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.
Another Champions League campaign and another comfortable draw for Manchester United. Some would say the big wigs at UEFA warm their ball up to ensure easy progression, but not us. Top plays bottom in Group A as pointless Benfica travel to Old Trafford. With the Portuguese side losing to CSKA Moscow, Basel and United having beaten the Portuguese side already, we can’t see too many problems for a United side who probably won’t be parking the bus this time around, and will be in confident mood following their weekend win over Tottenham Hotspur.
This one’s a re-run of the 1968 European Cup Final and United have a great record against them, losing just one of their ten meetings and winning seven of them. Ex-United flop Bebe is likely to play a part, which tells you that the hosts should be absolutely fine on home turf on Tuesday evening. Jose Mourinho may opt to rotate his side in midweek and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Anthony Martial start for the home side following his impressive match-winning display from the bench at the weekend.
What We Sayin’?
A comfortable night for United for us, and it really wouldn’t be surprised if Mourinho’s men nab a few goals on home turf on Tuesday night. They’ll probably keep a clean sheet, too, on their way to making it 12 points from a possible 12.
These sides have only met twice, with Bayern winning one and drawing one against the Scottish side and have a man in deadly form with Robert Lewandowski currently on 13 goals in 12 games played so far. Jupp Heynckes was in charge when Bayern won the Champions League in 2013 and will be aiming to get a big win in his first European tie back in the Munich dugout. He’ll be without Manuel Neuer and Franck Ribery who are long term absentees, whilst opposite number Brendan Rodgers will have Scott Brown and Jozo Simunovic with knee injuries.
Bayern won 3-0 against the same opponents last time out, but at Celtic Park, the Hoops have shown they can mix it with the best at their atmospheric stadium. Bayern have picked up since Heynckes’ return and find themselves at the top of the Bundesliga, taking advantage of rivals Borussia Dortmund’s poor form in recent weeks. Celtic will be boosted with news that Robert Lewandowski is out, as is Thomas Muller, but the hosts themselves will be without one of their better players with Patrick Roberts picking up a hamstring strain a few days ago.
What We Sayin’?
The absence of Lewandowski will be a blow for Bayern, but we still think they’ll have enough to get by. A narrow victory could well be on the cards in Glasgow, but this is a great opportunity for Celtic to put the pressure on Tuesday’s opponents with a win.
ROMA 8/5 DRAW 13/5 CHELSEA 9/5
Arguably game of the night, in our book, the last meeting at Stamford Bridge in matchday three was a fantastic bout and we expect more of the same for Chelsea’s trip to the Stadio Olimpico. A win for either side who sit in the top two of Group C – or the Group of Death considering Atletico Madrid are also in it – could be crucial. This will only be the seventh meeting between the pair, with Chelsea winning the last one a couple of weeks ago.
Roma could well be without a couple of key men on Tuesday with defenders Kostas Manolas, Bruno Peres and Rick Karsdorp likely to be missing, whilst striker Gregoire Defrel is a doubt. Edin Dzeko scored a couple at Stamford Bridge the other week and he’s likely to be leading the line in the Italian capital. For Chelsea, N’Golo Kante is touch and go, with Antonio Conte reportedly leaving it up to the Frenchman to decide whether he’s fit enough to play a part or not.
What We Sayin’?
We fancy Roma for this one. The group isn’t Chelsea’s just yet but they do lead the way. With Atleti surprisingly drawing with Qarabag last time out both sides have a bit of breathing space, but on home turf and the crowd behind them, we fancy a narrow home victory.
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