Champions League Group Stage Match Day 4 Previews
With the first three group stage games out of the way the Champions League Group stage has now reached a pivotal point for so many teams & there is no doubting that this round of matches could well decide the fate of so many teams, many will secure qualifcation while many know that they another bad result will see them fail.
The twist to this set of matches is that all the teams only played each 2 weeks ago & that definitely adds a different dynamic to the games and should make a good spread of entertaining, action packed matches to enjoy.
I have had a good look at the fixtures & here are my brief thoughts on the games & my recommendations on them for your consideration:
Tuesday fixtures for the Champions League:
Genk vs Chelsea :- Genk really only have their own pride to play for now in the Champions League with only 1 point & no goals scored to show for their efforts in the first 3 group games but that said it’s hard to see them getting anything here against a Chelsea side that brushed them aside 5-0 only a few weeks ago.
Chelsea cruised through that game & won as easily as they wanted with Genk offering very little in return and to be honest I expect a repeat of those circumstances here, while Chelsea probably won’t match the 5-0 scoreline, Chelsea look worth backing win with comfort again.
Outright Match Result: CHELSEA to win
Correct Score options: Chelsea to win 2-0/3-0
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Torres/Mata/Lampard
Valencia vs Bayer Leverkusen:- This is an absolutely crucial match in the group & may well decide which of Valencia or Bayer Leverkusen goes through to join Chelsea in the next round & it’s set up to be a really intense, competitive battle.
Valencia simply have to win, no other result will do & indeed losing here will completely blow their chances of qualifying and put Bayer Leverkusen through so the pressure is definitely on Valencia in this one & how they cope with the pressure will be the key to this match.
Bayern Leverkusen showed real quality & character to come from behind to beat Valencia 2-1 a few weeks ago and they will believe they can again get something from this match and I must say I agree.
Valencia have traditionally been very strong at home & generally hard to beat, in fact I don’t think they will get beaten here but at the same time Bayer Leverkusen have enough to get a result here as well & on balance a competitive scoring draw looks the value call in this one.
Outright Match Result: DRAW
Correct Score options: 1-1/2-2
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Soldado/Schurrle/
Arsenal vs Marseille :- There can be no denying just how important that 90th minute winning goal against Marseille was two weeks ago & as long as Arsenal avoid defeat here then they should go to win this group.
Winning the group will mean Arsenal are likely to avoid the other Group topping big guns such as the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and that surely will be all the motivation the Arsenal players need to finish the job off here as victory here will surely seal the group.
Marseille do have quality players that have to be respected & Arsenal will have to make sure they organise themselves properly in defensive areas but confidence is building within the Arsenal squad & that combined with home advantage should see Arsenal getting the win they need & they are worth backing to do that.
Outright Match Result: ARSENAL to win
Correct Score options: Arsenal to win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Van Persie/Gervinho/Walcott
Borussia Dortmund vs Olympiakos :- Borussia Dortmund have to win – it is as simple as that & while Olympiakos command maximum respect after beating Dortmund 3-1 two weeks ago, Dortmund have to go for the win & that should be deciding factor here.
Clearly Olympiakos will not be easy to beat & will no doubt set up to be hard to break down & are dangerous to dismiss but Borussia Dortmund are very strong at home & their fantastic crowd can inspire them to get a vital win here.
Outright Match Result: BORUSSIA DORTMUND win
Correct Score options: Borussia Dortmund win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Lewandowski/Pirisic/Gotze
Zenit St. Petersburg vs Shaktar Donetsk :- These two produce a fantastic, entertaining goal filled 90 minutes 2 weeks ago & there is every chance of getting a repeat here as both Zenit & Shaktar know they are still with in a great chance of qualifying & both will look for the win here.
I’m expecting both teams to really go for this & the attacking quality on show should produce a few goals & both Zenit & Shaktar are more than capable of winning this but they couldn’t be split first time around & I think the value lies in backing them to share a few goals & share the points here.
Outright Match Result: DRAW
Correct Score options: 1-1/2-2
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Jadson/Shirikov/Willian
Apoel Nicosia vs FC Porto :- This is a massively important match in the context of this group with both Apoel & Porto still holding a great chance of qualifying & indeed winning the group so this should be another competitive like the first game that finished 1-1 two weeks ago.
That 1-1 draw was a big shock with Porto big favourites to win at home but credit has to got Apoel who fought back after going behind early & clearly they have to be seriously respected back on home turf with their fantastic support sure to create a really intense atmosphere.
Apoel will look to make this a tough test for Porto & Porto will have to be at their best to get something here, the first goal is key to how this game will go but I think Porto have the edge in terms of quality & Hulk can lead them to a massive win here.
Outright Match Result: FC PORTO to win
Correct Score options: FC Porto to win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Hulk/
BATE Borisov vs AC Milan:- AC Milan did a solid, professional job to beat BATE 2-0 a couple of weeks ago & surely they can be fancied to do the same again here.
BATE should offer more of a threat this time around & of course they will have the home support behind them but AC Milan are far superior in terms of player quality & AC Milan look worth backing to get the job done again with Ibrahimovic leading the line again.
Outright Match Result: AC MILAN to win
Correct Score options: AC Milan win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Ibrahimovic/Cassano/Pato
Viktoria Plzen vs Barcelona :- This match will be an absolute formality & Barcelona will win comfortably, the only factor punters have to think about is how many goals will Barcelona score this time around.
2 weeks ago Barcelona rather surprisingly could only manage a 2-0 win at home but in reality it could & should have been upwards of 4-0 and I would think the starting point for this match is 3-0 & upwards, take your pick which score you go for with Messi & Co likely to catch up on the goals they missed out on the first time around.
Outright Match Result: BARCELONA to win
Correct Score options: Barcelona to win 3-0/4-0
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Messi/Villa/Pedro
Wednesday fixtures for the Champions League:
Bayern Munich vs Napoli :- Both Bayern Munich & Napoli come into this vital match unbeaten after the first 3 games & both teams will certainly be happy if that unbeaten status is still intact after this match which is going to be a tough, competitive encounter.
Napoli responded very well in the last game to earn a draw after going behind very early on against Bayern Munich & they’ve done more than enough to suggest they can go to Munich and really make it hard for Bayern Munich but at the same time they will have to play very, very well to get anything from this as Munich are very, very strong at home.
Bayern Munich are in control of Group A & will look to just about seal it with a win here while Napoli are likely to be content with a draw so I’m expecting both sides to be really competitive & another scoring draw was tempting but Bayern Munich’s strength at home is pretty formidable & they are worth backing to just have too much quality for Napoli in this one.
Outright Match Result: BAYERN MUNICH to win
Correct Score options: Bayern Munich to win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Gomez/Robben/Ribery
Villareal vs Manchester City :- The 93rd minute goal that Aguero scored 2 weeks ago to help Man City grab a dramatic late 2-1 win may well prove to be an absolutely pivotal moment of their season & it’s most definitely a goal that has kept Man City in this seasons Champions League but at the same time virtually destroyed Villareal’s hopes for this year.
Quite simply Villareal have to look to win this game just to stay alive in the competition & Manchester City have to look to win as well so this should be a good, honest contest.
Villareal’s style is usually to play calm, controlled possession football but that won’t help them to create the chances to win this game & they really have got to look to be positive which should open the game up for Manchester City’s superior attacking quality to take advantage & given that huge confidence boost by Aguero’s goal, Roberto Mancini’s men look worth backing to get a massive away win here.
Outright Match Result: MANCHESTER CITY to win
Correct Score options: Manchester City to win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Aguero/Silva/Nasri
Inter Milan vs Lille :- Inter Milan were too good & too strong for Lille in France 2 weeks ago & I’m taking them to repeat that & do the double over Lille to keep control of the group.
Lille do deserve respect given the individual quality they have but they have not really done it so far in the Champions League & they don’t look as though they’ve got enough about them to go into the San Siro & get the win they need and they will have to be at their best to get any type of positive result here.
Inter Milan suffered a massive shock by losing their first home game against Trabzonspor but they’ve turned things around since then & now look on their way back to their best form & if they do that here then they look worth following & worth backing to inflict another damaging defeat on Lille.
Outright Match Result: INTER MILAN to win
Correct Score options: Inter Milan to win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Sneijder/Pazzini/Cambiasso
Trabzonspor vs CSKA Moscow :- Trabzonspor went into the first game against CSKA top of Group B & 3 points clear of CSKA but things look a whole lot different now after CSKA won that easily 3-0 and now it’s CSKA who have the advantage over Trabzonspor in what looks a straight fight between themselves for 2nd place behind Inter Milan.
Those circumstances make this a vital & quite probably pivotal game in the group and both sides will be looking to win but at the same time also making sure they don’t lose and that does complicate things in terms in working out which way this game might go & to be honest all results look possible here.
Trabzonspor are usually very, very strong at home with the intensity of their crowd behind them always making it a real test for their rivals & making Trabzonspor hard to beat but CSKA Moscow have more attacking quality & were very impressive in beating Trabzonspor so on balance a competitive, scoring draw looks a value call here & both teams may well end up happy with that come the final whistle.
Outright Match Result: DRAW
Correct Score options: 1-1/2-2
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Doumbia/Colman/Love
Benfica vs Basel :- Benfica have been impressive so far in this years Champions League & they highlighted their form by comfortably beating Basle 2-0 away so this is going to be another tough test for Basle & one that I don’t really expect them to pass.
Basle obviously command respect for the way they fought back after being 2-0 down against Manchester United at Old Trafford to end up getting a 3-3 draw but they were brushed aside by Benfica at home and I just don’t see how they can turn that around in Benfica on a ground where Benfica are always incredibly tough to play against & even tougher to beat no matter who they are playing.
Both Benfica & Basle look to play good football so this should be an entertaining game to watch but in terms of the final result I can’t look beyond Benfica winning this with the inspirational Cardozo most likely to lead to victory.
Outright Match Result: BENFICA to win
Correct Score options: Benfica to win 2-0/2-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Cardozo/Nolito/Caesar
Manchester United vs Otelul Galati :- Manchester United were rubbish against Otelul in the first game & needed to penalties to win the game but they won & that’s all the history books will remember and that’s all that matters to Manchester United right now.
There isn’t really much point in talking about this game for too long, Manchester United are vastly superior to Galati & to be absolutely honest Manchester United can probably afford to be as rubbish again & still win this game but I don’t think they can play as bad again here & I’m expecting a few more goals to go in this time around no matter who plays.
Outright Match Result: MANCHESTER UNITED to win
Correct Score options: Manchester United to win 3-0/4-0
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Rooney/Hernandez/Nani
Ajax vs Dinamo Zagreb :- Going into the first clash between Ajax & Dinamo it was always likely that whoever lost was going to be all but dead & buried in this competition and so Ajax’s comfortable defeat leaves Dinamo Zagreb with virtually nowhere to go & nothing to play for so I’m expecting this to match to be all about Ajax & how well they play, if they play anywhere well enough they will win.
The 2-0 away win in Zargreb was so comfortable for Ajax it almost looked like a training game at times with Dinamo offering very little threat & all it took was two simple, well crafted goals from Ajax to finish the job and I’m going with Ajax to show their extra quality & repeat that comfortable win here.
Outright Match Result: AJAX to win
Correct Score options: AJAX to win 2-0/3-0
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Soulamani/Eriksen
Lyon vs Real Madrid :- Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid look a real, potent force in the Champions League this season & 3 convincing, stylish wins from 3 matches shows just how superior they have been to all their Group D rivals and quite simply if Real Madrid want to go through the group with 6 wins from 6 they can do, it’s entirely up to how they play.
Now that might sound simplistic & dismissive of teams with several quality players amongst them but Lyon are a decent side on their day yet they were well & truly dismissed 4-0 with ease by Real Madrid in the last game & as long as Real Madrid show the same desire to win here then their extra quality will be too much for Lyon again in this match.
Lyon have to be respected at home & they have done well against Real Madrid in the past on this ground but this time around I cannot oppose Real Madrid & they can seal victory in this group by winning here with comfort again with Ronaldo, Benzema, Kaka, Higuain, Alonso, Kadeira & all the other quality Real Madrid squad just too good for Lyon.
Outright Match Result: REAL MADRID to win
Correct Score options: Real Madrid to win 3-0/3-1
First Goalscorer each way/Players to score anytime: Ronaldo/Benzema/Di Maria
Well those are my own independent views for the midweek action in the Champions League & hopefully you find them interesting & informative in some way.
The idea behind the betting recommendations is to cover the main football betting markets hopefully they help guide you towards successful punts on what should prove to be another truly fascinating & dramatic set of Champions League matches.
Remember to check the latest team news before you bet & also to shop around for the best odds & best terms available and good luck with whatever bets you have.