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Champions League Preview, Nov 2nd.

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Chelsea vs Dinamo Zagreb

With the weekend’s 4-1 drubbing by Brighton still ringing in Chelsea’s ears, Wednesday’s tussle with Dinamo Zagreb has taken on added importance.

Graham Potter will want a reaction after a nightmare return to Brighton, where three first-half goals sent them spinning to a shock Premier League defeat.

It was the Blues’ first loss under Potter, who jumped ship from Brighton to Chelsea in September. And he described the mauling on the south coast as “a painful one”.

Chelsea, who had both Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic starting, created chances after having the lion’s share of possession. Havertz nodded in what proved to be their consolation early in the second half, while Pulisic shot wide when well placed.

But in truth, they were second best against a Brighton side who managed 19 shots and were more clinical on the day.

The Blues will not face that type of test against Dinamo at Stamford Bridge, although they were humbled 1-0 by Dinamo under Thomas Tuchel on matchday one.

Chelsea are already guaranteed top spot in Group E due to their superior head-to-head record with AC Milan. But there are plenty of players with a point to prove ahead of the London derby with Arsenal.

Potter is likely to make a number of changes with Sunday’s home date with the Gunners in mind.

Edouard Mendy is set to start with Kepa Arrizabalaga struggling with a foot problem. Cesar Azpilicueta, Armando Broja, Hakim Ziyech and Pulisic are all likely to get game time.

Conor Gallagher and Mason Mount are one booking away from a European ban and are unlikely to feature against a struggling Dinamo team.

They have won just one of their last six games in all competitions and lost 1-0 to NK Osijek on Saturday. The Croatians cannot reach the knockout phase and look likely to take the group’s wooden spoon, although the Europa League is still within reach if they can win in west London.

That looks a long shot and even against a shadow Chelsea team, the 8/1 about an away win looks one to swerve.

With places up for grabs against Arsenal, Potter is likely to get a reaction and backing Chelsea half-time, full-time is one way to get with the Blues.

Manchester City vs Sevilla

If you want a definition of a dead rubber then look no further than Man City’s home clash with Sevilla on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola’s men have already qualified for the last 16 as group winners, despite draws in their last two Group G games. Sevilla, meanwhile, will drop into the Europa League knockout rounds after securing third spot after a 3-0 win over Copenhagen last time out.

City’s main man Erling Haaland will not face the LaLiga side, but both Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez could be recalled after sitting out against Leicester.

Kevin de Bruyne and or Rodri could be given the night off, but City have some talented youngsters coming through and Rico Lewis and Josh Wilson-Esbrand could be involved.

City are the overwhelming favourites and their squad depth should see them get the job done.

They have won 81% of their Champions League home games since Guardiola took charge in 2016, while Sevilla have lost all three trips to The Etihad.

Sevilla currently sit in the LaLiga relegation zone and lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano at the weekend.

Julen Lopetegui was axed as head coach at the beginning of October, but Jorge Sampaoli, like Lopetegui, has struggled for consistency from Rojiblancos.

Sevilla have won two, drawn three and lost two of their seven matches across all competitions under the Argentinian and a win in Manchester looks beyond them.

Sevilla did hold Dortmund to a 1-1 draw in Germany, but City swept them aside in Spain on matchday one and, even with a shadow side out, City’s players look to have more to prove.

Juventus vs Paris Saint-Germain

Juve will bring the curtain down on a disastrous Champions League campaign against PSG on Wednesday night.

Four defeats from five games has left them fighting with Maccabi Haifa for a place in the Europa League. Conversely, PSG have sealed their spot in the last 16 and simply need to better Benfica’s result at Maccabi to seal top spot.

Juve are a general 9/2 to see off Lionel Messi and Co and a look at their domestic form gives hope of a shock result.

Max Allegri’s side have won their last three Serie A games against Lecce, Empoli and Torino without conceding a goal.

Unfortunately, though, Allegri’s side face a much tougher test against PSG and they have not managed to rise to the challenge against better sides this season.

To make their task even harder they will be without Dusan Vlahovic and Weston McKennie, while Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria, Gleison Bremer, Mattia De Sciglio and Federico Chiesa will all be missing.

PSG are pretty much full strength, although Neymar is suspended, but Marco Verratti returns from a ban.

Christophe Galtier’s French champions have dropped just four points in Ligue 1 this season, while they are unbeaten in the Champions League.

They defeated Juve earlier in the season, but the visitors have a tendency to concede goals and they have done so in every game in Group H so far.

Juve have scored in every game bar one in this season’s tournament and it might be worth backing goals in Turin.

Key stats

Man City have kept a clean sheet in their last three CL matches

Man City have won their last three matches against Sevilla in all competitions.

Man City have seen over 2.5 goals in their last three matches against Sevilla in all competitions

Man City are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 CL matches

Manchester City have won 13 home matches in a row

When Manchester City lead 1-0 at home, they win in 95% of their matches

Chelsea have been winning at both half-time and full-time in their last three CL matches

Chelsea have won their last three CL matches

Chelsea have scored at least two goals in their last three CL matches

Dinamo Zagreb have conceded a goal in each of their last seven matches

Dinamo Zagreb have suffered 17 defeats from 20 away games in the CL

There have been over 2.5 goals in five of Juventus’ last six CL games

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