Standings: Bayern Munich 7pts, Napoli 5pts, Manchester City 4pts, Villarreal 0pts
After picking up their first ever Champions League win on Match Day three against Villarreal at Eastlands, Manchester City need to fill their boots again by taking all three points in Spain on Wednesday night. Roberto Mancini’s joy was clear to see after Sergio Aguero netted a late winner against Villarreal, which put City back in contention for a qualification spot from the group. City are stuck one point behind Napoli, and regardless of what happens between Bayern and the Italians on Wednesday, City really need those three points. It won’t be a disaster if City fail to win if Napoli fail as well, but it will put a huge amount of pressure on their visit to Italy. The group is likely to come down to Bayern Munich taking top spot and therefore Napoli and City will have to scrap it out for second spot. That is why there is so much importance on City getting a win, because they could take a two point advantage over Napoli on Wednesday. See our full Villarreal v Man City betting preview here. The Italians head to Germany to face Bayern Munich, after holding out for a 1-1 draw in Naples on Match Day Three. Much has been made about Bayern’s remarkable defence this season (having conceded just three in the Bundesliga in 11 matches), but Napoli finally broke them down in the Champions League, and earned themselves a point. Napoli are proving a tough side in the Champions League this season, picking up a point at the City of Manchester Stadium, and then holding Bayern to a draw. Bayern started the group with a bang, picking up 2-0 wins over Villarreal and then totally outclassing Manchester City. The dropped points in Naples won’t ultimately hurt them too much, as they are still firm favourites to win the group with two home matches still to come. Would expect them to come out with a strong performance at home against Napoli just to stamp some authority back on proceedings in Group A. Munich have some serious firepower, but Napoli are no slouches sitting 5th in Serie A, and is why this is such a tough group for City. Expecting a draw in Villarreal and a win for Bayern.
Bayern Munich 1/3, Draw 9/2, Napoli 21/2 at Bet365
Villarreal 6/1, Draw 16/5, Man City 8/13 at SkyBet
Inter Milan 6pts, CSKA Moscow 4pts, Trabzonspor 4pts, Lille 2
Things are still pretty wide open at the half way stage in Group B. Inter did themselves a big favour by sneaking a 1-0 away win at Lille on Match Day Three, their second away win of the group. Inter Milan, it should be noted, are just one place above the relegation zone in Serie A, and enduring an awful, awful season. Their Champions League start was upset at the San Siro when Trabzonspor beat them, but the Italians have responded with a brace of wins. Now they can get back to the San Siro and look to consolidate the tough work which they have put in on the road. While Inter are struggling, we really haven’t seen too much from French side Lille in the tournament, ,which belies their standing in the French League, where they have lost just one match all season. You have to think in situations like this, that a decent side like Lille will muster a response at some point, so why not at the San Siro? Inter are a shadow of their former selves and look very vulnerable. Inter have a terrible defense and have won just one of their last five Serie A matches. They are there for the taking and are one of the big candidates for an upset in Wednesday nights’ round of Champions League matches. Can see Lille stealing something out of this match, as they need to in order to keep their qualification hopes alive. As for CSKA Moscow and Trabzonspor they are still well in contention sat on four points each. Moscow laid down a strong market by beating the Turkish side 3-0 on Match Day Three, and they will be favourites to get something out of the second meeting between them, and follow Inter Milan through. The Turks did beat Inter Milan, but their morale crushing defeat against Moscow in their last match, may have shown this is getting too much for them. However, they are at home, where they held Lille to a draw, and they need to get something out of this you feel. The winner of this will definitely gain a big advantage in the drive for second place in the group. So a pretty big encounter and one that would have an even bigger incentive if Inter Milan were to lose. Fancy Lille causing an upset and Trabzonspor holding out for a draw.
Trabzonspor 7/4, Draw 23/10, CSKA Moscow 9/5 at Bet365
Inter Milan 20/19, Draw 27/11, Lille 10/3 at Unibet
Standings: Benfica 7pts, Man Utd 5pts, Basel 4 pts, Otelul Galati 0pts
Well, this group is a bit more open than many would have predicted, as we see Manchester United trailing top spot by two points. We are only at the half way stage of course, and with United being pretty much a banker to beat Otelul Galati at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, they should be on eight points, and well on their way to a qualification place. But they have had their struggles, only managing a point against Benfica, and then needing a late equaliser to rescue a draw at home against Basel after being 2-0 up. The two penalties scored by Wayne Rooney in Romania on Match Day Three gave them their first win in the group. The Romanians are likely to be out of the running after Wednesday, but there could still be a good three way fight for the top. See our full Manchester United v Otelul Galati betting preview here. So there is big importance on the Benfica v Basel match on Wednesday. It was the Portuguese side who won out 2-0 on their trip to Switzerland on Match Day Three, and if Benfica repeat that result, it would keep them two points ahead of Manchester United, which could be crucial at the end of the day. It would mean that they would only need to hold out for a draw when they meet Man Utd next, in order to win the group. If Basel, who gave United such a hard time in the second half at Old Trafford win, it would both them and Benfica on seven points, pretty much handing top spot to United. So interesting connotations afoot in Group C. We can pretty much be certain of win for the Red Devils, and would go for Benfica to get the better of Basel again, especially on home turf this time around. They look the better of the two sides.
Man Utd 1/10, Draw 9/1, Otelul Galati 34/1 at Bet365
Benfica 1/3, Draw 9/2, Basel 12/1 at SkyBet
Standings: Real Madrid 9pts, Ajax 4pts, Lyon 4pts, Dynamo Zagreb 0pts
Well, Real Madrid (the only side in the competition with a 100% record after three matches) are just cruising through their matches, having netted eight goals in their three matches and not conceding any. It has been a very strong starts, one of the best in the Champions League, and their 4-0 demolition of Lyon on Match Day Three showed what a handful they are going to be. The two sides meet again in France on Wednesday night, and a win for Real Madrid would guarantee them top spot in the group if Ajax fail to beat Zagreb. Anyway, we are going to see Real Madrid in the knockout stages of course. They look one of the meanest and most ruthless sides in the tournament so far. Don’t see them slipping up in France on Wednesday. Lyon of course are a very established Champions League side, and having a solid season in their domestic league, but living with Madrid is a different matter entirely. We haven’t quite seen Lyon as strong of a force as you normally associate them with being. A draw against Ajax and that heavy defeat against Madrid sees them in a bit of fight. If they lose here and Ajax win on Wednesday, the French side will have some big catching up to do. Ajax face Dynamo Zagreb for the second time on Wednesday, after having won 2-0 out in Croatia on Match Day Three. That was a much needed win for the Dutch side, who had previously earned a draw against Lyon and then suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid. With Lyon likely losing again this week, Ajax have a chance to give themselves a bit of a cushion over the French side in the race for second place. Yes, Ajax will still have to face Madrid again, so the crunch match will come on Match Day Five when Lyon face Ajax. Still, there is big incentive for Ajax to at least get their noses in front, which would mean that if they can then take at least a point off Lyon when they meet, they would likely be going through. So big match for Ajax.
Lyon 21/4, Draw 3/1, Real Madrid 4/6 at Bet365
Ajax 8/15, Draw 10/3, Dynamo Zagreb 7/1 at SportingBet
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