Post by Marc Carinci
Summer is about. That only implies 1 point: the Champions League is back. This year’s joint favourites, Barcelona and Chelsea, have fast become bitter rivals in this levels of competition. That rivalry is selected to intensify since they have been drawn into the exact same group at this early stage of the tournament. The format is as follows: 32 groups contest the group stage, divided into eight teams of four. The group winners and runners-up advance to the knockout stages, the eight 3rd-put teams move into the UEFA Cup third round, and the 8 fourth-placed groups are eradicated. Right here is an overview of all the groups with predictions on who we count on to win every single group.
Group A: Barcelona (-118), Chelsea (+125), Werder Bremen (fifteen/one), Levski Sofia (250/1)
Perhaps the Chelsea-Barcelona rivalry won’t be quite as powerful at this early stage. Equally teams will advance from this group and there is a excellent opportunity they will meet yet again at a later stage of this competitors. Chelsea appear noticeably shakier this 12 months. Their previously impenetrable defence looks somewhat a lot more lax. That will bode ill for the Blues. But as opposed to the past number of decades, with two Premiership titles below their belt, this season Jose Mourinho’s explicit target is to win the Champions League. Nevertheless, we have to facet with Barcelona right here. They are target scoring devices and need to demolish Bremen and Levski, and they are far more than capable of scoring towards Chelsea. At close to even cash, they are really worth backing to win this group.
Group B: Bayern Munich (+125), Inter Milan (+163), Sporting Lisbon (6/one), Spartak Moscow (40/1)
Inter is a big price tag here and are value backing. They have extra strength, quality and depth to their squad and right after the Calciopoli scandal were belated awarded final year’s Scudetto in Serie A. Sporting Lisbon are no pushovers, but Inter can and should get previous them. There is 1 slight worry although. Bayern Munich is the type of group that can operate up the score in opposition to weak opponents like Spartak Moscow. If Bayern and Inter are degree on factors, Bayern could properly win this group on goal difference.
Group C: Liverpool (-161), PSV Eindhoven (+450), Bordeaux (five/one), Galatasaray (ten/1)
Despite the fact that they are odds-on, it’s challenging to look previous Liverpool in this group. They are a well-organized aspect and lifted the CL trophy two years ago. Manger Rafa Benitez is seasoned at European competitors and really should navigate his group by way of this group with ease. PSV are a shadow of the team they ended up previous time. There is a excellent opportunity they will not finish in the prime two of the Dutch league, let alone replicate their previously mentioned common Champions League kind of modern a long time. Bordeaux and Galatasaray are second-price clubs in this competitors.
Group D: Valencia (-125), Roma (+one hundred fifty), Shakhtar Donetsk (twenty/1), Olympiakos (29/one)
It really is hard to recognize why Roma are underdogs in this group. They are favoured to win this year’s diluted Italian league. Their squad is a good deal more powerful this season equally on paper and judging by their Serie A results so far. But the Romans face tough Spanish levels of competition in this group. Valencia have a disciplined and skilled Champions League side. They are deadly on the counterattack and stifle the offence of their opponents. This appears like a coin flip amongst Roma and Valencia, so we’ll consider the Italians at odds-versus. Keep and eye on Olympiakos. They won’t win this group, but, like numerous Greek groups, they can be unsafe in their home video games.
Group E: Lyon (-125), Genuine Madrid (+163), Steaua Bucharest (10/one), Dynamo Kiev (fifty/one)
The collapse of Juventus has benefited no crew more than True Madrid. The Spanish giants picked up a handful far more Galacticos and 1 of the world’s leading managers, Fabio Capello. They are severe contenders for each the La Liga and Champions League titles this yr. But they will have to get past their nemesis in this tournament: Lyon. The French facet are perennially underestimated by the bookmakers even with excelling in European opposition. We’ll happily back them once more to win this group and perhaps the complete thing.
Group F: Manchester United (-275), Benfica (+650), Celtic (13/one), FC Copenhagen (50/one)
Gentleman Utd couldn’t have asked for a a lot more favourable draw. But luck is what they’ll need to get any additional than this stage. At this short cost, it is not worth betting on the Red Devils to win the group. Copenhagen are a unsafe team, having knocked Ajax out of this competition. They are a huge price to win the group and are really worth a modest punt. Benfica are solid as at any time in Portugal and experienced in the Champions League. They ought to declare second spot.
Group G: Arsenal (-161), Hamburg (nine/1), Porto (9/1), CSKA Moscow (10/one)
Arsenal had been the surprise group of the Champions League previous 12 months, heading all the way to the last and defying expectations with each and every match. This year, they seem to be overestimated. The Gunners have not yet settled into their new Emirates Stadium. The squad search noticeably unpleasant and will get more time to jell. In light of the over, it really is worth searching at the others. CSKA are a massive price tag at ten/one and the 2005 UEFA Cup champions must be backed to win this group. Russia is an daunting location for traveling to teams and the Muscovites are more than capable of claiming final results from their travels.
Group H: AC Milan (-333), Lille (6/1), AEK Athens (25/1), Anderlecht (33/1)
Milan should cruise through this group with relative ease. They are able of dismantling nearly any crew in the world and opponents like Lille, AEK and Anderlecht are hardly unsafe challengers. Lille are strong in France and might maintain Milan to a draw in their residence leg. As typical, Greek side AEK will be tough at property also, but they are hopeless on their travels. Anderlecht don’t deserve to be in this opposition. Even at this brief price tag, consider Milan.
About the Writer
Marc Carinci is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his posts at www.procappers.com/Marc_Carinci.htm