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Champions League preview, Tues 11th.

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Selections

AC Milan v Chelsea

Gabriel Martinelli put us in profit after just 58 seconds on Sunday, scoring in Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Liverpool at The Emirates. 

The Brazilian was our pick to give Trent Alexander-Arnold another chasing and he was well worth backing to score, whilst the home win and BTTS also landed. 

Now we switch our focus back to the Champions League in a reverse of last week’s fixtures. 

With the World Cup on the horizon, the group stage of the Champions League has been compressed and Chelsea will travel to AC Milan just six days after hammering them 3-0 at home. 

Graham Potter’s men produced a thoroughly convincing win over Stefano Pioli’s side and it’s hard to see how Milan stop the same happening again on home soil. 

They are without goalkeeper Mike Maignan, but left-back and skipper Theo Hernandez should be back for Milan.

The Rossoneri were clearly second best at Stamford Bridge, despite an equal share of possession. They managed only one shot on target and, as per the club’s own website, they failed to deal with Chelsea’s “physicality and aggression”. 

Those two attributes will be out in force again under Potter. The former Brighton coach may well have a reputation for developing attractive footballing teams, but that has certainly not been at the detriment of the physical side of Blues’ game. 

They outmuscled Wolves 3-0 at the weekend with seven changes to the side that rolled over Milan. The likes of Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were rested against Wolves and the pair look set to return for the Group E double header. 

Potter could also make a number of other changes, but Wesley Fofana is missing through injury, while N’Golo Kante will also miss out. 

Potter, though, has strength in depth and he should have Thiago Silva available again after he missed out against Wolves with a heavy cold. 

Potter could not have had a better result to rotating his squad with Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja all on the scoresheet against Wolves. And another victory (11/8) looks to be well within a confident Chelsea’s capabilities at the San Siro. 

 

Copenhagen v Man City 

Man City are as short as 1/10 away from home to follow up last week’s win over Copenhagen with another Group G victory. 

City destroyed the Danes 5-0 with Erling Haaland scoring after just seven minutes before grabbing a brace with another strike on the half-hour mark. 

The Etihad win was a totally one-sided match and had it not been for Copenhagen keeper Kamil Grabara, it could have been double figures. 

City made 87 attacks against the Danes, which produced 30 shots of which five were converted. 

Copenhagen, meanwhile, could only muster 13 attacks and never looked like scoring as they managed just 27% of the possession. 

With that in mind we might well have expected the ‘BTTS no’ market to have been shorter than the 7/10 on offer. 

But even that looks skinny when you can back City at 4/5 to win to nil. And a 5-0 scoreline repeat could be on the cards when you consider City stuck four past Sevilla on matchday one. 

Maccabi Haifa v Juventus

Juve are going through a real slump in form and look vulnerable against Haifa on Tuesday night. 

The weekend’s 2-0 defeat at AC Milan leaves them in eighth place in Serie A and without an away win since late April. 

They have only picked up two points in four Serie A away matches this season and Haifa will sense the possibility of a huge upset on Tuesday night. 

The Israeli side are a tempting price of 7/2 to pile the pressure on Max Allegri, who admitted he was “very angry” after almost letting the visitors back into the game last week. 

Juve won 3-1, but after Haifa reduced the deficit in the 75th minute, only a great save from Wojciech Szczesny in the 81st minute prevented the Israeli side from equalising, before the Turin side made it 3-1 late on. 

That was certainly a warning and if Juve’s approach is not on point, then Barak Bakhar’s men could be in for a shock win. 

Celtic v RB Leipzig

Celtic sank to the bottom of Champions League Group F after their 3-1 loss away to RB Leipzig last Wednesday.  

Hoops boss Ange Postecoglu will know that only a win will be enough to keep alive their slim hopes of qualification and he will go on the front foot at Parkhead. 

Celtic went toe to toe with their Bundesliga opponents for an hour last week before Andre Silva’s double eventually saw them beaten. 

Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi got injured last week and will miss out. Janis Blaswich deputised at the weekend as Leipzig grabbed their first point away from home since the first day of the Bundesliga season. 

A 1-1 draw at Mainz ended their woeful form on the road which has seen them beaten 3-0 at Borussia Monchengladbach, 4-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt and 2-1 at Union Berlin. 

It’s safe to say Die Rotten Bullen do not travel well. And Celtic and their fans will be well aware of that. So we can expect an even more raucous atmosphere at Celtic Park and that may well be enough to push Celtic over the line at 11/5.

Key stats

  • Liverpool have won their last three visits to nil at The Emirates
  • Celtic defeated RB Leipzig 2-1 at home in the Europa League in 2018.
  • Only Man City (65.7%) and Barcelona (64.7%) have averaged more possession than Chelsea (59%) in the Champions League this season.
  • Chelsea’s last trip to AC Milan in October 1999 produced a 1-1 draw.
  • Joao Cancelo (4) is leading the assist chart in the Champions League this season.
  • Only Barcelona (237) have launched more attacks than Man City (234) in the Champions League this season.
  • Only Ajax (48) have conceded more fouls than AC Milan (42) this season.
  • Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (16) has had two more goal attempts than Erling Haaland in this season’s competition.

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