Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey notched late on in each half to squeak Arsenal past Crystal Palace in their opening fixture of 2014/15, but that narrow 2-1 home win will have little bearing on the Gunners’ nailed on 7/10 besting of Besiktas in their Champions League play-off first leg.
Over the decade since they last won a Premier League title, Arsene Wenger’s men have competed at this stage six times, playing twelve matches and winning every one of them.
Two of their first-leg victories have come before their respective Premier League terms kicked off in earnest, while two have come following top flight opening-day wins, but what happened prior to Arsenal’s seasonal reappearances in Europe has been inconsequential.
A Premier League opening day 0-0 draw at Newcastle in 2011/12 was followed by a 1-0 triumph at home to Udinese, while Wenger’s boys got over being beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa on their own patch at the start of last term with a 2-0 defeat of Fenerbahce in Istanbul.
On their return to Turkey’s capital, to face a side who haven’t competed in the Champions League for five years and – Demba Ba aside – are devoid of star names, the perennial qualifiers simply have to be backed at 7/10.
For those punters in search of a touch more risk, 7/4 on Arsenal winning to nil looks similarly likely to land at the Vodafone Arena.
Arsenal have seen off Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Prague, Celtic, Twente, Udinese and Fenerbahce without reply in Champions League first fixtures since 2006/07, with home or away status seemingly counting for little.
Wenger’s squad is still a little light after the World Cup, but a summer of smart purchasing has given the veteran Frenchman plenty of options.
First-goal favourite Olivier Giroud, at 4/1, is set for a start against the Black Eagles, having been only used as a substitute in two 2014/15 fixtures so far, which suggests Arsenal are only getting stronger.