Football: Champions League Groups E-D Barcelona, Chelsea & Man Utd Begin Their Campaign

September 19, 2012
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Wednesday night Champions League action from groups E-H

A mixed bag of results from Groups A-D last night, we now look at the completion of the first round of matches as groups D-E play their first games

Champions League GROUP E

Chelsea v Juventus

What a mouth watering first game at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea. Both sides top their respective domestic tables after at this early stage of the season, both looking solid enough at this stage. Noted though, Chelsea’s poor display v Athletico Madrid in the Super Cup going down 1-4 here a couple of weeks ago. Last season, en route to winning this competition, Chelsea were victorious in each of their home games and will be looking to replicate that form this time around. Juventus have little recent Champions League experience which could count against them, but it should be noted that they have not been beaten on the road in any competitive match for 24 fixtures, that is quite a run. This is a tough venue to come to keep that record intact and Chelsea can put an end to it. The 1×2 market is tight as a result, but 3.3 for the draw is too short to play, and Juventus do not look like taking all three points. 6/4 for the home win with Stan James is the best price, it’s just a matter of how much we might be limited to staking with the firm

Shaktar Donetsk v Nordsjaelland

Shaktar Donestsk have lost just 3 matches in the last 74 games to take place in the Premier League at the Donbass Arena. They are famously difficult to beat, and in particular English teams have had a torrid time there. They were not so fortunate last season in this competition, drawing twice and losing to Porto at home bucked the trend. The competition tonight has many people questioning WHO are they playing? and offers a chance for Donestsk to get back to winning ways in Europe against the Danish champions. 1/4 about the home win tells you all you need to know about the Danes chances and anything but a home win would be considered a turn up for the books. The price is too short for me to get involved but this should go Donetsk’s way

Champions League Group E Bet: Chelsea HOME WIN @ 6/4

Champions League GROUP F

 Lille v BATE

BATE are my danger team for this group, and I have a small interest on them ousting Valencia from the group at a decent price. (17/2 to qualify from the group) To do so they will have to pick up a point at least in this match at Lille. Bate are of course well into their season and have managed to secure top spot up until now whilst Lille, minus Eden Hazard this season remember, are not doing so well, picking up just 6 points from their first 5 matches. Lille only won one game in this competition last season, away to Milan and BATE can cause them problems in France tonight. I will confidently take this match to end all square

Bayern Munich v Valencia

This is the game that contain the two favourites for progression from Group F. Last years beaten finalists will not make any mistakes in getting through the group stage and are one of the favourites to lift the cup once again. Valencia have made a very slow start to the season amassing just five points from their first four games, stark return for a side that would expect to be fighting out the places directly beneath Madrid and Barca. That said, they have had to play both those two in their opening games gaining a draw v Real, and going down to a single goal at Camp Nou. They remain a top European side. Bayern lost just twice in the Champions League last season, and won eleven of the fifteen games they played. With Seven clean sheets, they were one of the tightest defences also. Tonight against Valencia, they can keep another. I will play Bayern to keep a clean sheet at 2.2 which is the same price as the WIN TO NIL option!

Champions League Group F Bet: Lille V BATE DRAW 1pt @ 4.4 at BetVictor  - Bayern Munich  Keep clean sheet 1pt @ 2.2

Champions League GROUP G

 Barcelona v Spartak Moscow

I always find it tricky to find value backing a game in which Barcelona figure in the Champions League. You can generally take Barca to score at least two goals in their home fixtures, even against the better opposition. Barca kept only two clean sheets at home in the competition last season, and Spartak Moscow did not fail to score in any of their away legs. Looking at 6/4 for Both Teams To Score tonight has just about dragged me in. Barca have a habit of letting on go in games, and tend to win simply by outscoring the opposition

Celtic v Benfica

This might be the bigger game in the Group tonight as Celtic host Benfica. Celtic famously don’t have the greatest European record in recent years. I had an inkling that they may be in a better position to use the squad to its full effect for Europe this year with not having to look over their shoulder for Rangers in the Premier League. As it turns out,they don’t have to worry about what’s over their shoulder right now as Motherwell head the SPL. It may be that without Rangers in the division a little complacency may have set in. The Champions League may then not be the bigger picture. In any case, Benfica are solid side who have started the domestic season with to wins and a draw against Sporting Braga. They improved their European away form last year with wins in Romania and Switzerland, and as far as the soccer map goes, Scotland pretty much stand side by side at best with those countries. Celtic have done well when Benfica have come to Glasgow in the past. I am playing the draw for this match, the Celtic crowd supplying the twelfth man for the hoops to hold of the Portuguese challenge.

Champions League Group G Bet: Barca v Spartak Moscow BTTS 1pt @ 6/4 – Celtic v Benfica 1pt DRAW @ 3.4

Champions League GROUP H

 Manchester United v Galatasary

I’m afraid I have very little to say about this game. Manchester United made some mistakes in the group section of this competition last season with very nearly losing at home to Basel. United make few mistakes at home however and Galatasary are very poor travellers. This match should justify the odds on offer for the home win and as such too short for me to play, although I have to admit to being tempted in taking a simple 30% return on my investment. I shall have no financial interest in this match.

Sporting Braga v CFR Cluj

This is a tricky game to call as well. Braga are traditionally good at home an Cluj can cause their own problems when in form. Braga took the scalp of Arsenal in the competition last season, whilst Cluj were able to beat Basel in Switzerland in qualifying which is no mean, feat remembering the Swiss took 4 points from Manchester United in last seasons group stages. I have a quiet fancy for Cluj this season, and with Braga now without Brazilian Lima who weighed in with Twenty goals for the Arsenalistas last season, 13/2 about Cluj in an unpredictable match is a temptation too far for this punter.

Champions League Group H Bet: Sporting Braga v CFR Cluj AWAY WIN @ 7.5 wth Bet365

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