By News Team
Last Updated: 20th October 2020
After an enthralling start to the Premier League season, it’s now the turn of the Champions League to take centre stage as the group phase gets under way this week.
Ahead of the opening clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday, we preview some of the key fixtures.
Man United hoping for repeat success in Paris
The pick of the week’s fixtures looks to be the clash between last season’s Champions League runners-up Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, who make their return to the competition after a season in the Europa League. The last meeting between these two sides was arguably a career high for the Red Devils’ boss, with his side progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals with a fantastic 3-1 win in Paris in 2019.
A repeat result here would be equally well received by United fans, though at 24/5 for the win and having shipped six goals against Spurs just a few weeks ago, that could be a tall ask for the Premier League side. Favourites PSG, meanwhile, are 8/15 to claim the three points and, with the French club having only lost seven of their 53 home Champions League matches and with no side winning more than once against them, they will fancy their chances.
That said, PSG have already suffered two defeats in Ligue 1 this season and are two points off leaders Lille in the table, so a draw at 17/5 could well be a possibility. United captain for the night, Bruno Fernandes, has three goals in his last three appearances for the Red Devils and is 15/2 to break the deadlock in Paris.
Liverpool looking to overcome injury setbacks
Liverpool head into their group-stage opener against Ajax on Wednesday off the back of a hectic Merseyside derby that led to injuries to both Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara. Van Dijk’s long-term injury, in particular, is a crushing blow to the Reds, given they are also currently without goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be keen then to demonstrate they can cope without their defensive lynchpin against Ajax and for the next few months, and are still 7/10 favourites for an away victory despite their recent setbacks. Ajax may have home advantage but have won just one of their previous seven home games in the Champions League, with two of the last three defeats in this run coming against English opponents. They are 15/4 for the win.
Mohamed Salah has six goals to his name already this season and Liverpool will be looking for him to add to that tally in Amsterdam. Since making his Champions League debut for the Reds in September 2017, Salah has netted 19 goals in the competition – the most of any player for an English club in this period – and he is 3/1 to open the scoring on Wednesday.
Chelsea to tighten up at the back?
Chelsea have endured a rather frustrating start to the season, with an inconsistency between their attack and defence ensuring that while they look dangerous up top, they are always vulnerable at the back – as witnessed in their 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday.
As a result, it seems the opposing team always stand a chance at the moment, and while Chelsea are the 19/20 favourites to overcome Sevilla at home on Tuesday, they will need to turn in a much-improved defensive performance for that to happen. The draw, incidentally, is 13/5.
In Chelsea’s favour, Sevilla have also had a fairly inconsistent start to the season, sitting 10th in La Liga after four games, leaving them 29/10 for the victory at Stamford Bridge. Timo Werner also broke his Premier League duck at the weekend with a fine brace and is 13/10 to score anytime on Tuesday.