Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM
CL Best Bets - Wednesday
UEFA Champions League - Matchday 4
The Banker: Juventus vs. Manchester United
Juventus have been one of the best teams in Europe for a long time. But when they win big games, as they did 1-0 away to Manchester United two weeks ago, it is usually by outwitting their opponents tactically rather than putting on a footballing masterclass.
That match was different. Though it ended 1-0, Juventus were embarrassingly superior to Jose Mourinho’s beleaguered side, and it is no surprise to see them priced up at 3/5 to win the reverse fixture in Turin.
United netted a late winner against Bournemouth, and although they improved in the second half, it was hardly a convincing win.
Juventus have been more efficient than sparkling in the league, but a record of ten wins and one draw from 11 games indicates just how good they still are. Most of those wins have been by either one or two goals.
United, for all the spirit they have shown in recent weeks, still look miles away from being a cohesive team. The midfield constantly changes, the defence is shaky and Romelu Lukaku is enduring a nightmare spell in front of goal. Juve are simply a much better side.
Best Bet: Juventus at 3/5
Prediction: Juventus 2-0 Manchester United
The Solid Bet: CSKA Moscow vs. Roma
CSKA Moscow caused the shock of the Champions League so far as they beat Real Madrid 1-0 on matchday two in the middle of Julen Lopategui’s short-lived nightmare as Real Madrid manager. But that win was, to be blunt, a total fluke. Real had chance after chance but luck was on the side of the Russians.
Their other results have been far less impressive. They started with a draw away to Czech champions Viktoria Plzen and their most recent match was an easy 3-0 defeat to Roma.
Roma look good value at evens here. CSKA’s domestic form has been really poor - Viktor Goncharenko’s side are sixth in the Russian Premier League and have lost their last two home matches.
This is true of Roma, however, who can already give up on winning Serie A. They lie ninth with just 16 points from 11 games. However there were signs of improvement recently with a 1-1 draw at Napoli. Their 5-0 win over Plzen, as well as their victory against CSKA, indicates that they still have the quality to brush aside inferior teams in Europe.
Best Bet: Roma at evens (1/1)
Prediction: CSKA Moscow 0-1 Roma
The Outsider: Valencia vs. Young Boys
Wednesday’s Champions League card is filled with some extremely short priced favourites (Real Madrid 1/4, Bayern Munich 1/12, Man City 1/9), but one heavy favourite worth opposing might be Valencia, who are 1/2 against Swiss champions Young Boys, who can be backed at 13/2.
The two sides drew 1-1 in Bern on matchday three - a result that Young Boys deserved. Michy Batshuayi’s first half opener was Valencia’s only shot on target of the match.
But it is Valencia’s simply appalling domestic form that makes Young Boys most attractive. Incredibly, they have drawn eight of their 11 league games, winning just once. Those 11 games have featured just 16 goals, with Valencia only hitting the target seven times. They have scored more than once on just one occasion. It is an incredible decline from a team that finished fourth in La Liga last year.
Young Boys, who finally ended Basel’s dominance of the Swiss league last year, are riding high again this year with 11 wins from 13 in the league. They can cause a shock here.
Best Bet: Young Boys or Draw Double Chance at 13/8
Prediction: Valencia 1-1 Young Boys
The First Goalscorer: Manchester City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Manchester City were completely dominant in a tricky looking fixture away in Ukraine as they thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0. City had 17 shots and could have been two or three nil up by the time Sergio Aguero scored the first goal.
City’s opening day defeat to Lyon means they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to be sure of winning this group, and so expect Pep Guardiola to field a strong side on Wednesday night.
But one man who is really forcing his way into Pep’s thinking is Riyad Mahrez. He has scored five times in his last ten matches, and has added even more individual spark to City’s already mesmerising attack.
He scored the crucial early goal in City’s win at Tottenham recently, and at 9/2 looks god value to score first here.
Best Bet: Riyad Mahrez to score first at 9/2
Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 Shakhtar Donetsk