Tuesday's Champions League Betting Previews
Without a point to their name in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League, Basque club Real Sociedad are in a must win situation against Manchester United at San Sebastian.
But can the team know in Spain as La Real actually beat David Moyes' Red Devils? Well, it's certainly possible with the Old Trafford side nowhere near as trustworthy as they used to be. But then we must also consider that Real Sociedad - who were, albeit deservedly, punching above their weight by finishing fourth in La Liga last season - have also failed to impress in the early stages of 2013/14, with the loss of manager Montanier and star midfielder Illarramendi largely to blame.
Indeed, between a 2-0 victory over Lyon in their Champions League qualifier and a surprise 2-1 defeat of Valencia in La Liga, Real Sociedad (2/1) went almost two months without winning a game.
Of course, if we're fair, we have to allow a little time for a new manager to bed in and a team to adjust to the loss of its midfield schemer, and since that defeat of Valencia, a previously goal shy La Real has scored ten goals in three games, winning two and drawing the other.
Staying with goals, if you fancy backing a Real Sociedad scorer, Antoine Griezmann (13/2 to score first, 15/8 anytime) looks like your best bet, especially as he netted a brace in his last La Liga game,
Manchester United (7/5), who generally labour to narrow wins at home but are involved in high scoring clashes away, defeated Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage in their last fixture. Amongst the scorers were Robin van Persie (4/1 to score first, 4/5 anytime) and Wayne Rooney (5/1 to score first, 11/10 anytime).
In conclusion, as they did at Old Trafford, Manchester United should beat Real Sociedad. However, since the English team - currently top of group A with seven points from three games - don't need the win and are up against a team in superb scoring form that do, both teams to score seems wisest.
Recommendation: Both Teams To Score (8/11)
After a terrible debut season in the 2011/12 Champions League, Manchester City had an equally embarrassing 2012/13 in UEFA's flagship tournament, suffering a second consecutive group stage exit.
Now, however, besides a 3-1 home humbling by defending champions Bayern Munich, Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City (1/5) have played well in the 2013/14 version, winning their last two fixtures -against Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow respectively - and stand on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages should they defeat CSKA Moscow for a second time and see results go their way.
CSKA Moscow (16/1) have been in good recent form domestically, winning all three of their games played since City beat the Russian army team 2-1 in Moscow a few weeks ago.
As for CSKA's Champions League qualification situation, lose to Manchester City at the Etihad and they can't make the next round - simple as that.
In conclusion, besides when they play really big, established Champions League teams like the pre-mentioned Bayern Munich, it seems as though we can trust this Man City to win in Europe.
However, with little value on the 90 minutes or handicap prices, it seems best to just side with City to score at least three goals at home to a team they scored two against in the cold Moscow climate.
Recommendation: Over 2.5 Man City goals (17/20)