Crucial Week of Champions League Games Ahead for EPL Sides

This week sees us reach the third round of matches in the Group Stages of the Champions League and also the Europa League, although for this article, we are going to be focusing on the four English teams competing in the Champions League.

This set of games is the first of two against the same opponents, with teams playing each other home and away over the next two games. At this mid-way point in the competition, picking up six points in these two games can almost ensure qualification to the next round for some, for others, it can put them right back in contention in the group. For teams that pick up 0 or 1 points, it can mean the end of their participation in the tournament and leave them facing a battle to qualify for the Europa League place in third.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham are the teams in action this week from the Premier League and they have had somewhat contrasting fortunes in the tournament so far.

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Champions League Previews and Tips

Group B

Pos Team Ply W D L F A Pts GD
1 Bayern Munich 2 2 0 0 10 2 6 +8
2 Red Star Belgrade 2 1 0 1 3 4 3 -1
3 Tottenham 2 0 1 1 4 9 1 -5
4 Olympiacos 2 0 1 1 3 5 1 -2

Matchday 3 Matches

  • Olympiacos v Bayern Munich (Tue, 8.00pm)
  • Tottenham v Red Star Belgrade (Tue, 8.00pm)

It’s fair to say that Spurs Champions League season has been really poor so far. They threw away a 2-0 lead in Greece against Olympiacos in the first game and were then humiliated at home as Bayern Munich racked up the biggest win against an English club on English soil in UEFA competition with a 7-2 victory over the hapless Spurs.

However, Spurs performed poorly in the opening stage of the group last season and still made it through and to the final, so they won’t believe they are out of things just yet, but they will know that nothing less than a win against Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday night will be enough and in truth, I expect them to get it against a side that does not travel well in Europe. Take Spurs to win this one at 1/4.

Group leaders Bayern travel to Greece to take on Olympiacos and if they can put seven past Spurs on the road, I am confident the German side will keep their 100% record in the group phase intact with a win here. Back Bayern to win at 2/5.

Group C

Pos Team Ply W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 2 2 0 0 5 0 6 +5
2 Dinamo Zagreb 2 1 0 1 4 2 3 +2
3 Shakhtar Donetsk 2 1 0 1 2 4 3 -2
4 Atalanta 2 0 0 2 1 6 0 0

Matchday 3 Matches

  • Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb (Tue, 5.55pm)
  • Manchester City v Atalanta (Tue, 8.00pm)

I expect Manchester City to continue the domination of this group. The Citizens have beaten both Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine and Dinamo Zagreb at home without conceding a goal and against the seeming whipping boys of the group, Atalanta, at home this week, I’d expect City to rack up a fair few goals in another solid win. They are not the best value at 1/5 for the win, but I think a better bet may be the City to win to nil which is a 5/4 option.

The other game in the group between Shakhtar and Zagreb is more interesting in terms of who will likely finish second to City. I do think Donetsk at home will have an advantage and I expect them to earn another solid win here. Back Donetsk for the victory at 8/11.

Group E

Pos Team Ply W D L F A Pts GD
1 Napoli 2 1 1 0 2 0 4 +2
2 Liverpool 2 1 0 1 4 5 3 -1
3 Red Bull Salzburg 2 1 0 1 9 6 3 +3
4 Genk 2 0 1 1 2 6 1 -4

Matchday 3 Matches

  • Genk v Liverpool (Wed, 8pm)
  • Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli (Wed, 8pm)

It’s been something of a rollercoaster for Champions League holders Liverpool in Group E. After losing their opening game 2-0 to Napoli in Naples, they roared into a 3-0 lead at Anfield against Red Bull Salzburg before falling apart and being pegged back to 3-3, only for Mo Salah to grab what could be a vital winner.

Red Bull thumped Genk on the opening night 6-2 and they could be a real factor in the group, especially with Napoli being held on the road by the Belgian side. The Italians still top the group by a point, but now face two crunch games with Salzburg, before an away trip to Anfield to take on Liverpool.

The Reds now face a double-header with Genk and this will be two games that Jurgen Klopp will know his team must win but in fairness, I think they should, although they will need to play better than they did against Manchester United at the weekend.

Back Liverpool to win here at 2/7 and I think Red Bull could well pull off a real shock in the other game in the group, so I am backing Salzburg to win at 8/5.

Group H

Pos Team Ply W D L F A Pts GD
1 Ajax 2 2 0 0 6 0 6 +6
2 Valencia 2 1 0 1 1 3 3 -2
3 Chelsea 2 1 0 1 2 2 3 0
4 Lille 2 0 0 2 1 5 0 -4

Matchday 3 Matches

  • Ajax v Chelsea (Wed, 5.55pm)
  • Lille v Valencia (Wed, 8.00pm)

Group H has proven to be a tough one so far for Chelsea. After losing at home to Valencia on the opening day of games, they then went to France and earned a fine 2-1 win over Lille to put themselves back in contention in the group. However, it is their next two games, away and then at home to Ajax, that could well signal whether they will remain in this competition after Christmas.

Last year’s semi-finalists have started the tournament superbly well with two 3-0 victories ensuring that they remain top of the group. The youngsters in the Dutch side have gelled into a formidable outfit in this tournament over the last two years and they will provide a stern test for Chelsea.

The Blues will also be keeping a close eye on the action in the other group game where they will be hoping for two draws between Lille and Valencia. The worst result for Chelsea here would be a Valencia win, which would mean Chelsea would need to beat Ajax to ensure they remain on the same points as the Spaniard and Dutch teams.

I think Chelsea are good enough to get something from this first game with Ajax on the road, but I can’t see it being a win. Hence I would back the draw here at 5/2 with bet365, and in the Lille v Valencia game, I would also be tempted for the draw at 23/10.

*All odds shown are correct with bet365 as of 11.15 am on Monday 21st October 2019.

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