The Champions League returned with a bang last night, as Paris Saint Germain's 4-0 demolition of Barcelona sent shockwaves around Europe.
In what was expecting to be a close contest between two of Europe's elite sides, the Spanish giants were embarrassed in Paris as Luis Enrique's side were completely overrun by a superb French side.
In the second game of the evening, Benfica edged out Borussia Dortmund, taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg in Germany.
Tonight, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will be hoping to kick-start the Spanish and German challenges tonight, hoping not to suffer the same fate as their counterparts did last night.
Fortunately for both sides, neither have to travel in the first leg with Madrid and Munich the destination of Napoli and Arsenal respectively.
If you take domestic form into consideration, two home wins will be expected. Bayern Munich have been hugely impressive recently, carving out eleven wins and one draw in their last 12 games. The Bundesliga's winter break has left the German giants looking refreshed ahead of this evening's visit of Arsenal. By contrast, Arsenal have lost two in three in the Premier League, leaving the task of winning a first league title in over a decade looking unlikely.
Arsenal are coming under intense scrutiny with the same, predictable failures season after season. Leading up to Christmas, the Gunners look like Premier League champions-in-waiting, yet a January/February blip always seems to derail their title challenge. The same can be said for their Champions League trends. You have to go back to 2003 for the last time Arsenal failed to make it to the last 16, but they have failed to make it any further in any of the six seasons.
In this evening's second game, holders and current La Liga leaders, Real Madrid host Napoli. In contrast to the four Bayern Munich versus Arsenal games in the past five Champions League seasons, this is the first meeting between the sides Napoli's Maradona-inspired glory days of the 1980s.
Current match odds (courtesy of Betfair):
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal
Bayern Munich - 9/20
Draw - 19/5
Arsenal - 13/2
Real Madrid vs Napoli
Real Madrid - 11/20
Draw - 17/5
Napoli - 11/2TOPICS: