Champions League Tips: 20th & 21st October
We managed a profit of £2 from the weekend’s games… so basically we broke even.
No damage done.
We are now at the point where the Group Stages of the Champions League and Europa League get underway across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings over the course of the next couple of months or so.
It only seems a few weeks back that Bayern Munich were defeating Paris St Germain to lift the title and now those two teams, plus 30 others, will battle it out across six matchdays to decide which two from each group progress into the knockout phase of the tournament, which takes place in the New Year.
Remember too, the eight teams that finish third in each group will gain entry into the Europa League knockout stage last season, a route that eventual winners of the Europa League, Sevilla, took last year.
There are some amazing groups to look forward to with the likes of Man Utd and Paris St Germain, Barcelona and Juventus, Ajax and Liverpool, Chelsea and Sevilla, Atlético Madrid and Bayern Munich and finally Inter Milan and Real Madrid all drawn into the same groups and set to battle it out.
That action begins this week with Match-day 1 and we have previewed the game taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday nights to pick out the following tips.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 20th October
These two teams should be the two to progress from Group E with Rennes and Krasnodar their other rivals, but the past two Europa League winners should be strong enough to pick up maximum points against both those teams, which makes the two clashes between them likely the games to decide the group.
Chelsea may have home advantage here but they are facing a team that have outstanding European pedigree and who recently held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp. Sevilla haven’t really shone in the Champions League, their main success has been in the Europa League, so that may well give Chelsea some encouragement here.
While I think Chelsea have the better attacking players and the more invention in the team, I think Sevilla are extremely well organised, very strong defensively and they make it very difficult for any team to get the better of them, as both Wolves and Manchester United found out in the Europa League last season.
As such, I think the Spaniards will come to London to frustrate the home side and I think they have the skill and experience to do that, hence I am backing the draw here.
These two teams last met in the 2018/19 Champions League when PSG defeated United 2-0 at Old Trafford but then inexplicably fell apart against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team at home, losing 3-1 and going out on away goals. That result effectively saw Solskjaer land the United job full time but the Norwegian ace has had a tough time of late.
Drawn in one of the tougher groups (Red Bull Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir are the other two teams in Group H), picking up vital points on the road could be key to any team’s chances of success and despite the signings of Cavani and Tellez, I am not convinced United have the quality to earn something on the road against the beaten finalists in this competition last season.
PSG did start the French season very slowly, but they have improved of late as the likes of Mbappe and Di Maria have returned to full fitness and with Neymar pulling the strings, I think United could be in for a very long night.
I do feel United will score a goal as I don’t feel the PSG back line is particularly strong, but I think the home side will still run out comfortable winners by a 3-1 scoreline or similar.
Football Tips: Wednesday 21st October
There’s no doubt that at times this season, Liverpool’s much-vaunted defence has looked very shaky indeed and with Alisson set to miss this game, Reds fans will be hoping that their team does not have another defensive disaster in Amsterdam on Wednesday night. That could be a real test with Virgil van Dijk likely out for 6-8 months with a possible cruciate knee ligament injury following the Merseyside derby at the weekend.
One positive should have been the Champions League debut of Thiago for Liverpool and I would have been very surprised if the ex-Bayern man was not to start against a young but talented Ajax side, but an injury also picked up in the Merseyside derby means that there is real doubt that the Spanish international will be fit. They are two huge blows for Liverpool to cope with.
This Ajax team is not as strong as the team that almost made the final a couple of years ago, with many key men from that squad moving on since, but they are still more than good enough to score a goal against the Reds at home but the question is, can their defence stop the Liverpool attack going the other way.
I see this one as being a close contest but I think that extra quality in the Liverpool front three will be decisive here and lead the visitors to a very important and morale-boosting win, even with a trio of key men, including keeper Alisson, out injured.
For me, there is no doubt now that there are signs that this particular Manchester City team is starting to dwindle a little in terms of quality and consistency. That is particularly evident in attack where the absence of Aguero and Gabriel Jesus in the early weeks of the season has left City unusually toothless in attack.
That could be a problem against a side like FC Porto who are regular competitors in the Champions League and who have some very talented players that can cause any of the top sides real problems on the counter attack and I can see Porto having some joy in this way against the City defence.
However, if City can start to convert some of the many chances that they tend to make then even if they concede a goal or two, they should still have enough in the tank to win this match. The only thing is, I am not quite sure whether they will take those chances or not.
As such, I have taken the rare option of not going for a winner here as I think the best bet is to go for the Over 3.5 Goals bet as I think this is a game that will see plenty of chances created at both ends of the pitch.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.