Collect with Costa on Tuesday
Ian Ogg previews Tuesday's ties in the UEFA Champions League and he expects Diego Costa to prove the difference.
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The away teams had the upper hand in the first legs of Tuesday nights UEFA Champions League clashes with Atletico Madrid scoring a late goal against the Rossoneri and Arsenal succumbing 2-0 to reigning champions Bayern Munich.
The Gunners came remarkably close to overturning a similar deficit at the same stage of last year's competition but few pundits, if any, are giving them any chance of getting the job done this time around.
Their team isn't vastly different from 12 months ago with Wilshere missing that fixture as well although key absentees Ramsey and Walcott both started in the Allianz Arena that night.
- 0.5pt Bayern Munich to win and both teams to score against Arsenal at 15/8 (Stan James) - Arsenal look capable of troubling the hosts but could become stretched at the back as they push forward.
- 0.5pt Diego Costa to score and Atletico Madrid to win against AC Milan at 13/10 (Paddy Power) - Costa's goals have fired Madrid to the top of La Liga and they should prove too strong for the Rossoneri who are struggling in Serie A.
Podolski and, in particular, Ozil have points to prove back on home soil while Wenger was able to rest Giroud for the majority of Saturday's FA Cup tie with Everton and Arsenal should lack nothing in motivation.
Arsenal are arguably a better side than they were at the same stage last season but are Bayern Munich? They're certainly not any worse and Lahm has thrived under the new role handed to him by Guardiola.
They're unbeaten in the Bundesliga and have won 22 of their 24 games with a goal difference of +61 which, quite frankly, is just entering the realms of the absurd and their dominance is frightening.
Everything suggests that they should be unbeatable but Man City got the better of them in the group stages (albeit in a dead game) and there's that result from last year.
Even so, I couldn't back Arsenal to win the game, even at the top price of 10/1, while the draw at 5s makes limited appeal but they do look capable of troubling Bayern and did so at the Emirates before Szczęsny received his marching orders.
Bayern should be able to pick Arsenal off at will as Wenger's side push forward but they may be able to net and a small interest in Bayern to win and both sides to score looks the way to go.
Atletico are riding high in La Liga and will be fancied to see off Milan at the Vicente Calderón Stadium. In contrast to the hosts, Milan are languishing in mid-table in their domestic league having won just three games on the road and they're closer in points to the side in bottom place than they are to table toppers Juventus.
Atletico haven't reached the quarter-final stage for 17 years but, remarkably, only two sides have overturned a home first leg deficit to win a tie in UEFA Champions League history and the home team are on an impressive run of home form in European competition while Milan have struggled in recent matches in Spain, even if their last two defeats did come against Barcelona.
The Spaniards did ride their luck in the first leg with Courtois making some vital saves and the woodwork twice coming to their rescue but they soaked up the pressure and were more comfortable in the second half before snatching that late winner.
David Villa has rewarded the outlay of over £4million with a perfectly respectable 15 goals, including a brace on Sunday which fired them to the top of the table, but the man Madrid turn to is Diego Costa who will have fresh legs after missing the match against Celta Vigo due to suspension.
The in-demand 25-year-old is running at almost a goal a game this season with 26 goals in 29 starts, with five in four in this competition, including the winner in the first-leg.
He's odds-on to net anytime and 7/2 to score first but the way to get involved in this game could be to back Costa to score and Madrid to win at 13/10 with Paddy Power as he's certain to get opportunities with Milan needing to push forward.