Champions League Picks: This Wednesday evening sees the final eight Champions League matches from round four of the group stages. Let’s preview the evening’s three biggest games here.
Group F – Chelsea v Spartak Moscow:
This match is the reverse fixture of when these two sides met in round three in Moscow, with Chelsea emerging as the 2-0 winners. The Londoners have an impressive recent record at Stamford Bridge and will be confident of winning their fourth successive Champions League match this season, but will Spartak cause an upset? Bet365 make Chelsea the massive 1.25 favorites to claim all three points, while Spartak Moscow can be backed at 13.00 and the draw is available at 5.50.
Chelsea has suffered just a single defeat at home this season, and that came in a seven goal thriller against Newcastle in the Carling Cup. However in the competitions that Chelsea are seriously attempting to win – the Premier and Champions Leagues – they are unbeaten since they lost to Inter Milan at the last sixteen stage last season, which is a run of ten matches. In that run they have scored forty-one goals and conceded just a solitary goal and that came in the first match following the loss to Inter Milan. Can they keep this impressive home run going?
Spartak are in impressive away form at the moment and they have lost just one of their last eight away games. They have won five and drawn two of the other seven matches and from those seven games they have kept six clean sheets. Their only away match in this season’s Champions League saw them triumph 1-0 at Marseille, but I feel that they will record their second loss of the season at Stamford Bridge. And with Chelsea’s run of nine Premier and Champions Leagues without conceding a goal we’re on them to win to nil again.
Recommendation: Chelsea to beat Spartak Moscow to nil @ 1.83.
Group H – Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal:
When these two sides met at the Emirates Stadium two weeks ago for their third round match, Arsenal dominated the match from the first whistle to the full time whistle and ran out 5-1 winners. Will Shakhtar get revenge on home soil in this match? Arsenal are the 2.50 favorites to claim all three points in this match with online sportsbooks, while Shakhtar are available at 2.90 to record a home victory and the draw can be backed at 3.20.
Shakhtar are in excellent from at this time, with the loss against Arsenal two weeks ago the only time that they have not won in eleven games. At home they have not been defeated in fifty matches in a run that stretches back as far as October 2008. In that run of fifty unbeaten matches at home they have drawn just four of those matches and have beaten teams such as FC Basel, Spurs and Marseille. Their recent record has seen them concede just a single goal in their last ten home games also. They are impressive, but will Arsenal inflict their first home defeat in more than two years?
Arsenal has won all of their last five matches in Premier League, Champions League and Carling Cup. They have conceded just two goals in that time, with one of those goals coming from former Arsenal striker Eduardo, who now plies his trade for Shakhtar. Their away record this season has seen them lose just one of their eight games on the road, with Chelsea taking all three points in that match, and they have drawn three and won four of the other seven matches. It is a good away record, but will it be good enough to end Shakhtar’s fifty game unbeaten run at home?
Arsenal will certainly go into this match in a confident mood because of their recent excellent run and knowing that they put five past this side just two weeks ago. However, Shakhtar will be equally as confident because of their home run. Where are we putting our cash though? As both sides are not conceding a large amount of goals at the moment, we’re putting our money on the under 2.5 goals market for this game.
Recommendation: Back under 2.5 goals in the Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal match @ 2.00.
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