UEFA Champions League Preview

Matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League is upon us with loads of entertaining football on show. Arsenal will be hoping to bounce back from their worst ever European defeat against Bayern Munich on Matchday 4. The Gunners will face Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb in what is a crucial matchup. Chelsea will look to claim maximum points against Maccabi Tel Aviv that will take them closer to advancing to the Round of 16. Real Madrid, Porto, Zenit and Manchester City have already qualified, while wins for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Juventus will see them through. The Old Lady face a difficult challenge when they travel to Turin to take on Manchester City.

Tuesday 24 November

5/4 Zenit | Draw 9/4 | Valencia 9/4 (19:00)

Zenit maintained their perfect record so far in the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Lyon last time out which saw Andre Villas-Boas’ men reach the last 16 of the tournament. Valencia will know all about the threat that Zenit pose after losing 3-2 at home in the return fixture. Group H is wide open for second spot after Los Che fell to a 1-0 defeat to Gent on Matchday 4. Zenit have the quality to break through Valencia, but will find it difficult with the Spaniards fighting for a spot in the next round. Play it safe and back Both Teams To Score at 8/10. 

42/10 BATE | 28/10 | Bayer Leverkusen 13/20 (19:00)

The Round of 16 looks less likely for the Belarusians after falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Barcelona which sees them bottom of Group E. BATE will be desperate to keep their hopes of qualification alive with a win over free-scoring Bayer Leverkusen. Javier Hernandez has been vital for Leverkusen this season netting four times in as many games in the Champions League. The Germans made short work of BATE last time out with a 4-1 win and are tipped to repeat that feat at 13/20.

2/11 Arsenal | 6/1 | Dinamo Zagreb 12/1 (21:45)

Arsenal come off the back of their worst ever European defeat after a 5-1 hammering at the hands of a rampant Bayern Munich side. Despite the loss, the Gunners remain confident of reaching the next round knowing that Olympiacos face Bayern Munich in their next game. Arsene Wenger’s men find themselves in a tough situation after costly defeats to Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatian champions will look to emulate the result they got over Arsenal last time out but know that the Gunners will not take it as likely as they did in the first game. Back Arsenal to come out firing from the start with a Halftime-Fulltime win at 11/20.

4/10 Barcelona | 4/1 | Roma 57/10 (21:45)

Barcelona will look to seal top spot in Group E with a win over Roma. The in-form duo of Neymar and Luis Suarez have been the driving force behind Barcelona in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi. Roma lie in second place after a hard-fought victory against Bayer Leverkusen, winning the game 2-1. Alessandro Florenzi scored one of the best goals of the season the last time these sides met and proved that Roma are full of surprises by earning a 1-1 draw. Goals are promised in a fixture like this, especially with the form that Neymar and Suarez are in. Back the home win + Over 2.5 Goals at 7/10.

1/7 Bayern Munich | 7/1 | Olympiacos 15/1 (21:45)

High-flyers Bayern Munich will look to secure top spot with a win over Olympiacos, with both teams on nine points from four games. The Bavarians boast one of the best attacking forces in Europe after managing 13 goals from just four games. Oympiacos will hope to avoid another defeat after Bayern tore them apart in the first fixture with a 3-0 drubbing. I’m expecting another massacre and going for Bayern to win + Over 3.5 Goals at 9/10.

13/20 Porto | 28/10 | Dynamo Kyiv 9/2 (21:45)

FC Porto moved closer to securing their place in the Champions League round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Dynamo Kiev will hope for any sort of slip-up from Chelsea in their match against Tel-Aviv, but with the future out of their hands, they will look to spring an upset against Porto. Both sides were evenly matched in Kiev after playing out to a 2-2 draw. Expect another tight encounter and back the draw.

13/20 Lyon | 3/1 | Gent 42/10 (21:45)

Lyon are still searching for their first win of the tournament and will be looking to make home advantage count when they take on Gent. The Belgian champions ousted Valencia 1-0 to keep their hopes of reaching last 16 alive on Matchday 4. Lyon managed their only point of the group against Gent with a 1-1 draw last time out. With home advantage being a key factor, back Lyon to get the win valued at 13/20. 

7/1 Maccabi Tel Aviv | 7/2 | Chelsea 4/10 (21:45)

Chelsea left it late, but in the end it was great, as Willian’s special free-kick secured a vital win for Jose Mourinho’s side. The win took the Blues up to second spot in Group G, three points behind leaders FC Porto. With the Premier League title out of sight, Mourinho‘s charges will be doing all they can to prove their worth in Europe’s elite tournament. Chelsea have not been at their best this season but have the quality to bounce back with a win at 4/10.

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Wednesday 25 November

47/10 Astana | 11/4 | Benfica 6/10 (17:00)

Astana held Atletico Madrid to a goalless draw last time out which saw the Kazakhstan champions earn their second point of the campaign. With Europa League now being the main focus, Astana will hope to get a positive result to claim a third place finish. Benfica are two points ahead at the top of the table with two games to play and know that a win here could seal top spot. Jonas and Nicolas Gaitan were the driving force behind Benfica’s 2-1 victory against Galatasaray, and I’m expecting the duo to come out firing again. Back the away win at 6/10.

12/10 CSKA Moscow | 24/10 | Wolfsburg 21/10 (19:00)

With Group B still very much open, CSKA will look to put their 1-0 loss to Manchester United behind them as they take on Wolfsburg. Despite being on the back foot for most of that game, CSKA would feel thwarted by not getting a point after having a shot cleared off the line by Chris Smalling. Wolfsburg are two points ahead of their opponents and will hope to extend their lead against CSKA and catch up on leaders Man United. With both teams looking solid in defence, it’s hard to pick a winner with Under 2.5 Goals the best option at 19/20.

87/10 Malmo | 42/10 | Paris Saint-Germain 3/10 (21:45)

Malmo come off the back of a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Shakhtar and now face more misery with their next two games being against PSG and Real Madrid. Malmo grabbed maximum points in their last home game, winning 1-0 against Shakhtar. PSG have been superb in both defence and attack so far and have only conceded once against Real Madrid. Angel Di Maria has been in great form for the Paris outfit this season and will be the player to watch out for after netting as early as the fourth minute the last time these sides met. PSG will be looking to put pressure on Real Madrid at the top of Group A and are expected to come out firing. Take them on the Halftime-Fulltime Double at 8/10.

29/20 Monchengladbach | 24/10 | Sevilla 18/10 (21:45)

Monchengladbach will be hoping to get their revenge on Sevilla after losing 3-0 on Matchday 1. The Borussians are yet to taste victory in Champions League so far this season but are starting to find their rhythm after back-to-back draws against Juventus. Sevilla were dominated on their turf last time out against Manchester City and will look to bounce back after a scrappy performance. Home advantage could be the key factor and Gladbach are tipped to bag their first victory of the campaign.

11/10 Juventus | 23/10 | Man City 5/2 (21:45)

The Old Lady will look to their last fixture against Manchester City as a confidence booster after earning three points at the Etihad Stadium. Despite playing with a man down for most of the second half, Juve still managed to get a point against Monchengladbach. Manchester City secured qualification with a 3-1 win over Sevilla. Both teams will be hoping to secure top spot in the group, but with home advantage, back Juventus to come out on top.

3/10 Atletico Madrid | 42/10 | Galatasaray 92/10 (21:45)

Atletico struggled last time out in Kazakhstan drawing 0-0 against Astana. Diego Simeone will use the combination of Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres up front to bag in the goals as a win would seal Rojiblancos’ place in the next round. Galatasaray have been sloppy in defence, conceding seven goals in four matches. Lukas Podolski has been in fine form for Gala, but it might not be enough to win them the match. Atletico are tipped to win + Both Teams To Score at a valuable 23/10.

9/20 Man United | 36/10 | PSV Eindhoven 62/10 (21:45)

Manchester United are unbeaten in their last three games with two wins. The Red Devils will be looking to avenge their 2-1 defeat at PSV in the opening match of the competition and will welcome the return to the Theatre of Dreams. United are unbeaten at home in their last eight matches in Europe with seven wins and have won both their games in the tournament. PSV lie just a point behind their opponents and come off the back of an impressive 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg. However, Man United are tipped to seal qualification with a win.

31/10 Shakhtar | 3/1 | Real Madrid 15/20 (21:45)

Shakhtar fell to a 4-0 defeat to Real Madrid the last time these sides met. Cristiano Ronaldo netted a hat-trick that game and is the tournaments leading scorer this campaign with five goals. Los Blancos secured qualification after scraping a 1-0 win over PSG on Matchday 4. Shakhtar will be high in confidence after handing Malmo a 4-0 thrashing. The Miners will be without the defensive duo of Oleksandr Kucher and club captain Darijo Srna. With Madrid already booking their place in the last 16, Shakhtar will hope to catch up on PSG or to at least cement their place in the Europa League. Take Shakhtar on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 19/20.

UCL Picks
Zenit BTTS 8/10
Bayer Leverkusen WIN 13/20
Arsenal HT-FT WIN 11/20
Barcelona WIN + OVER 2.5 GOALS 7/10
Bayern Munich WIN + OVER 3.5 GOALS 9/10
Porto DRAW 28/10
Lyon WIN 13/20
Chelsea WIN 4/10
Benfica WIN 6/10
CSKA Moscow UNDER 2.5 GOALS 19/20
Monchengladbach WIN 29/20
Juventus WIN 11/10
Atletico WIN + BTTS 23/10
Man United WIN 9/20
Shakhtar WIN/DRAW 19/20

Written by Jesse Nagel