Arsenal vs Standard LiegeUEFA Europa League, KO: 20:00 Oct 3, 2019, Emirates Stadium
ARSENAL remain maddeningly inconsistent so it's hard to know what to expect when Standard Liege head to the Emirates for matchday two of the Europa League.
I fancied Unai Emery's side to slip up in their opener at Eintracht Frankfurt, especially after the Gunners gaffer fielded a weakened side against last season's semi-finalists.
That was based on Arsenal's shambolic defensive display in the 2-2 draw at Watford so it was a huge surprise to see them not only win in Germany but keep a clean sheet.
Eintracht's poor finishing played as big a role in that as any new-found solidity at the back but it was an impressive result and the perfect start to the European campaign.
Morale was boosted further by an excellent 3-2 league win over Aston Villa with 10 men and a 5-0 thumping of Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.
Those results made it five games unbeaten so I tipped the Gunners to pile more pain on struggling Manchester United with a win at Old Trafford on Monday night.
But the game ended in a stalemate that only confirmed both teams are still miles away from becoming serious title contenders in England.
I took some consolation in the fact two of my other tips came up, with Ashley Young booked in a poor game that gave us under 2.5 goals, but still cursed myself for using up a £5 free bet on an Arsenal win.
The point took the Gunners into the top four and Emery will definitely be more satisfied with the result than an increasingly forlorn Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Liverpool remain the only side to have beaten Arsenal this season so it's easy to see why the bookies make Emery's side 4/11 favourites against Standard Liege.
After ringing the changes in Frankfurt, I expect Emery to rest a few players again, with the likes of Kieran Tierney, Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding pushing to get more game time on their comebacks from injury.
Youngsters Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson could start while star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might get the night off. If the Gabon international is rested then it will open the door for Gabriel Martinelli to shine.
The young Brazilian netted twice against Forest in that League Cup win so looks good value at 15/8 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer. Willock is also a tempting 11/4 with the same firm after netting on his last European outing in Frankfurt.
Standard Liege are no mugs, as they showed by beating Vitoria Guimaeres 2-0 at home in their group opener. The Belgians also defeated Sevilla and Krasnodar in last season's Europa League so I fancy them to at least score at the Emirates, which pays 3/4 at BetVictor.
Standard are also a tempting 63/25 with Marathonbet in the double chance market, which pays on a win and a draw, and that may not be a bad option, given Arsenal won't be at full strength.
But I'm staying away from betting on the result as the Gunners are just too inconsistent and you never know what you are going to get.
Goals should be a safer option and I like the look of over 3.5 strikes at 34/25 with Marathonbet, given Standard have scored in all but one of their games so far this season.
Orlando Sa is the only injury absentee for the Belgians and they should field their strongest side in the hope of catching Arsenal on the hop.
Maxime Lestienne has been Standard's most prolific striker this season, with five goals from eight appearances. So he looks the best shout for an away goal and is a generous 5/1 with Betfred to net at any time.
This UEFA Europa League match between Arsenal and Standard Liege will be played on Oct 3, 2019 and kick off at 20:00