Champions League Tips – 28th & 29th September
The Champions League has some cracking games to look forward to this week, including a repeat of last year’s semi final between Paris St Germain and Manchester City, while in Italy Juventus host Chelsea and Manchester United face Villarreal in a repeat of last season’s Europa League final.
We also have AC Milan against Atletico Madrid, FC Porto facing Liverpool and Benfica taking on Barcelona in the really big headline games across both days of action.
It’s about time that I had a good selection of tips in the Champions League. I’ve been a bit disappointed with how things went in this competition last season, so I want a much better showing this time around.
Anyway, here’s my tips for four of the big games coming up this week.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 28th September
FC Porto fans are probably sick of the sight of Liverpool, especially at home. Not only have they never seen their team beat Liverpool, but the last two times Liverpool have played in Portugal against them they have won comfortably by 5-0 and 4-1 scorelines, both in the Champions League.
Both teams have started the season well domestically with FC Porto second in the table behind a rampany Benfica, while Liverpool are top of the Premier League following their 3-3 draw at Brentford at the weekend and Chelsea and Manchester United’s surprising defeats.
Porto do have some talented players and Marko Grujic will be playing against his former club, but Liverpool are looking much more like the team that won the Premier League a couple of seasons ago and the fact that they are scoring plenty of goals at the moment must worry Porto.
As such, while I can’t see another huge win for Liverpool, I think the Reds will win the game but that defence did look shaky against Milan in their opener and I think FC Porto will at least get the solace of a goal, even if it is in defeat.
Manchester City put in one of the best two-legged displays I have seen by an English team in Europe last season when dismantling PSG in the semifinal 4-1 on aggregate. That led to PSG signing a whole host of stars including Hakimi, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and of course, Lionel Messi to try and break their Champions League hoodoo.
Things haven’t started so well for them in the competition this season, a somewhat fortunate 1-1 draw away to Club Brugge was not the result PSG fans wanted, especially in a group where they and Manchester City are expected to dominate.
However, PSG’s domestic form has been excellent, and better than Manchester City’s, but the fact that Lionel Messi is a doubt with a knee injury must be a real concern for them as these are the games the ex-Barcelona man was brought in to play a key role in.
I think City are too good to lose this game but by the same token, I think they will know that they don’t need to push for a win and that a draw will be a good result. As such I think the draw, with both teams scoring given the attacking talent on show, is a good pick here.
UCL Tips: Wednesday 29th September
Juventus have recovered from a torrid start in Serie A where they had picked just two points in their opening four games, but two narrow 3-2 wins over Spezia and Sampdoria are hardly likely to give their fans a huge amount of confidence for the remainder of the season.
They welcome the Champions League holders, Chelsea, to Turin for this second game of the Group Stages, with Juventus recording their best win of the season in their opener, a 3-0 win in Sweden against Malmo while Chelsea were beating Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 in London.
However, since then, Thomas Tuchel’s side were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City at the weekend at Stamford Bridge for a rare home defeat and it is going to be interesting to see whether Tuchel rings in some changes from that game for this one.
Juventus may be shipping goals this season, but I also feel they can score against Chelsea, and with two former Chelsea stars likely to be in their team (Juan Cuadrado and Alvaro Morata), I am backing them to pick up a point from this game, which I think at the end of 90 minutes both managers would be happy with.
It is fair to say that the games between these two teams in the past have been very tight affairs. Four draws in four games was followed by last season’s Europa League final, which saw Villarreal triumph 11-10 on penalties after another 1-1 draw between the two teams.
Both sides come into this game in need of a win. United were beaten by Young Boys in their opening group game and then went on to lose two of their next three matches, heaping the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of this game. A defeat here could see United put in a very tough position in Group F.
However, form is generally only temporary at a club like United and the fact that Villarreal have drawn so many games this season suggests that they cannot kill off teams. United can do that thanks to the quality they have in attack and their new signing Cristiano Ronaldo typefies that.
I think this United team is probably much better than the one that lost the Europa League final on penalties and add to that a desperate need for a win and home advantage, and I think United will record a morale-boosting win here.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.