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The UEFA Champions League is one of the premier football tournaments in the world and the main draw begins with the first round proper, pitting 32 teams through 6 games in the group stages; where the top 2 from each group then progress to the next stage.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Manchester City & Over 2.5 goals v Borussia Monchengladbach @ 1.85 (888Sport) – 2.5 points
Manchester City come into this game in the Champions League fresh after a solid victory against Manchester United and will welcome their German opponents with confidence running through their system. City looked a real threat on the weekend with the new Pep system of slick passing, possession play and counter attacking football. And they did all that without Sergio Aguero, who was serving a suspension, and now will be looking forward to taking back his spot up top the offence. Key for Manchester City will be Kevin De Bruyne whose creative ability will showcase on the Pep system and the style of play that they want to have. City defensively have looked shaky especially when they face quality opposition with Bravo giving us glimpses on the potential mistakes, that he can make; you can’t be surprised to see a goal conceded from them.
Monchengladbach come into this game on a good stream of form and competitive football behind them with 5 matches been played since 16th of August. Gladbach have been in great scoring form 13 goals in those 5 games led primarily by Thogan Hazard, Raffael and Hahn. The three of them have netted 10 out of the 13 goals scored so far, and will be aiming for more as the season continued. Gladbach defensively have looked quite shaky conceding in all 5 competitive games that they have played including conceding 3 in a loss to Freiburg on the weekend ahead of this game.
Both teams look to be in decent nick coming into this encounter, and but the Man City home crowd should help them push on for a victory. I am backing a Manchester City win and over 2.5 goals; which would have landed in both legs of this encounter during last years’ first round games.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Dynamo Kiev v Napoli – Over 2,2.5 Asian Goal Line @ 1.88 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Dynamo Kiev have been off to a great start this season as they have won 5, drawn 1 and lost 1 of their last 7 games on the Ukranian Premier League which takes them to 2nd in their domestic division behind Shakhtar Donetsk. Dynamo have got their scoring form off to a cracker netting in every game bar a 2-0 loss against Vorskla just before the international break. Junior Moraes, Dennis Harmash and Andriy Yarmolenko have been leading the offensive line, that has seen them progress well so far this campaign. Defensively Kiev have been struggling conceding in 6 out of the 8 games played so far this campaign including twice against a quality side like Donetsk, that will not hold in good stead for them against a strong Napoli outfit.
Napoli come into this encounter with some great form behind them, netting in every single game that they have played this season with an average of 3 goals per game to kick the season off. Milik, Martens and Callejon have gotten off their scoring to a great start while Hamsik has been the creative force from midfield. Their offensive unit has some great talent off the bench who can help including Gabbiadini, Rog, Insigne, Giaccherini. They conceded 4 goals in the 3 games played so far, and will continue to miss Vlad Churches from partnering Albiol at the heart of the defence. Pepe Reina has shown over the last few years to be a liability in goal, and despite keeping a clean sheet at the weekend, is always susceptible to have a goal past him.
This game will be an entertaining one especially since it comes in a group including Benfica and Besiktas where anybody can win this game. I am backing both teams to possibly enjoy a good scoring game, so I am backing Over 2,2.5 Asian Goal Line.
Paris St Germain start another season in the Champions League aiming to win this competition and for that they have got European specialist manager in Unai Emery. Emery has established a squad with a strong midfield to be able to run against most of opposition. With Matuidi, Motta and Veratti in the holding midfield role and with Di Maria and Ben Arfa on the wings to support Cavani; the team looks to be a strong offensive unit, capable of delivering goals from anywhere on the pitch. Defensively however, PSG have shown liabilities where they lost 3-1 to Monaco as well as drew 1-1 over their last 2 game weeks. The injury suffered to Thiago Silva and the sale of David Luiz will result in Marquinhos being the senior defender at centre half; which leaves them vulnerable at the back.
Arsenal have grabbed their first 6 points over the last 2 game weeks; and that has enabled them to deliver 6 points. The challenge for Arsenal has been keeping it tight at the back. Despite signing up Mustafi, they still conceded at the back with Koscileny, Bellerin and Montreal at the back. Koscielny has an eye injury, meaning he could be absent for this encounter. The defensive midfield cover of Xhaka and Cazorla like to play further up front than they need, and that results in open spaces for opposition attacks to look into. In the attacking sense, they have a rejuvenated Alexis Sanchez who is well rested after his Copa America exploits; while Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil have been creating opportunities for their team mates to find the back of the net. The only decision will be whether to get Giroud up front or new signing Perez.
PSG and Arsenal will be looking to grab their first points from this encounter of this group as they are the 2 favourites of the group. Both teams look good attacking for goals and struggling to keep them clean, so I am backing both teams to score.