The UEFA Champions League group phase continues this week, so take a look at our tips and predictions for the Group A and Group C matches. With plenty of picks and markets to choose from, don’t waste your time and join the action here at Get More Sports.
Atletico Madrid (Spa) vs. Chelsea (Eng)
Three-Way: 1: Atletico +125; X: +240 Draw; 2: Chelsea +295
Spread -0.5: Atletico +114; Chelsea -120
Total +2: Over -122; Under +114
Diego Simeone’s side was unlucky not to beat Roma in the opening game of the Champions League as the Italians managed to keep their net intact and snatch a 0:0 draw. Atletico will have a lot harder job to score against Chelsea but at least they are playing in front of their fans, so we can expect them to attack the English champions at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. After three draws in the first four matches, Los Colchoneros recorded three straight victories in La Liga, the most recent over Sevilla at home, 2:0, and they are in a fine form ahead of this clash with the Blues.
Atletico played seven games so far in the 2017/18 campaign, winning four of them and scoring 12 goals, while they conceded only four. They allowed just one goal (at Bilbao) in last five matches, and now their defense looks sharp as usual, so Chelsea will have a lot to do to penetrate through the back four on Wednesday night. Except for the game at Las Palmas when Atletico scored five, they are not looking efficient, but on the other hand, they never were the high-scoring team so this encounter could be decided by a single goal. These rivals met four times in the UEFA Champions League in the past; each of them recorded a win along with a pair of draws, and that suggests another tight affair.
The Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco and the Argentinean Angel Correa are the team’s top scorers at the moment with three goals to their respective names, while Koke and Antoine Griezmann added two goals each. Koke also recorded a couple of assists, as well as Carrasco, so these four players will likely cause trouble to Chelsea’s keeper Thibaut Courtois. Augusto Fernandez is the only sidelined player for Atletico, and it is unknown when the Argentinean will be back into contention as he’s still recovering from a muscle injury.
The Premier League champions entered this campaign with two defeats in a row against Arsenal in the Community Shield and the EPL opener against Burnley at Stamford Bridge, but since then, Chelsea’s form drastically improved. They scored nine goals in the previous two matches, and a 4:0 away win at Stoke additionally boosted team’s morale ahead of this vital clash in Madrid. Antonio Conte must be pleased with the current situation at the club and they will be looking for three points on Wednesday night, which would place them at the top of the group.
The Blues played nine games in 2017/18, recording six wins, a draw, and two losses, with a goal difference of 24:8. Chelsea scored 15 and conceded just one goal in last four matches, and what is Encouraging for Conte is that his forwards are being lethal in front of the opposing net. They scored four from four shots on target at Stoke, which is quite outstanding, but it’s not going to be that easy when they face Jan Oblak on Wednesday. Chelsea is playing better away from home as they recorded all three victories in the EPL, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they will cope with Atletico’s fantastic defense.
Alvaro Morata has been in a sensational form since his arrival from Real Madrid this summer, scoring six goals and adding two assists in seven matches. The team’s leading scorer bagged a hat-trick against Stoke and he will undoubtedly be the biggest threat to Oblak’s goal. Let’s not forget that Alvaro will have an additional motive to score a goal against Atletico, as he previously played for the big city rivals. Michy Batshuayi follows Morata with four goals, while Marcos Alonso and Pedro scored two each. The Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta is the best assist-maker with four and the defender’s contribution to attack is something that Simeone and Atletico mustn’t underestimate. Thibaut Courtois suffered a slight head injury at Stoke, but he will be okay for this clash, so I don’t expect Conte to change his starting keeper. The newly-arrived Danny Drinkwater is out with a calf injury and he’s still waiting for Chelsea debut, while David Luiz should be back into the starting lineup after he sat out the match at Stoke due to suspension.
Atletico Madrid (Spa) vs. Chelsea (Eng) – Match Prediction
The highly-anticipated Champions League clash in group C between two masterminds Simeone and Conte could bring a lot of excitement, but also, this encounter can turn out to be a boring one if they focus on defending the goal rather than scoring. All in all, I think it will be a well-balanced game, so I am opting for a draw, as I don’t see either side to be a winning one.
MY PICK: Draw (+240)
Basel (Sui) vs. Benfica (Por)
Three-Way: 1: Basel +240; X: +254 Draw; 2: Benfica +140
Spread 0: Basel +142; Benfica -143
Total +2.5: Over +106; Under +104
The Swiss champions are the regular participants in the UEFA Champions League for the past several years, but it is hard to expect them reaching the knockout stage due to fierce competition in the Group A, where they’re playing alongside Man United, CSKA Moscow, and Benfica. Also, Basel’s current form is far from ideal as they suffered three defeats in last five matches, including a 3:0 loss against Man United at Old Trafford. Securing the third spot n this group would be an accomplishment for Basel, but they must win over Benfica if they want to stay in the contention.
The RotBlau played 12 games so far in the 2017/18 campaign, recording six victories, two draws, and four losses, which is rather untypical for them so early in the season. Basel scored 17 goals and allowed 14, which means something over 2.5 goals per match on average. They managed to score in every home game, but their defense is struggling. However, they kept their net intact in a derby game against Zurich, where Basel won 1-0 and ended the four-game winless streak in the Super League.
The Dutch forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel leads the team in scoring with seven goals, while Luca Zuffi, Kevin Bua, and Dimitri Oberlin have a pair of goals to their respective names. The former Vitesse striker knows Benfica well as he played for their city rivals Sporting Lisbon earlier in his career, so manager Raphael Wicky will try to exploit that fact to beat the Portuguese opponents. The hosts will be without the leading assist-maker (6) Mohamed Elyounoussi because of an illness and the attacking midfielder will be missed, while the goalkeeper Germano Vailati and the right-back Omar Gaber are out of the contention for the Champions League game with injuries.
The Portuguese champions are experiencing a tough start of the season as they already suffered two defeats in the previous four matches, even though they won five out of the first six they played. A disappointing, 1:2 home loss to CSKA Moscow in the opening match of the UEFA Champions League was certainly frustrating for the fans but lost the next game at Boavista as well. However, the most recent 2:0 victory over Ferreira in the Primeira Liga has to be considered as a slight improvement, but the Eagles are not playing well at the moment, that’s the fact.
Benfica played ten games in 2017/18, recording six wins, two draws, and two losses. They scored 20 and conceded nine goals, but when it comes to away matches, the Reds recorded just one victory and scored mere three goals in three games. Basel and Benfica played two games in the Champions League in 2011/12 season, and the Portuguese side won 2-0 in Switzerland, while it was 1-1 in the returning leg in Lisbon. We saw almost three goals per match on average when Benfica are involved, so we can expect a high-scoring affair in Basel on Wednesday night as both teams have defensive difficulties at the moment.
The Brazilian striker Jonas is Benfica’s top scorer with nine goals in ten games so far, while Haris Seferovic is following him with five goals to his name. The 27-year-old midfielder Pizzi is running the midfield for Benfica as he recorded four assists, while the Serbian winger Andrija Zivkovic has three assists in just six matches, and he is gradually becoming a key player in Rui Vitoria’s team. Eduardo Salvio missed the previous pair of games due to a sprained ankle, and his availability for this clash is still unknown, but Vitoria has such players as Zivkovic and Franco Cervi to fill the positions on the wings, so Benfica should be fine without the 27-year-old Argentinean. The center-back Lisandro Lopez is out for this encounter with an illness so the 20-year-old Ruben Dias could be handed another start alongside experienced Luisao in the heart of the defense.
Basel (Sui) vs. Benfica (Por) – Match Prediction
Although these teams managed to keep the clean sheets in their respective matches during the weekend, I expect to see goals on both sides, while the possible goal-glut could also be on the cards.
MY PICK: Both teams to score YES (-115)
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