Champions League Wednesday Preview - The Gambling Times

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Football index

Champions League Wednesday Preview

Manchester United and Chelsea look to maintain their perfect starts to their Champions League campaigns, whilst Celtic look to cause an upset.

United boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to his homeland to face Benfica, and they will be on the brink of qualification with three points at the Estadio Da Luz.

“Our goal is to to qualify. If we do that before the last match we’ll want to be first. The only goal is to qualify,” said Mourinho.

“A point in this match against the strongest team out of the remaining three teams in our group would be positive, but if we approach this as a one-off match, we’ll aim to win.”

Like United, Chelsea will also be closing in on the knockout stages, if they can beat Roma at Stamford Bridge but Antonio Conte’s side come into the game off the back of consecutive league defeats.

“It’s a good time to play again. After two defeats playing is very important,” said Conte.

“The Champions League is a really tough tournament and we must pay great attention because Roma are a great team. They’re doing very well in the Italian league. They drew against Atletico Madrid and won against Qarabag; they’re well organised with a lot of good players, but it’s a good time to play again.”

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers insists his side can give German champions Bayern Munich a real game at the Allianz Arena.

“We have a duty to play our game,” said Rodgers.

“We need to be resilient but we know we can come away from home, play football and score goals. That is our intention.”

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Atletico Madrid go in search of their first win in Azerbaijan against Qarabag, whilst Paris Saint Germain look to continue their excellent form at Anderlecht.

Barcelona host Olympiakos looking to maintain their 100 per cent record, whilst Sporting Lisbon travel to Juventus, and Basel are in Moscow to face CSKA.

See below for a run-down on the games, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder Andy Gray, leading agent Barry Silkman and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey  together with everything you need to know from the bookies – with BoyleSports’s Leon Blanche.

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GROUP A
Benfica 19:45 Man United
Estadio da Luz

TEAM NEWS: Michael CarrickPaul PogbaZlatan IbrahimovicMarouane Fellaini and Marcos Rojo are all sidelined for United, whilst Eric Bailly is a major doubt. The home side have Andre Almeida suspended.
KEY FACT: Benfica host United seeking their first points in Group A
MATCH ODDS: Benfica 7/2 Draw 13/5 Man Utd 20/23
ANDY SAYS: Never an easy game but I think United will get the job done…0-1
GRAEME SAYS: I don’t see Benfica beating United here, Jose’s men will be too good…0-3
SILKY SAYS: I don’t think United will lose but I think Benfica will claim a draw…1-1
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Under 2.5 goals @4/5
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Romelu Lukaku at just over £5 still looks a very good addition

GROUP B
Bayern Munich 19:45 Celtic
Allianz Arena

TEAM NEWS: Franck Ribery is out for Bayern, and their are major doubts over Javi Martinez and Juan Bernat. Tony Ralston and Jozo Simunovic both miss out for Celtic.
KEY FACT: Bayern’s last game against Scottish opposition was a 5-1 home win over Aberdeen in the 2007-08 Uefa Cup
MATCH ODDS: Bayern 1/9 Draw 9/1 Celtic 20/1
ANDY SAYS: A tough game for Celtic, and Bayern will have too much for them…3-0
GRAEME SAYS: I think Celtic will put up a decent fight here, but I don’t see them getting anything…3-1
SILKY SAYS: A comfortable win for Bayern, no doubt…5-0
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Celtic +3 @Evens
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Robert Lewandowski – a great buy at under £3

GROUP C
Chelsea 19:45 Roma
Stamford Bridge

TEAM NEWS: Alvaro Morata is set to return from his hamstring injury, but Danny DrinkwaterVictor MosesN’Golo Kante remain sidelined. Gregoire DefrelKostas Manolas and Patrik Schick are all ruled out for Roma.
KEY FACT: Roma earned their only victory in England against Liverpool in the 2000-01 Uefa Cup
MATCH ODDS: Atletico 5/4 Draw 21/10 Chelsea 13/5
ANDY SAYS: I think Chelsea will come out on top, but will be a close game…2-1
GRAEME SAYS: I don’t see Roma troubling Chelsea at all, comfortable home win…3-0
SILKY SAYS: A narrow win for Chelsea, they should have too much for Roma…2-1
BOYLESPORTS PICK: Under 2.5 goals 21/20 
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: At £3.71, Alvaro Morata looks a great prospect for any portfolio

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