The Champions League makes a welcome return to our screens this week and we've picked out some belting group stages clashes to take place on Tuesday evening as we go through our hotpicks with a fine toothcomb to pick apart the best bets...
Manchester City have been in ruthless form in the league this term, sitting top of the table in the Premier League and in Group F having smashed Feyenoord in matchweek. However, opponents Shakhtar showed they can upset the odds with their surprise win against Napoli, so they won’t be pushovers at the Etihad on Tuesday evening.
Whilst they may have lost their main stars from yester-year, with the likes of Willian, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Douglas Costa, current City man Fernandinho and Alex Teixeira, but they still have dangerous players in their ranks – most notably Marlos and Bernard, their Brazilian duo.
What We Sayin’?
These two have never met before, so we can’t look at the historical statistics, but we fancy City to be too strong for their Ukrainian opponents, and a 3-1 home win at 13/2 would be our selection.
Elsewhere in Group F, Napoli know they have work to do to keep ground with the top two after their shock defeat last week against Shakhtar and a tie against Dutch side Feyenoord – who were thumped in their opener – should be pretty routine for the Italian side who sit top of Serie A with six wins from six games and the most goals scored in the Italian top flight.
Feyenoord have had something of a shaky start to their Eredivisie title defence and have lost two of their opening six games over in Holland. This will be the first ever fixture between the sides and we expect Napoli will bounce back and get the three points on the board on Tuesday, which will certainly get them back on track. The likes of Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne in attack will be too much for the Dutch outfit.
What We Sayin’?
With four goals in his last three games, we’re behind Dries Mertens to continue his scoring streak by bagging first at 9/5.
Monaco surprised everyone in the Champions League last term with their fantastic efforts, and have had a solid start to the group stages, sitting just behind leaders Besiktas in Group G and appear to have gotten over the departures of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Kylian Mbappe to make a strong start to Ligue 1, too.
This will be the first competitive fixture between the pair in 13 years, with Monaco hosting the Portuguese side way back in 2004 and getting well beaten, 0-3. However, we have a feeling that things may be different this time around, with the French outfit in fine form and once again finding goals pretty easy to come by.
What We Sayin’?
We’re going with a long shot of Fabinho – a likely candidate to take a penalty – to score first in a 3-1 Monaco victory at 90/1.
Things haven’t quite got to ‘must-win’ stage for Dortmund just yet, but following their defeat at Wembley in matchweek one of this competition, they’ll be hopeful of picking up at least a point on home turf against current holders Real Madrid – they couldn’t have picked a sterner test for their recovery.
However, Madrid haven’t been at their fluid best domestically just yet, already dropping seven points from their opening six outings and sitting seven points of table-topping Barcelona. A win for Zinedine Zidane’s side in the opening Champions League game against APOEL was expected, and following Dani Ceballos’ two goal haul to win the game for Real at Alaves at the weekend, Zizou may well hand another start to the former Real Betis playmaker.
What We Sayin’?
Madrid haven’t beaten the Germans in the last three meetings, with the last two being draws. They’ve also never won a competitive fixture at Dortmund in their five trips, which will be concerning for Zidane, and is why we’re opting for a 2-2 scoreline on Tuesday evening at 13/2.
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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