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As the Champions League rolls back into town, we asked football betting expert Andrew Mount to consult his crystal ball. Can Spurs reproduce the same form we saw against Borussia Dortmund? Can free-scoring Manchester City make a legitimate run for the Champions League final under Pep?
Spartak Moskva v Liverpool (Sept 26th, 19:45)
LIVERPOOL, who were on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline when they faced Leicester in the Carabao Cup last week, bounced back to beat the Foxes 3-2 in the Premier League. Reds’ fans will be hoping that last weekend’s performance will beget some consistency after a stop-start season. The Reds kept clean sheets at home to Crystal Palace and Arsenal in August, but have conceded in all subsequent games, including in both legs of the Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim. Missed chances proved costly in their 2-2 home draw with Sevilla (in their first Group E encounter) and a midweek away trip to SPARTAK MOSCOW is likely to prove another tough test. Spartak have drawn four of their last five games and another stalemate wouldn’t surprise me.
Apoel Nicosia v Tottenham Hotspur (Sept 26th, 19:45)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR had a forgettable return to the Champions League last year, failing to qualify from the group phase after losing two of their three home games at their temporary Wembley base. However, a 3-1 home win over Borussia Dortmund in the opening round, casting aside the Wembley hoodoo in the process, suggests that things could be very different this time around. Spurs are now unbeaten since losing 2-1 to Chelsea in August and should have little trouble overcoming minnows APOEL NICOSIA on Tuesday night. Harry Kane, who netted twice against Dortmund, was also in double form against West Ham on Saturday and is the obvious one in the first scorer market.
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid (Sept 26th, 19:45)
REAL MADRID’s trip to BORUSSIA DORTMUND is undoubtedly the pick of the Group H matches and the Germans looks the value to upset their illustrious visitors. Last year’s winners saw off Apoel Nicosia by a very comfortable 3-0 scoreline earlier this month but have made a slow start to their domestic campaign, losing 1-0 at home to Betis last week and scraping past bottom club Alaves at the weekend. Dortmund look good value to prevail.
Manchester City v Shaktar Donetsk (Sept 26th, 19:45)
Free-scoring MANCHESTER CITY dished out another thrashing at the weekend, with hapless Crystal Palace on the receiving end this time. That took their September goal figures to 22 for and just one against, including a 4-0 away victory over Feyenoord in their opening Champions League group fixture. Ukrainian sides are 0-14 when playing away to English teams in the Champions League and it’s difficult to see SHAKTAR DONETSK taking three points at the Etihad, especially as their last four away games in this competition have ended in defeat. City to win to nil looks the obvious call.
CSKA Moscow v Manchester United (27th Sept, 19:45)
MANCHESTER UNITED sit second in the Premier League on goal difference after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Southampton last week and will need to show similar grit if they are to return from Moscow with three points on Wednesday night. Opponents CSKA, who drew 0-0 with local rivals Dynamo on Saturday, will fancy their chances of an upset but United look solid defensively this year and can edge it by the odd goal.
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea (27th Sept, 19:45)
The Diego Costa transfer saga has added spice to CHELSEA’s trip to ATLETICO MADRID, where a close game looks likely. Both teams are unbeaten in their last six and a low-scoring draw could be the value selection.
Anderlecht v Celtic (27th Sept, 19:45)
CELTIC underlined their domestic superiority by overcoming Rangers 2-0 at Ibrox on Saturday, but need to get their Champions League campaign back on track after the 5-0 mauling by Paris Saint-Germain in their opening Group B fixtures.
Wednesday’s opponents ANDERLECHT lost 3-0 away to Bayern Munich in their first game, but were reduced to ten men in the 11th minute. Things got worse when they went one down from the resulting Robert Lewandowski penalty. It took until the 65th minute for the Germans to double their lead, and they added a third on the 90-minute mark. Anderlecht’s recent home record in the Champions League has been uninspiring – they were beaten 2-0 by Rostov in the second-leg qualifier last year and lost two of their three homes games in 2015/16. Celtic will fancy this tie.
PSG v Bayern Munich (27th Sept, 19:45)
Group B features a mouth-watering clash between PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN and BAYERN MUNICH. Bayern dropped to third in the Bundesliga after throwing away a 2-0 lead in Friday’s draw with Wolfsburg. Stand-in keeper Sven Ulrich was at fault for their opponents first goal, and first-choice Manuel Neuer will again be missing on Wednesday.
Expect PSG to take full advantage.
Sporting Lisbon v Barcelona (27th Sept, 19:45)
BARCELONA have been dominant domestically this season and comfortably overcame Juventus in their Group D encounter two weeks ago, with Messi netting either side of half-time in a 3-0 victory. Opponents SPORTING LISBON have won five of their last six, but Barca look set to prevail.
Spartak Moscow to draw with Liverpool 3/1
Tottenham Hotspur 8/25
Borussia Dortmund 15/8
Manchester City 2/11
Manchester United 4/6
Paris Saint Germain 19/20
Atletico Madrid to draw with Chelsea 11/5