A busy night's football as game week 2 of the Champions League returns. Both Tottenham and Leicester are on show on a night which also features Dortmund v Real and Sevilla v Lyon. Join our man as surveys what's on the menu and brings you his picks and tips for a betting feast, including a 300/1 shot that could pay for some Russian Caviar!
(Match kick-offs 7.45pm, unless stated)
Copenhagen and Brugge both started this campaign as the whipping boys of the group and neither has done much to dispel that notion after their first game. Brugge took a battering at Leicester, winding up 3-0 losers, whilst Copenhagen came back from one down to earn a respectable draw away to Porto. Given both team's relative inexperience and understandable nervousness this could be a game littered with errors. However, we don't see a glut of goals, with the home team edging a tight contest.
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Many will look at this game and take red-hot, high-flying Juventus to wipe the floor with their Croatian opponents. However, we're not so sure! After Allegri’s side were held at home against Sevilla, they may fine Zagreb similarly obdurate opponents. It's true they shipped three without reply against Lyon, but Zeljko Sopic's men can play at home, beating Arsenal last year before falling apart in the group stages.
Well, why the caution, you ask? Juventus have failed to win 11 of their last 14 matches away from home in this competition, with less than three goals in eight of their last 11 games on the road, whilst the same can be said of seven of Dinamo's last nine games at home...
All-in-all, a tight game, that could be one by a solitary goal.
Under 2.5 goals >> 6/5
Juventus 0-2 >> 19/4
Monaco enter this game on the back of some great form. Not only did they dispatch high-flying Tottenham 1-2 last time out, but they recently smashed PSG 4-1 in La Ligue. They have only lOst once in their last eleven games and will fancy they chances against anyone at home. Leverkusen also have an eye for goal themselves; scoring twice in succesion against CSKA they promptly let in two in quick succession themselves, a footnote to their season so far. They come into this match on the back of a six-game winless streak in Champions League away games, with four defeats in that number.
And, while we're speaking of numbers, Monaco are unbeaten in four games against Leverkusen, winning three and drawing once. In fact, the germans don't seem to enjoy traveling to France, having only won once in 7 visits, losing 4 and drawing 2.
Given both sides relative form, we can only see this going one way:
Over 2.5 goals and both teams to score >>> 11/10
BTTS and Monaco win >>> 7/2
Monaco to win 3-1 >>> 18/1
Unbeaten in the Premier League, Spurs will want to erase memories of a frustrating defeat to Monaco in their first group game with victory in the Russian capital. However, that's easier said than done. Moscow looked to be heading for a sound beating in their opener against Leverkusen before forgotten Russian dangerman Alan Dzagoev got them back on track for a draw. Gritty and solid, they will be no pushovers, with seven wins out of eight games in the Russian top flight in 2016.
Spurs arrive without Dembele, Rose, Dier, Sissoko and, perhaps most importantly, Harry Kane. Son has taken up the goal-scoring mantle, but the south Korean missed a glorious opporTunity to level against Monaco. Vincent Janssen is yet to set WHL alight, despite his formidable record in the Netherlands.
The Russians have lost only one of their last seven Champions League games on home soil, with some notable scalps amongst that haul. However, Spurs look to have the stronger squad and their high-pressing, quick game could be too much for the ageing Muscovite defence, particularly 37-year-old Sergei Ignashevich, who wont like the pace of Spurs' attack one iota. Add to this the fact that CSKA haven’t kept a clean sheet at home in the #UCL since October 2011 and Spurs to score becomes almost a given...
There is an argument that Spurs will play on the counter, looking to exploit Moscow's lack of pace. If they set up in a cautious fashion then the under 2.5 goals market may appeal (5/1). However, we rather think that Spurs will be on the front foot from the off. Given this, there are a couple of markets that grab our interest:
Remember: We're offering Money Back as cash up to £100 on losing First Goalscorer bets if your selection scores the second goal instead in any Champions League match involving any BRITISH team this week.
Tottenham to win and BTTS (no) >> 3/1
Alan Dzagoev to score anytime >> 17/4
Longshot - Dzagoev to score first and Spurs to win 1-3 >> 300/1
Real Madrid, the defending champions travel to Germany, Signal Iduna Park in fact, to face the might of Borussia Dortmund, where they have yet to win. In fact, Dortmund have won three and drawn two of their five previous home encounters against Los Galacticos and will have no fear of their illustrious opponents. Borussia Dortmund won their fourth match on the bounce as goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lukasz Piszczek and Raphael Guerreiro gave the German club a 3-1 win over Freiburg, but they could be without their star striker Aubameyang for the clash, as he is doubtful with a knee injury. Reus is definitely injured and won't feature for the hosts.
Real have flattered to deceive so far this season, being without key players themselves at times. They drew 2-2 with unfancied Las Palmas last time out, but they remain unbeaten in their last 19 games, a fact that coach Zinedine Zidane will impress on his players tonight. Marcelo and Casemiro (are both sidelined through injury, but Pepe could return for Zinedine's team.
A game that could have everything, this one.
Borussia to win >> 5/4
Borussia to win 2-1>> 8/1
Given the attacking threat of Dortmund, it's likely Zidane will opt for a defensive mindset, hitting Dortmund on the break. If that's the case then the speed of Bale or CR7 could come into play. Real to win to nil is 21/4 - whilst a Bale 1st GS, 1-0 Real win is 55/1 - 1-2 and it drops to 45/1
Dilly Ding... having demolished Club Brugge 0-3 on the road in their very first Champions League game, The King Power will be rocking tonight as the Foxes welcome Porto for the second round of group games. Widely regarded as the toughest team in the group, if Claudio Ranieri's men can record a win here they will be in pole position to qualify from the group, but it won't be easy. Soundly beaten by Man United at the weekend, the wily Italian took off both Vardy and Mahrez at half-time with one eye on this game. Rest assured, regardless of league form, Leicester will be up for this and with Kasper Schmeichel returning between the sticks, should have enough about them to get something from this game.
Porto, for all their respect throughout Europe, don't like England! They have failed to win in sixteen previous visits, with just two draws amongst that record. They drew 1-1 against FC Copenhagen last time out and have failed to win any of their last three Champions League games. However, before Leicester get too confident they would do well to remember that in their last 10 UEFA Champions League games against English sides, Porto have either scored twice or have failed to score at all. Considering the parsiminous Foxes have already conceded four twice this season, they would do well to play to their strengths, remain patient and not let what will be a red-hot atmosphere gee them up too much.
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Sevilla come into this game on the back of a 3-1 loss at Athletic Bilbao at the weekend, their first reversal in La Liga this season. However, anyone looking at that result as a barometer of Los Rojiblancos current form would be wise to reconsider: they have already traveled to Villarreal and Juve and also won their local derby too. Sevilla have all the tools to go deep n this tournament, and their game against Lyon throws up an interesting contest of styles and philospohies.
Lyon can flatter to deceive, their young squad quite capable of swashbuckling performances, then undone with apparent tactical naivety. They beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 in their Champions League bow, but then only gained one point in three away games on the trot in Ligue 1.
What is interesting here is that Sevilla had to wait until the second half before finally putting their last three opponents away at home, whereas Lyon have been level at half-time in their last three away games. For this reason, we'll go for:
HT/FT - Draw/Sevilla >> 100/30
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