It’s BACCKK! The greatest club competition in the world -the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE– is back with the GROUP Stage of the competition kicking off on Tuesday/Wednesday night to get us all back hooked on to mid-week football.
UEFA Champions League
Arsenal AH-1.5 to beat Anderlecht @ 2.00 (Betfair) – 2.5 points
Arsenal have slowly got their groove back now by winning 3 straight games, including a late turn around after being 1-0 down against this same Anderlecht side to win 2-1. The Gunners have got some confidence back in their game after a 2-0 and 3-0 victory in the Premier League since with Alexis Sanchez in particular scoring 4 out of those 5 goals.
Arsenal today should continue to have their inexperienced defensive lineup, who have garnered 2 clean sheets in a row. The form of Welbeck in this competition cannot be ignored as well score 3 goals and is joint 3rd highest score in the Champions League this campaign. Arsenal should welcome back Theo Walcott into the starting lineup and Wojciech Szczesny should also return from suspension.
Anderlecht have been struggling off late as they have not been able to win even on their home floor. What compounds their issues is they have gone winless in 11 straight matches in this competition, which is surely a downer on confidence for any team. They have generally been extremely poor on the road in the Champions League, often leading to smash jobs so far; but they managed to steal a draw against a relatively weak squad in Galarasaray.
Arsenal should be too strong for Anderlecht and a win today should as good as seal their progress to the next round.
Real Madrid AH-1.5 to beat Liverpool @ 1.67 (MarathonBet) – 4 points
Real Madrid v Liverpool – Over 1.5 FH goals @ 1.93 (Betfair) – 2 points
Benzema to score and Real Madrid to win @ 2.05 (888Sport) – 2 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
Real Madrid are in spanking form, beating everyone in sight so far this campaign in La Liga and have now smashed 3 goals in their last 6 games in a row, and will be looking for a similar kind of performance with the up-coming exciting encounter in the Champions League coming against Liverpool. Real have scored 4,3,3,5,5,4 in their last 6 games and Ronaldo has netted in each game that he has played this campaign; and will be aiming to continue this performance as he will look to create a new record for himself.
Liverpool on the other hand have been extremely bad on the defensive end and the partnership between Skrtel, Loveren and Mignolet have been pretty bad as they have continuously leaked goals and none more worse defeat than a 1-0 loss to Newcastle on the weekend. Since their 3-0 mauling they didn’t win a single Premier League and just managed to luckily sneak a win in the Capital One Cup in mid-week. Most of their players have now coming into their 4th game in a 12 day span; and will be exhausted, so this could easily be a mauling.
Benfica to beat Monaco @ 1.90 (Betfair) – 2.5 points
Benfica need to step up the motions as they currently sit in last spot in their Champions League group; and today in front of their home fans could be the ideal opportunity to start the run in this must win game or else they are out of this competition.
What is surprising is they take on an opponent who has scored just 1 goal and jumped to 2nd spot already in this group in Monaco. The last meeting between Monaco and them landed up with a 0-0, and there was hope that Benfica could score. Benfica will need some of their big guns Gaitan, Lima, Salvio and Talisca all to step up on the scoring front. On the defensive end Luisao and Jardel need to be quite alert along with experienced keeper Julio Cesar.
Monaco on the other hand have managed to sneak in a lot of 1-0 victories recently, showing their inability to find the net, and just sneak some wins in. Nabil Dirar (calf), Dimitar Berbatov (groin) and Borja Lopez (knee) are all set to miss out for Monaco in this game, and those are some players they will miss. They will have Coutinho available, but he will be playing a little watchfully after just recovering from an injury.
Benfica will count on all of their 37,000+ fans to get behind them to spur them on to victory, and this game will be extremely tight, and I expect just 1 goal to seperate these 2 teams in all probability.