Football: Champions League 2012/13 Groups E-H 2nd Round of Group Stage

September 30, 2012

Tuesday night Champions League action from groups E-H

In the second round of Champions League group matches, it’s group E-H that go first on Tuesday night. There may have been a few perceived shocks in the first round of games for some. CFR Cluj would have been considered one of them winning in Portgual, but followers of this blog would have been collecting on the night as we tipped them up to do just what they did. BATE battered Lille at home, and before Lionel Messi worked his magic for Barcelona, there could have been the biggest shock of the first round with Spartak Moscow nearly getting all three points in Camp Nou. The second round may be approached with more caution. As usual I shall cast my eye over the games and see what opportunities I feel are worth getting involved with. The bank stand at 8.19pts to the good, mainly thanks to Malaga and CFR Cluj in the first round, and of course, the aim is to now improve upon that number

Champions League GROUP E

Nordsjaelland v Chelsea

The first thing that is worth pointing out about the hosts tonight, is that in the first round game against Shaktar Donetsk at the Don Bass, is that the Danes held 62% possession. Perhaps a surprising amount given they were the visitors but possession doesn’t win games alone, goals do, and Shaktar netted a brace with Nordsjaelland were unable to breach the home sides net at all. Chelsea will most likely be happy to watch the Danes push with the possession and hit on the counter. I’m not about to dive into Chelsea at 1/3 despite the fact they are looking very strong this season, certainly they should not have drawn the first game against Juventus after being two goals tothe good, so the 1×2 market is a no-no for me this time round. At the time of writing Chelsea have been held at home to Stoke and given Wolves a thrashing in the League Cup. The Danes have also enjoyed a cup win, although in a game that was taken to extra time.

Juventus v Shaktar Donetsk

Juventus have predictably had a couple of wins since coming back against Chelsea in the first round to draw 2-2. They will be more than keen to take all three points against Shaktar in this one too. Shaktar have a tough game immediately preceding this one when they host Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk who sit just behind them in the Premier League. The Ukrainians have a fairly poor away record in this competition, losing to both Porto and Zenit in last years group stage and 8/13 for a home win with Paddy power looks worth a bet. I admit to underestimating Juve in the first game against Chelsea following a period of not competing in the competition, but given that performance at Stamford bridge, they afford my respect.

Champions League Group E Bet: Juventus HOME WIN @ 8/13 Paddy Power

Champions League GROUP F

 Valencia v Lille

Valencia will need not to be too complacent coming into this game versus Lille, although they could be forgiven,the way the French side rolled over at home v BATE in the first game, and their poor domestic form where they have amassed but only 7 points from 6 games.  As such 4/7 from Paddy Power for the Home win in this game may not be as short as it looks at first glance although the home side are not enjoying the greatest start to their domestic season either. Have a closer look though at that form and as mentioned last time, they have met both Barcelona and Real Madrid already and away form has been letting them down. At home they are a different prospect having not lost in six matches at the Mastella, winning five of those. Valencia have been scoring for fun at home, and some may be tempted but he 2/1 on offer from William Hill and Stan James for the OVER 3.5 option, but despite poor form, Lille are tight on their travels, so I would advise against it. Valencia can keep Lille out though and a clean sheet at 2.38 for Valencia is my bet.

BATE Borisov v Bayern Munich

How good were BATE in their first game at Lille. Who would have predicted the convincing win they achieved? Well I didn’t even after tipping them to finish second in this group behind Bayern at 17/2; a price that still sits just above 3/1. Just a point at home against last years finalists would see that contract again, the question being; can they hold the Germans? Odds of 1/3 for Bayern to take the win is too short for me to consider and I shan’t entertain it, although, with a further two wins in the Bundesliga, both home and away, since the win against Valencia you also would not bet against it. I’m in no rush to have a bet in this game and in fact, Group F will pass me by this week

Champions League Group F Bet: Valencia CLEAN SHEET @ 2.38

Champions League GROUP G

 Spartak Moscow v Celtic

I’m sad to say, but if Celtic were going to get any joy in the competition, i think it would have been in their last game at home to Benfica. indeed they did get some joy with a spirited display to keep Benfica out, although they failed to net themselves and got a point in a goalless draw. That point is a point more than tonight’s hosts have after capitulating and unexpected 1-2 lead at Camp Nou against Barcelona before Messi did what Messi does best in getting a match winning brace late on. The bare fact that Spartak forced that reaction from Barcelona does not bode well for Celtic, and couple with the Scottish sides poor form away from home in Europe that has spanned many a year, we can expect nothing less than a win for the hosts. 1.62 the home win is good enough for me

Benfica v Barcelona

Barcelona deployed their much used “get out jail free card” in Messi in the first game at home as mentioned above coming from behind to gain three points against Spartak Moscow and one would have to consider this trip to Portugal a stiffer test. On that basis, whilst many will happily pop Barca into multiple bets at 1.6, I for one, can’t. If anything, I feel this could be a low scoring game and would therefore be tempted by the 2.45 for UNDER 2.5 Goals. Benfica are low scorers at home in this competition, and Barca have drawn a blank in their last two away fixtures in the comp against Milan and Chelsea in last seasons final

Champions League Group G Bet: Spartak Moscow HOME WIN 1pt at 1.62 – Benfica v Barca 1pt UNDER 2.5 @ 2.45

Champions League GROUP H

 CFR Cluj v Manchester United

So Manchester United are left reeling after a 2-3 defeat at home to Tottenham last weekend. Cluj were great winners in Portugal in the first round, but went home to defeat in the following game before getting back to winning ways last time. The win against Sporting Braga was their fifth in a row in the Champions League, taking the qualifiers into account. Many would have considered them the whipping boys of this group, but they will be anything but. Whether they can contain a United side that has just tasted defeat though is another thing. Whilst they may have been out-scored by Spurs at the weekend, in parts, Manchester United looked strong, Rooney and Kagawa look a very dangerous partnership and with Van Persie there as well, the threat comes from all over the place. Cluj will do well to hold the visitors and 3/1 the draw does not tempt me, neither does the 1.67 for an AWAY win. The one thing that was plain for everyone to see at Old Trafford on Saturday was that United are suspect at the back. Cluj got three against Sporting Braga in Potugal and can net again here, whilst Fergusons troops always manage to get one goal on their travels in Europe, even if it’s not a winner. I do see United winning this game, but I also see goals for both sides, 1.83, and perhaps OVER 2.5 at 1.95. I shall take a point on each

Galatasaray v Sporting Braga

Both were defeated in opening games, Galatasaray by a single goal in Manchester, Sporting will be rather less proud of a performances in front of their own fans which saw them go down 0-2 to Cluj. On that form the first instinct is to consider the Turks the bet at home and I am inclined to agree but at odds on, even though Galatasaray are pretty reliable at home in Europe, I’m not getting financially involved. Even across all markets, I just cant find an edge in any of the markets and will leave the game alone

Champions League Group H Bet: CFR Cluj v Manchester United – 1pt BTTS @ 1.83 and 1pt OVER 2.5 @ 1.95

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