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. Bottom of the group Benfica stand in United’s way of possibly making it nine points from a possible nine and extending their lead at the top of Group A, but with the Portuguese side losing to CSKA Moscow and Basel already, we can’t see too many problems for a United side who probably won’t be parking the bus this time around, unlike at the weekend against Liverpool.
Jose Mourinho goes back to his homeland for a re-run of the 1968 European Cup Final and Nemanja Matic heads back to familiar territory having spent a couple of years playing for Benfica prior to his move to Chelsea, and United have a great record against them, losing just one of their nine meetings and winning six of them. Ex-United flop Bebe is likely to play a part, which tells you that the visitors should be triumphant in Portugal’s capital.
What We Sayin’?
We’re going for United to win this one, but we also fancy Jose Mourinho to mix it up and make changes and at 11/2 to score first, we fancy Anthony Martial to be FGS on Wednesday night.
Last season saw Celtic mauled in Barcelona in the group stages of this competition and this time around they face another tough test as they make the trip to Germany to take on a revitalised Bayern Munich under Jupp Heynckes, who’s back for his fourth stint as Bayern boss, the latest time has him taking over from Carlo Ancelotti, who was given the boot after defeat to Paris SG.
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. 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.
What We Sayin’?
At home you simply have to back Bayern for this one. We fancy a big win for the Bavarians and a 16/1 5-1 win is a tempting one…
Arguably game of the night, in our book, the pressure is on Chelsea to get a result at home to Roma following a surprise defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday as the club from Italy’s capital make the trip to Stamford Bridge. 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 sixth meetings between the pair, with Roma winning the last one back in 2008, but Chelsea winning both games at Stamford Bridge against the same opponents.
Roma have done okay in Serie A so far and seem to have got over the departure of talisman Mo Salah and know a point – at least – will keep them at arm’s length, with Atleti facing Qarabag on the same evening, but it will be tough against a Chelsea side who have won two from two in the Champions League so far and showed their mettle last time out against Atletico away.
What We Sayin’?
Chelsea could well be boosted by the return of Alvaro Morata but we expect him to take his place on the bench rather than be thrown in from the start. Edin Dzeko will be a handful for the hosts but it’s worth noting that the big Bosnian hasn’t scored against the Blues in nine games against them. Anyway, a 2-0 home win with Eden Hazard scoring first would be our selection at 30/1.
Juve’s unbelievable home record was ended by Lazio at the weekend and they’re back on the same turf on Wednesday evening as Sporting Lisbon visit Turin in this second vs. third battle in Group D. It’s a win and a defeat for the Italian outfit so far from their two games played and with Barcelona leading the way with six points and a game against Olympiakos on the same evening, this clash could prove critical regarding who goes through and who heads out of the competition.
Last season’s finalists will be aiming to go one step further this time around, but considering Sporting lost only 1-0 to Barca last time out and sit second in their domestic division, confidence will be pretty high in the camp under Jorge Jesus. The hosts Juve are already five points off leaders Napoli in Serie A and the pressure is certainly on the Old Lady to put on a positive display and get the win they need.
What We Sayin’?
One swallow doesn’t make a summer is the saying, and one home defeat doesn’t mean a load more will tumble for Juventus. You have to fancy them to get the job done in style. A scorecast pick of Paulo Dybala to score first in a 3-0 win is an 18/1 shot.
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
Previous FOOTBALL articles
Bored waiting for kick off? Why not give our Football Star slot a go? This exciting 5 Reel, 243 line Slot with Rolling Reels, Stacked Wilds and Free Spins has a RTP 96.42% and is just like playing yourself! He shoots, he scores!
So what are you waiting for? Line-up the shot, take aim and let fly at the most fun-filled slot around!
StanJames - All rights reserved. "STANJAMES" is a registered trademark. Stanjames is not affiliated or connected with sports teams, event organisers or players displayed in its website(s). StanJames does not claim any intellectual property rights relating to any names or images which are used strictly within the meaning of the betting activity.