Champions League Group Stage combat is over for another year and Arsenal will be joining Manchester City and Chelsea in the knockout stages of a competition they are 33/1 to win.
However, their peculiar knack of chiselling a second place from any group, no matter how hospitable, has left them open to renewing their acquaintance with the ‘Law of the Sod’.
In three of their last four continental campaigns the Gunners’ inability to top their section has lead to a chastening draw with one of the behemoths of the competition in the round of 16.
Barcelona sent them packing in 2010/11, while they received a double dose of FC Bayern Munchen last season and the one before.
The Spaniards were on their way to winning a second Champions League in three years at the time, while Die Roten were finalists, then winners in the campaigns preceding their two trips to north London.
Josep Guardiola’s powerhouse lead the market to be Arsenal’s second round dates at 11/4, but given the Gunners’ appalling luck with the draw there’s only one bet worth taking in this market.
The 5/1 about Arsene Wenger attempting to pass his way around Real Madrid’s unstoppable white machine is the wager we’re talking about.
Los Blancos are the reigning champions of Europe and they’re 63/20 joint favourites with FC Bayern to become the first side to retain the trophy in its modern format.
That seems a fair assessment from the bwin layers given Carlo Ancelotti’s side breezed through their section without dropping a single point.
Meanwhile the phenomenon that is Cristiano Ronaldo has Lionel Messi’s 73 club goals in a season high-watermark in his sights this term and is almost halfway there after just 22 appearances (it took the Argentine 60 outings to compile his haul).
Exactly the kind of side fate likes to torment Arsenal with then.