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Eden Jon 4th Dec 2012 - 19:00

Champions League Preview – December 5th

Chelsea v FC Nordsjaelland - 19:45 live on Sky Sports 2

The manager's of Chelsea, Celtic and Man Utd will be arriving at their respective matches with extremely different scenarios to contend with.

Since the Blues relieved RDM of his position, things have turned from problematic to disastrous. New boss Rafa Benitez has seen his multimillion pound team compete in four matches and is still waiting for the first success. 0-0 results against Man City and Fulham are bookended by a 3-0 mauling to Juventus and a 3-1 away loss at Upton Park.

Benitez was seen as the man who could rebuild the confidence of his once lethal Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. If this was indeed the aim, one can only conclude that this was to the detriment to the rest of the team.

However, it would be folly to write off a team with so many super stars and as they say ‘Form is temporary, but class is permanent!'

The Blues (1/8 to win) are strongly fancies to dispose of the Group's bottom club FC Nordsjaelland (14/1 with the draw priced at 8/1)at Stamford Bridge and although they require other results to fall their way, a dominant display over the group's whipping boys may turn the tide towards the London side.

Nordsjaelland have a solitary point from their 5 matches to date and have conceded an avalanche of goals, sixteen, during this period. Chelsea will see this as the perfect opportunity for their scoring boots to be taken out of the closet.

Could this be the day that Fernando Torres shines? At 2/1 to score the first goal and 1/5 to score at any time during the match, he could not ask for a better opportunity. While Juan Mata, Chelsea's sole scorer in the Benitez reign, is 10/3 to strike first and those flair players, Eden Hazard and Oscar, are 4/1 and 9/2 respectively to get the first score on the board.

An early goal would give the Stamford Bridge players and faithful the ideal platform and the Chelsea/Chelsea double result is 3/10.

Worth a punt:
Total Match Goals - Over 4.5 @ 9/4

A little speculation:
Match Handicaps - Chelsea to win -5 goals @ 10/1

We have enhanced the odds of Luiz to score and Chelsea to win to 10/1 and for a shock result, John to score and Nordsjaelland to win to 50/1

Celtic v Spartak Moscow - 19.45 live on Sky Sports 3

Even the most ardent of Hoops fans would not have dreamed of leading in the Nou Camp and then defeating the might of Barcelona at Celtic Park. Can the dream continue when they host bottom club Spartak Moscow?

After one of the most controversial and disruptive years in Scottish football history, Celtic have displayed the grit and determination that surely merits a place in the knock out stages. If they can beat Spartak and Benfica fail to win in Barcelona, then qualification is assured.

Celtic are 8/15, with Spartak at 5/1 and the draw available at 3/1. And after the Scottish outfit came out on top at the Luzhniki Stadium back in October, expectations will be high that Neil Lennon can deliver the coup de grace.

Spartak have shipped twelve goals in their five matches, including the three that they conceded in that October match. Hooper and Samaras (and the aid of an own goal) secured the points then and the two are 4/1 and 9/2 respectively to open the scoring and evens and 6/5 to net at any time during the match.

The Bhoys have made a habit of scoring first and scoring early and except for some unexpected weakness against Benfica, have looked solid and strong in defence. Celtic to be the only team to score in the match is 13/8 and they are 2/5 to score the game's first goal.

While Celtic are massive favourites to win the SPL without breaking sweat, a good run in the European competitions will give Scottish football a fillip as well as being a reminder to the rest of the footballing community that they can still fight it out with the best of them.

And what do most football fans want? Well, in the famous words of Kevin Keegan ‘ I'd love it if Celtic can do it!'

Worth a punt:
Time of the 1st goal - Celtic 16th to 39th minute @ 10/3
Match x Goals - Celtic Win and Under 2.5 Goals @ 3/1

A little speculation:
Mulgrew to score and Celtic to win @ 10/1 (enhanced from 7/1)

We have also enhanced the odds of Emenike to score and Spartak to win to 9/1

Manchester United v CFR Cluj - 19.45 live on Sky Sports 4

The third match of the night that sees a British team pitted at home against a lower placed team. However, whatever the result, the Reds are in the envious position of having guaranteed their qualification in first place.

CFR Cluf in contrast are in the same situation as Celtic. They are playing a team whose group finishing position is decided and can only hope that they can end the match with a better result than Galatasaray who meet fourth placed Braga.

Although Man Utd have nothing, in theory, to play for, Sir Alex will not accept complacency and the eleven that stroll out of the Theatre of Dreams tunnel, know that is the only strolling they will be permitted.

The Reds are 4/6 to win, compared to CFR Cluj who can be backed at 9/2. The draw comes in at 5/2.

Man Utd have only conceded five goals at Old Trafford and with the knowledge they can relax to a certain degree, expect them to play with a freedom that they are not always allowed to display.

Saying that, discipline will still be a major requirement, as Cluj have proved themselves in battle and know what awaits them if they can prevail.

Although this a match where a low scoring result would not surprise, I do expect both teams to have chances and Both teams to score at 3/4 is a definite possibility. Also if Cluj are going to win this match, it may well be by a similar score line to Man Utd's previous match, a 1-0 loss to Galatasaray, which is priced at 14/1, with 2-1 to CFR at 16/1.

Worth a punt:
First Scorer - Paul Scholes @ 8/1
Double Result - Draw/Draw @ 5/1

A little speculation:
CFR Cluj to win 2-1 @ 16/1
Double Result - CFR Cluj/ CFR Cluj @ 17/2

We have also enhanced the odds on Welbeck to score and Man Utd to win is 5/2 and Kepetanos to score and Cluj to win is 14/1

 

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