So whilst the Premier League bounced back from the international break with a bang, we're back going international - in Europe - again with the return of the Champions League. It's got to the stage in the group stages that another win or defeat could prove crucial either way, and in the first batch of two this week, we focus on some of the best matches in gameweek three on Tuesday evening.
Following a sloppy start to proceedings in the Champions League and with Spartak Moscow breathing down their necks, this fixture in Slovenia could well be a tricky tie for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool as they come up against Maribor, managed by ex-Leeds United boss Darko Milanic. Group E is still very open and even though they’re bottom of the group at the moment, the hosts know a win – and third placed Spartak dropping points against Sevilla, will send them into second place.
In terms of form, Liverpool have only one once in their last eight, whilst Maribor have lost only once in their last eight, so both sides come into this one with different confidence levels, to say the least for what will be the first meeting between the two clubs.
What We Sayin’?
It’ll be interesting to see how much was taken out of Liverpool in their draw against Manchester United on Saturday. They have drawn three in a row now in all competitions and we think this one will be another stalemate. A 1-1 scoreline is a 12/1 shot.
This was Manchester City’s first ever Champions League fixture when the Italian side visited the Etihad in 2011 in a 1-1 draw, and six years on the two meet again at the same location, and with both sides top of their domestic leagues. If there is arguably a game of the evening in the competition, then this is it. This will be only the third time these two have met, and after the first game ended a draw in the north-west, the clash in Naples resulted in a win for the Italians.
So this will be the first time Pep Guardiola has some up against Napoli as a manager, meaning the Spanish boss could break another duck on Tuesday night. However, Napoli are no mugs and will head to England armed with a 100% winning Serie A record this term with eight wins from eight and with in form attacking trio Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon, who are expected to cause City problems. This will be a tough game to call.
What We Sayin’?
We’re going with another draw for this one. There will be goals and we’ve a sneaking suspicion of a 2-2 result at 11/1.
This looks an easy win on paper for the visitors, but on the back of their first home defeat in donkey’s years at the weekend, it’ll be pretty interesting to see how Peter Bosz’s side respond in Cyprus in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, but this game is simply a must win for the German outfit following their defeat at Wembley against Tottenham in matchweek one.
They also lost in matchweek two, at home to Real Madrid and with at least one of Real and Tottenham dropping points when they tackle each other on the same night, a win is imperative for BVB to get their Champions League campaign back on track. They’re currently in third and with many expecting Real to top the group, it’s likely Spurs and Dortmund will be battling it out for second. A few goals could come in handy for Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and co.
What We Sayin’?
Andriy Yarmolenko scored a belter against Spurs in the first match of the group and we reckon there’s some value in the Ukrainian being 3/1 to score first on the night.
The top two in Group H battle it out at the Bernabeu as former Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino takes his Tottenham team to Spain to take on the table-toppers. Whilst their La Liga form hasn’t been vintage, their Champions League start – as they bid to once again defend their crown – has begun well, with two wins from their opening two games. Tottenham will be a difficult test though, with England man Harry Kane in fine form and someone whose striking skills can hurt the best. The battle between him and head case Sergio Ramos will be one to watch.
Kane comes into this one in red hot form and with both having the exact same record in Europe so far this term, it’ll be a difficult game to predict. Real rested a few players for their league win at Getafe at the weekend, with the likes of former Spurs man Luka Modric and Isco on the bench and you’d expect both to come into the side on Tuesday.
What We Sayin’?
At home you have to back Madrid, don’t you? Tottenham have never beaten the Galacticos in the four meetings – losing three of them, but this Spurs side is a lot different to the ones of yester-year with youthful vibrancy playing a part in their play nowadays. Either way we’re going to go with a Real Madrid win and BTTS at 6/4.
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