Tag Archive | "Champions League betting"

Villarreal vs. Manchester City Preview, Picks, Tips, & Analysis 11/2/11

We always knew that Group A was going to be one of the toughest groups in the Champions League group stage schedule this year. However, we didn’t know just how difficult this group was really going to be. On Wednesday, we might be facing a bit of a de facto elimination battle between Villarreal and Manchester City, as these two teams are trying to get out of the gutter in Group A.

For Man City, a 1-1-1 start to the Champions League slate was unimaginable. The team has been just so insanely efficient in the Premier League, it isn’t even funny. It went on the road and absolutely thrashed Manchester United at Old Trafford, a feat that is never easily accomplished, and it has scored 36 goals in 10 fixtures in domestically as well. The Citizens are 9-1-0 and have a +28 goal differential, and they really are off to one of the best starts that a team has ever had in this league.

It’s clear that there are just riches and riches of talent on this team. Sergio Aguero has nine goals this year, as does Edin Dzeko. Mario Balotelli has five strikes, while David Silva has three. That doesn’t even include the power of Carlos Tevez, whose antics have seen him essentially jettisoned from the squad. Perhaps getting the Tevez drama over and done with after losing at Bayern Munich earlier in the Champions League will be just what the doctor has ordered for the Citizens if they hope to get out of Group A this year.

It’s tough to say that Villarreal really needs to get three points out of this fixture, but that unfortunately, really is the case. The team is in the gutter, and it is going to be a decided underdog in this fixture, and without any real freebee matches to come, the team can’t afford to sit here at the bottom for very long.

The truth of the matter is that the faster this team gets out of European competitions, the quicker that it can focus on La Liga. This year has been a certified disaster for the Spanish side, going 2-4-4 in its first 10 matches. Before Saturday’s win against Rayo at home, the team had lost back to back matches by 3-0 counts.

In the second of those matches against Real Madrid, the team’s top striker, Giuseppe Rossi was knocked out with an ACL injury that could cause him to miss the rest of the year. He certainly won’t be around in this match and likely will not be on the bench for support either. Without Rossi, who already has three goals domestically this year and netted two just to get the team into the Champions League this year, there is a real void that Villarreal just will not be able to fill.

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These two teams met on October 18th on English soil, a match that nearly ended in disaster for the hosts. They were behind 1-0 just four minutes in, and it took an Aguero goal in the 90th minute just to pick up the three points in that crucial tie.

Villarreal doesn’t have a point yet in the Champions League, and a loss parlayed with a win for Napoli over Bayern Munich ensures that its European campaign is finished. Even a win will still keep it in last place, though at least qualification is fathomable at that point.

For Man City, a win will most likely boost it back into the qualifying territory for the UCL knockout rounds. It is currently one point back of Napoli and three behind Bayern Munich. Goal differential could be key as well, as the Citizens are currently at a -1, and even a one goal victory could still leave them on some tenuous ground going forward for the rest of this competition.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

Champions League Predictions – KRC Genk vs. Chelsea FC Picks 11/1/11

Chelsea Football Club has a chance to lock up its place in the second round of the Champions League if it can take all three points against KRC Genk when the two duke it out at Cristal Arena on Tuesday night.

It has been a frustrating season thus far for Racing Genk. The Belgian representatives from last year are stuck in the middle of their table domestically, as they are in sixth position through a dozen fixtures and look nothing like contenders for European competition once again this year. They are also seven points back of league leaders, Anderlecht, and they are three points back of being in Europa Cup qualifying for next season.

That being said, it has been a very, very frustrating European campaign as well. The team just barely survived getting into this competition against Partizan Belgrade (3-2 on aggregate) and Maccabi Haifa (3-3 on aggregate, winning in penalty kicks). Things started off well with a scoreless draw against Valencia, which had to make hopes high for at least a shot at survival in this tournament.

Unfortunately, then reality set in for the Belgian side, going on the road and getting smashed by both Bayer Leverkusen and Chelsea by the aggregate of 7-0.

Through three matches thus far on the Champions League group stages, only Genk and Dinamo Zagreb have yet to register a goal. That being said, Genk can still drop into the Europa League with a win somewhere along the way, as Valencia in third place in the group, only has two points to show for its work thus far.

And then there’s Chelsea, which really has very little doubt about being a superior side in this group. The Blues are going to cram in this match on Tuesday just three days after getting ripped 5-3 by Arsenal in front of its hometown crowd at Stamford Bridge, a match which surely didn’t sit well with the hosts.

Needless to say, there could be some anger taken out in this game at Cristal Arena. The Blues outshot Genk 27-5 on the day in the team’s first fixture on English soil, and in terms of shots on net, the tally was 12-0. Fernando Torres struck twice, and he was one of the four different goal scorers in the 5-0 romp that, quite frankly, could have been significantly worse.

Chelsea could be resting some regulars, just as it did in that match a few weeks back against Genk. Much maligned John Terry, the team’s captain, could be one of the players that is given the night off before the team’s trip to Ewood Park this weekend to take on Blackburn.

The Blues will eliminate Genk from the Champions League if they can take three points from this match on the road if Bayer Leverkusen knocks off Valencia as well. Anything less still at least leaves Genk mathematically alive, though we know in all practicality, the team is just hoping for a drop into the Europa League. Chelsea gets into the second round with a win parlayed with a Valencia loss mathematically, and effectively gets in with a win parlayed with a Valencia draw.

Regardless of any other results, the Blues know if they can take four points from these last three fixtures, that they will be in the second round of this tournament, a feat that shouldn’t be that hard for a superior team that struck eight goals in its first three matches to snare seven points.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

Champions League Predictions – Valencia vs. Chelsea FC Picks

The Mestalla is going to be the venue for Wednesday’s Champions League schedule, as Spanish giants Valencia take on the usual English suspects, Chelsea FC in a crucial Group E tilt that could help determine whether either of these sides is going to end up as a real competitor for the Champions League crown this year.

This is a huge match for a Valencia side which has gotten off to a respectable start this year in La Liga. No, it isn’t a club that is going to keep pace with Barcelona and Real Madrid this season, but there is no reason to not have another shot at the Champions League in 2012-13. This is a very, very talented side with a lot to look forward to, and even though this is a tough Group E, failure to progress would be considered a major disappointment.

Roberto Soldado has been the hero for this team this year, netting five goals to help Valencia to a 3-1-1 mark. The team’s first loss came just this past weekend on the road at Sevilla, a 1-0 loss that the team would love to have back.

Amongst the proud achievements for this Spanish side this year have been a 1-0 win at home against Atletico Madrid and a 2-2 draw against Barcelona after falling behind 2-0.

That being said, times are still not quite right at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues haven’t played the role of their normally dominating selves this year in the EPL. They have a lifeless draw at Stoke City to their resume, and a bad 3-1 loss at Manchester United in which the team really proved that it doesn’t have the chops to stick with the defending Premier League champions.

The good news is that Chelsea is coming off of a 4-1 win against Swansea City in which it truly put forth a superb, comprehensive victory. The bad news is that long time Blues player, Frank Lampard literally walked off of the bench area and back into the tunnel after not being used as a substitute in the game against the Swans. There is a real doubt as to whether or not Lampard will be making the trip with the team to Spain, and even if he does, whether he will get the nod in the starting 11 or whether he’ll even be on the bench with the squad.

Valencia played to a lifeless draw against Racing Genk in its first Champions League fixture of the year. Chelsea put forth a significantly better result, beating its old mate, Michael Ballack and Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

Man U Soccer – Manchester United vs. FC Basel Predictions

Our Group C Champions League picks continue this week with a fantastic clash between two powers with a chance to make some real noise in the UCL. Manchester United will welcome FC Basel to Old Trafford in search of its first win on the European campaign in 2011.

The Red Devils were held on the road at Benfica in their first chance at three points in the Champions League, but Manager Sir Alex Fergusson isn’t going to be overly worried about that whole ordeal. Should Man U not end up cashing in on this home fixture and only have either one or two points through two matches, then there will be some cause for concern.

Over the weekend, Manchester United’s 1-0 lead at Stoke City went by the wayside when long time Premier League vet, Peter Crouch equalized for a 1-1 draw. It was the first match this year in which United didn’t pick up all three points, but the team still sits atop the Premier League table in spite of the mediocre result at Britannia Stadium.

Still, Manchester United’s offense has been fantastic this season, all the way from the first fixtures of the preseason in the World Football Challenge. The team has scored at least two goals in 11 of its 13 fixtures, with the only two duds being the 1-1 draw at Stoke and the 1-1 draw at Benfica. Thus far at home on the campaign, the Old Trafford faithful have seen a whopping 14 goals light up the scoreboard in just three fixtures.

Basel has come through a tough start to the season to make it to this point, but Alexander Frei and company are going to hope to pull off a bit of a miracle on the road on English soil this week.

The Swiss side has struggled just a tad domestically, as it is in fourth position on the table through 10 matches, though it does have the second best goal differential in the league at +10. This is most certainly out of character for a team that has truly dominated in this country over the past several years, and this is clearly the best chance that any team has in Switzerland of making some noise in the Champions League.

An opening match in the Champions League was a bit questionable against the newcomers in this tournament, the Romanian side Otelul Galati. Frei needed an 84th minute penalty to take down this fixture and to secure three points that would have been disastrous to lose. That being said, Basel only had six shots, four of which hit the target, numbers which paled in comparison to those of the Romanian new boys.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

Barcelona vs. AC Milan Predictions: Champions League Preview

Barcelona might be able to wrap up Group H before things really ever get started by beating the Champions League odds on Tuesday in a nationally televised duel against AC Milan.

The UCL Cup holders come into this one as the overwhelming +195 favorites to repeat as champs this year. To make life even easier, there is no way that Barca should be dropping even a point in four matches against BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen, and three points in this fixture against the Rossoneri should be good enough to ensure getting into the knockout rounds as the Group H champs.

We have to remember that this is going to be a showcase game at Camp Nou for men like Cesc Fabregas, Thiago, and the likes. Of course, Lionel Messi is going to be one of the, if not the best player on the pitch, and he is always a threat to be able to find the back of the net.

Alexis Sanchez has been ruled out for this clash, as he’ll be sidelined for two months with a thigh injury.

Barca was stunned in a 2-2 draw in which it lost Sanchez. Real Sociedad came back from down 2-0 to draw, something that would have seemingly been impossible last season against the La Liga champs.

The Italian champs got off to a bad start to the Serie A season over the weekend when they dropped to an 0-2 hole at home against recent challengers, Lazio, and though they did end up drawing the fixture, no one in Milan was overly thrilled about it. However, both Antonio Cassano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were able to find the back of the net within four minutes of one another on Friday to pull level. There wasn’t another goal in the game.

Kevin-Prince Boateng has come in the papers in this fixture, calling it one that the Rossoneri can actually take three points out of. He claims that stopping Anders Iniesta and Xavi will be the key, and there has to be a level of confidence over the fact that Real Sociedad was able to fight back against Barca over the weekend.

Barca is a 1.5 ball favorite on the Asian Handicap, and it is a -120 favorite as well, making it the biggest chalk on the board on the first day of Champions League betting action. The over/under has been set at 3, over -120, also the highest number on the board. We’d recommend taking AC Milan though, as a goal and a half is a tremendous head start for a league champion of its stature, and we wouldn’t be shocked if it were to take a point from Camp Nou in Barcelona’s form.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

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