One. Their victory at Eintracht Frankfurt, who reached last season's semi-finals and had been unbeaten in all competitions at home, was the perfect way to start a bid to reach the final for the second season running.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez produced some excellent saves in Germany, while young attacker Bukayo Saka sparkled in a goalscoring display, so much so that he was handed a start in the recent draw at Manchester United. He made the most of that opportunity, as he teed up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's leveller at Old Trafford.

Given that Arsenal have already won what should be the hardest game of the group stage, it would be a surprise not to see coach Unai Emery's field a similar team to the one he deployed in Germany. Mesut Ozil could return to pull the strings in midfield, and there could be starts for exciting winger Reiss Nelson and recent recruit Kieran Tierney.

Standard deserve respect after flying start

Standard Liege have made a strong opening to the campaign. They are just a point behind Belgian league leaders Club Brugge in the title race, and they have put together a five-match unbeaten run. They kicked off the UEL group stage with a 2-0 victory over Vitoria Guimaraes, so they can approach this trip to north London with a certain degree of freedom.

Coach Michel Preudhomme, who was an excellent goalkeeper in his playing days, has done a fine job with the Reds. He led them to third last term, and he won the title with them in a previous spell in 2008. He has also won the Belgian league with Club Brugge.

Standard's issue has been getting results on the road. They recently lost 1-0 at an Anderlecht side that has been awful under the inexperienced guidance of Vincent Kompany. If you stretch back into last season, Standard have lost five of their last eight away matches.

Arsenal should win comfortably

Arsenal have won three of their last four home games in all competitions, and the way they recently shredded Nottingham Forest 5-0 in the League Cup may be a pointer towards what we can expect here. Arsenal have won 12 of their last 14 competitive matches at the Emirates, and they have scored at least twice in all but one of those outings.

Even if Emery shuffles his pack, Arsenal should still win this with room to spare. You can back them -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at [2.05], which means that if Arsenal win by two goals or more, you get an odds-against winner.

Goals should be on the cards at Emirates

Another angle of attack is to use the Same Game Multi feature on the Betfair Sportsbook to back an Arsenal/Over 2.5 Goals Double at [1.89]. That bet has paid out in eight of Arsenal's last 15 home matches in all competitions.

Pepe to be pepped up?

Nicolas Pepe has struggled to make a consistent impact since his big-money move from Lille, and it's being suggested that he may be given a start here to give him some much-needed fluency and confidence. He scored a penalty against Aston Villa, and it should be remembered that this is a guy that got 22 goals and 11 assists for Lille last season.

Keep an eye on the team news, but if Pepe starts, back him to score at 11/10 on the Sportsbook.

Kevin Hatchard,

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