Dan Roebuck, football betting guru, predicts this week’s Champions League matches…
The English Premier League has been much derided in continental circles recently.
The richest league in the world hasn’t produced a team that has made the final of the Champions League since 2012 and has managed to fill only two of the last 20 semi-final places on offer.
However, with four of the five English clubs currently topping their respective groups in this year’s renewal, there is a real belief that England are on course to notch their 13th success in Europe’s premier competition.
Inevitably, it’s something that has been picked up on by the bookmakers, who offer 11/4 about any English side winning the Champions League. And with many of the Premier League’s representatives’ favourites to claim European wins this midweek, it’s a price that could get even shorter.
Goals Galore for Guardiola
Manchester City are the team the odds-compilers fear most of all, as Pep Guardiola’s side are the shortest-priced English club in the Champions League at 9/1.
A third straight group F win at the expense of Napoli looks a confident call.
‘Pep is making me a better player’ says @sterling7 ahead of Napoli test #cityvsscn #mancity https://t.co/lnR97buJ03
— Manchester City (@ManCity) October 16, 2017
True, Maurizio Sarri’s side have won eight from eight in Serie A this term, but the Italian club has never won an away game in England.
Given both sides propensity for attacking play, there will surely be goals. None of City’s 38 Champions League group games have ended goalless, while Napoli have never been involved in a scoreless affair away from home in this competition.
Both teams are top scorers in their domestic divisions, so back over 3.5 goals at 19/20.
Merseyside Magic In Maribor
Liverpool’s early stumbles in group E hasn’t seen the bookmakers lose faith in Jurgen Klopp’s team.
The Merseysiders have drawn both of their games so far but are just 2/15 to qualify for the knockout stages.
They are 2/11 to defeat Maribor and, while the Slovenians held Spartan Moscow at Stadion Ljudski vrt, Liverpool should come away with the points.
Split your stakes and cover 2-0 (23/4) and 3-0 (6/1).
Spurs To Shock In Spain
Real Madrid versus Tottenham pits the top two in group H against each other.
Both have won their opening two games, but I just fancy Spurs, who have won all five of their away fixtures this term, to get a positive result.
Tomorrow, it’s a big one. #MondayMotivation pic.twitter.com/6d8KTiCkGe
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) October 16, 2017
At 13/2 they are a massive price to become the first away team in eight years to win a group game at the Bernabeu, but more prudently they can be backed at 27/20 getting a goal start on the handicap.
Zinedine Zidane’s men lost at home to Real Betis last month and have also been held by Valencia and Levante on their own patch this campaign.
Los Blancos are 4/1 favourites to win the Champions League, but with Harry Kane in such brilliant form (he’s netted five goals in Europe this term and is 8/1 to be the competition’s top scorer) the visitors might just surprise the market principles.
A repeat of the 1968 final sees Benfica host Manchester United and while the Lisbon club was the scene of Jose Mourinho’s only failure as a manager (he resigned after just 11 games in charge), the boss will almost certainly head back from his homeland with three points.
Three #MUFC men will be in familiar surroundings when we face Benfica on Wednesday: https://t.co/IKSClQ2egu pic.twitter.com/2NJwiheDVB
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 16, 2017
Benfica are bottom of group A and United are taken to ‘win to nil’ at 21/10.
Roma Rolled Over
Antonio Conte last lost a home match against Roma when in charge of Atalanta in November 2009. Despite some domestic wobbles recently, I see no reason why Chelsea cannot continue the Italian coach’s good run against I Giallorossi.
Roma, beaten 1-0 at home by Napoli on Saturday, have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 22 Champions League away games.
Back the Blues to win either 1-0 (13/2) or 2-0 (7/1).
Resurgent Bayern Offer No Respite
Bayern Munich, now with Jupp Heynckes in charge, have won 22 of their last 23 Champions League home group games.
They should make it 23 from 24 with the minimum of fuss against a Celtic side that have never won a competitive match away from home against German opposition.
Arjen Robben will celebrate his 100th Champions League match if he plays and the Dutch winger, who has proved to be the scourge of British opposition in this competition, should be backed to score at any time.
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