The UEFA Champions League kicks off this mid-week and we hope to add this mid-week football excitement to our calendars to keep us entertained every eek.
UEFA Champions League
Man Utd v Wolfsburg – Over 2.5 goals @ 1.80 (888Sport) – 2.5 points
Manchester United host Wolfsburg in this critical game for them where nothing but victory will do, because that would see them languishing towards the bottom of the table in this group. Manchester United will feel that form is on their side after 3 straight wins post the PSV loss. They beat Southampton, Ipswich Town and Sunderland while scoring 3 goals in each of the games in the process.
The Manchester United attacking lineup has a settled look to it with Martial, Rooney, Mata and Memphis all lined up to take the attack to the oppositions and showed that while coming back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Southampton by a score of 3-2. Martial in particular has been in hot form, finding the net with 3 goals in 3 games since that Champions League outing, and he will be looking forward to having another good run out tonight. Defensively, United will probably welcome back Phil Jones to partner Smalling at centre half and this could lead to some confusion in the partnership that might lead a good counter-attacking side in Wolfsburg take opportunities to score
Wolfsburg are sitting in 4th spot in the league table this time around, but will be looking confident as their team settles down after some transfers in and out of the side. On most nights, like tonight, Wolfsburg will lineup with a front 4 of Bast Dost, Draxler, Caliguiri and Schurrle which is good counter attacking side for European style of football. While they have only scored 11 goals in 8 games so far, they have also managed to ensure that they concede 8 goals in 8 games, especially one where they got smashed by 5 goals against Bayern Munich, after being 1-0 up at half time before the Lewandowski show. Wolfsburg have shown in patches that they are prone to leaks on the defence, but their objective looks to be to out-score opponents, and I elect this style will continue in to tonight’s game.
When these 2 sides met in 2009 in the Champions League; both games landed over 2.5 goals and I expect much of the same tonight, not because of the past, but because both teams need goals to try and secure the win tonight.
PSG to beat Shakhtar Donetsk @ 1.93 (888Sport) – 2.5 points
PSG come into this game with some superb form behind them, not losing a single game this season in all competitions, and will want to continue this run of form in this competition as well. They started out their first game with a superb performance beating Malmo by 2-0 and won 2 and drawn 1 of their next 3 games since then.
PSG form has largely been due to the great attacking instinct showed by Man Utd outcast Angel Di Maria who has scored 2 goals and given 3 assists in Ligue 1 alone, while also netting a goal in their opening Champions League encounter. Edinson Cavani has been the other form player, netting 7 goals all campaign so far, and will be aiming to continue to replicate that form tonight as well. Zlatan score when Zlatan wants to score, and after struggling in the first few weeks of the season, he score 2 goals in the space of 4 days to get back to some rhythm ahead of this crucial tie in Ukraine.
Shakhtar had a game to forget in their opening encounter against Real Madrid as they were 1-0 getting into half time, and after a sending off, the flood gates had opened for Madrid. Shakhtar then showed off their anger if they say by scoring 10 goals in their last 3 games after that loss. While it would be difficult to consider those results as extremely positive as they were against weaker oppositions, it should bode some confidence for the team ahead of this encounter tonight. Since Donetsk is unsafe at this point, they continue to play their home games across Ukraine in safer sites like Lviv tonight. Shakhtar’s defensive frailties is what generally lands them in trouble, as they have a great attacking side with the likes of Eduardo, Bernard, Texeira, Fred, Taison and the ever youthful right back Dario Srna.
This will be a truly entertaining game for the neutrals, but I see the Paris outfit just edging this game to a slightly better quality lineup as compared to their opponents.