Champions League Week 4: Second Time‘s a Charm?
Time for a re-match! Week 3 and Week 4 have identical meets set, and there are a few things still unsettled after some rather surprising results. Now normally, it is near impossible to repeat the same results twice in a row – but certain teams will be way keener for the games to end in the same fashion. Could any of the three most interesting clashes follow a duplicate scenario?
Real Madrid against PSG: First Loss for Whom?
Last week’s match was supposed to break the winning streak that both of the teams have been enjoying so far, but instead we got a draw with no goals scored. That time, PSG went into the game as the favourites, but Real Madrid is taking their place now with TonyBet giving them the odds of 7/10 against the Parisians’ 37/10.
However, the Spanish team will have to do without quite a few players, as Keylow Navas, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema are out with injuries. Fortunately for them though, Luka Modric seems to be fit to start, as are Pepe and Sergio Ramos.
PSG aren‘t without setbacks either, as both Javier Pastore and Marquinhos will not be joining the squad for the game against Real Madrid. David Luiz, on the other hand, will be coming back which is a definite plus for the French team.
It‘s a matter of honour for both teams, as they currently have seven points and winning this game would put one of them at an advantage and could possibly be enough to decide the group‘s best, because neither Malmo nor Shakhtar Donetsk present a real threat to these two.
Paris Saint Germain may be looking a bit weaker than they did going into the previous match, but it doesn’t mean an easy game for Real Madrid. It’s an important meet, and we can expect a proper clash of two great teams.
Sevilla against Man City: It’s Crucial to Win
Last week’s victory pushed Man City up to the second place in their group, and if they want to keep this position – or maybe even do better than Juventus – they must win this game. Sevilla, on the other hand, must win this game too, or it could mean that they will not see the knockout stage.
The English team are at a slight advantage judging by their 7/5 odds to win against Sevilla’s 37/20. Man City is leading the Premier League back home, but they’ve had much tougher luck internationally and are keen to show the world that they can compete in bigger ponds, too.
Sevilla’s coach Unai Emery has admitted that doing well in the Champions League is a bit of a long shot for his team, and is instead hoping for a good La Liga season. The squad will be facing Man City without Kevin Gameiro and Daniel Carriço, but their playmaker Ever Banega will be able to finally join in the game.
There are plenty of injuries on the other side of the field, too – Man City has a bunch of players that will be unable to participate, including Sergio Aguero and David Silva, which is unfortunate, even though it isn’t exactly a crisis, either.
Even though Sevilla are no less than worthy opponents, the English team looks stronger before this game, coming out of a victory against Norwich while the Spanish just lost to Villarreal. If Man City did better internationally, it would be possible to have more confidence in them – but since they’ve got a bumpy record, the edge that they may have currently looks a bit slight.
Bayern Munich against Arsenal: Match of the Week
Arsenal has had such a horrid start in the Champions League that their recent clean-sheet victory against Bayern Munich seemed completely out of the blue. Now the Gunners are keen to repeat it, and the Germans are keen to get some revenge.
Even though some could write off the English win as pure luck, Arsenal has really shaped up recently and are showing solid gameplay all around. Not only the team is working really well as a whole, but the individual players are showing very solid performances, too: Mesut Ozil broke the Premier League‘s assist record with 2.63 games per asisst rate while Petr Cech has made 39 saves in 11 games.
However, could that be enough to win against Bayern again? The Gunners have lost the element of suprise now, and their contenders will be coming into the game prepared to fight until they win. While the Germans undoubtedly want to reassert their dominance, Arsenal really needs a victory: losing could also mean not qualifying for the knockout stage.
Unfortunately, Arsenal has lost two very important players to injuries: neither Theo Walcott nor Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be playing, and they‘re not the only ones on the rather long injury list that the Gunners currently have to deal with.
Bayern isn‘t all healthy either, with Mario Goetze, Sebastian Rode, and Frank Ribery sitting this one out. Juan Bernat isn‘t likely to get off the bench, either. Still, they are clear favourites in this match, with the TonyBet bookies giving them 2/5 odds at a win against Arsenal‘s 129/20.
If the Gunners had a healthier squad, their chances would look a lot better, but the team is clearly weakened and Bayern is not going to be intimidated by losing one single match. Some experts even suggest it would be eventually beneficial for Arsenal to get kicked out, as it would improve their chances at an EPL title – and this may be exactly what will happen come the match day.