Football | Champions League Preview | Wednesday's Hotpicks

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Football | Champions League Preview | Wednesday's Hotpicks

After yesterday's thrills and spills, we're straight back into the Champions League. Manchester United, Celtic and Chelsea all do battle - don't forget, we're TOP PRICE GUARANTEED on all three British clubs playing tonight - but can the all emerge victoriously? 

Elsewhere, Juventus host Bacelona in what is probably the glamour tie of the evening. Both teams should make it through to the knockout stages, but a win for the Italian giants will see them level at the top of Group D with one game to play - tight!

Join us, then, as we run the rule over our choice of games in our Champions League - Wednesday's Hotpicks, below:      

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CITY  1/9  |  DRAW  9/1  |  FEYENOORD  18/1

Jose's team are really starting to purr, and whilst the Red Devils haven't been at their best on the road, they should have too much for a srangely up-and-down Basel. That said, the Swiss pre-tournament outsiders are sat in second in the group and they hold a decent goal difference advantage over third place CSKA Moscow. IF they can get anything from this game it will set them up nicely for the final group stage game. That's easier said than done, however, with United running out comfortable 3-0 winners a Old Trafford in the reverse fixture. Expect Basel to go at United from the start, however, as they have nothing to lose, and their 5-1 win against Sion at the weekend, their first win in four, will ive them some heart.

United come into this game comfortable favourites. They have scored at least twice in three of their four group games so far and in 12 of their 18 competitive games this season coming from behind to dispatch Newcastle 4-1 at the weekend. Both Zlatan and Pogba feratured in that game, the Frenchman providing two wonderful assists and it remains to be seen if the master tactician decides to meddle with his squad for this one. That said, United should guard aganst being too complacent, having won two, drawn two, and lost one of their five previous meetings with Basel... food for thought, Jose?!

Raphaël Wicky will give late fitness checks to Goalkeeper Germano Vailati and right back Omar Gaber though the prognosis isn't good. Taulant Xhaka will serve a suspension and definitely misses the tie,as does striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel. For the Reds, both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are doubts, whilst it is thought that Michael Carrick might not have the match fitness to feature. As we mentiond above, Zlaan and Pogba are back, so expect the duo t both feature at some stage.   

Possible Starting XIs:

Basel (4-5-1): Vaclik; Lang, Suchy, Akanji, Riveros; Lang; Die, Zuffi, Bua; Elyounossi; Oberlin

Man United (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Rashford

What We Sayin’?

This could be a lot tighter than it may appear on paper. United can qualify with a draw and in Mouriniho they have a manager who does exactly what's required. Pogba and Zlatan are back, and the Frenchman's power in the centre could be a key factor here.

So, that said: a tight game with United doing enough to force the win. United 0-1 and 0-2 pays 11/2 and 7/1 respectively.* 


PARIS SG  1/10  |  DRAW  10/1 |  CELTIC  28/1

No goals against, scoring on average four a game... and already on the wrong side of a 5-0 thumping at Paradise, Celtic, the perennial underdogs now they have their work cut out if they are to get anything at all from this match. Brendan Rodgers' team bestride the SPL like a modern day giant, unbeaten in 65 games and looking unbeatable domestically as well! Unfortunately, they have come up a little light in Europe this term, understandable when the team they face twice broke the world record when buying superstars this summer. Neymar and Mbappe would walk int most teams in world football, and Celtic will do well keeping those quiet for the night.  

Celtic will be hoping they can keep it tight and that the French side have an off-day plausible given the fact that they have already qualified. A point will go a huge way to ensuring the Bhoys make the Europa League, especially with Anderlecht breathing over their shoulder.

PSG will be without midfielder Thiago Motta, whilst Lucas Moura, the subject of much speculation regarding his own future is not included in the squad. Neymar, despite reported issues with the coach, is expected to retain his place in the side. Defender Anthony Ralston is out, but Celtic welcome back Tom Rogic and defender Jozo Simunovic.    

Possible Starting XIs:

Paris SGAreola; Kurzawa, Silva, Marquinhos, Alves; Pastore, Verratti, Rabiot; Neymar, Cavani, Mbappe

Celtic: Gordon; Forrest, Lustig, Boyata, Bitton, Tierney; McGregor, Brown, Armstrong, Sinclair; Dembele  

What We Sayin’?

The romantic in me wants to see Celtic hold out for another fantastic European night. Unfortunately, when you're as grizzled and world-weary as me you know that Madame Chance often teases, promising the world before flouncing off like the apparition she is. Unfortunately, we can see the Bhoys performing a similar stunt, perhaps keeping Paris at bay for 10-15 minutes before the inevitable onslaught begins. It pains me to say, but the French superstars could eclipse the 5-0 drubbing they dished out last time. Paris SG to win 6-0 or 7-0 is 20/1 and 28/1 respectively. Neymar is 2/1 to grab the first, whilst Mbape is 5/2.*          


JUVENTUS  2/1  |  DRAW  23/10  |  BARCELONA  7/5

First plays second in a group that is relatively sewn-up. Barca sit on 10 points, Juve on seven, and whilst it is possible Sporting could nip Juve to second place with two wins and no points to Juve, it's extremely unlikely they will. The hosts were well beaten in the reverse fixture and slipped up against Sampdoria on Sunday, losing 2-1 in a game many thought was a must win if they are to fight for the title once more. It's early doors, of course, but the Old Lady's grasp on the Scudetto seems to be slipping! Last year's beaten finalists would love to give their home support something to cheer about, but it remains just how hard both teams go for the win when, say, after 60/70 mins it remains even... a point would do both nicely!

Barca top La Liga with 34 points from a possible 36, four points clear of second-placed Valencia. However, the Catalan giants have flattered to deceive on occasion, seemingly saving their better displays for the Champions League. Indeed, their 3-0 beating of Juventus was probably their best display of the season and will certainly give Juve something to think about! Ernesto Valverde will want to cement first place, especially given the strength of teams topping their groups - whether or not the Blaugrana go all out to secure that spot tonight remains to be seen!

Everyone's favourite Italian, the legend Gigi Buffon returns t the side after sitting out the Sampdoria loss due to 'World Cup Heartache'. The veteran stopper's return is a timely one, given the strength of Barca's attacking line-up. Andrea Barzagli and Alex Sandro were rested at the weekend and could both feature, whilst Douglas Costa's strength may be an option for Massimiliano Allegri. Barca will 'prolly start Gerard Pique, who is suspended for the weekend game against second-placed Valencia. Arda Turan, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé, Javier Mascherano and André Gomes all remain sidelined for Barca.

Possible Starting XIs:

JUVENTUS: (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Blaise Matuidi, Miralem Pjanic; Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic; Gonzalo Higuain

BARCELONA: (4-4-2): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Paulinho, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez

What We Sayin’?

There is enough firepower on show to ensure world peace ten times over. Everywhere you look there's a goal threat. However, as we mentioned above, we can see this one being a low-scoring, both sides settling for the point.

Dybala loves the big matches and we are strangely drawn to the 7/2 for him to net first. BTTS and under 2.5 goals is 13/10, whilst 1-1 is 5/1. All of which are going in the notebook for tonight's game - you?!*       


StanJames' Knee-Trembling Treble!

If you fancy it, £10 on three of our correct score predictions, United to win 0-2, Paris SG to win 7-0 and a 1-1 in the Juve/Barca match currently returns a staggering £13,920! Stranger things have happened...!  


*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check for up to date prices.

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