RB Leipzig v Celtic
Goals are on the cards when RB Leipzig and Celtic go toe-to-toe in Germany, with these teams both stronger going forward than they are defensively. Certainly, the quality of the Bundesliga side’s attack when playing at home is under no doubts domestically. They have scored 11 goals in their four home fixtures in the league this season.
The home team, though, do have a soft spot defensively. They have conceded 12 goals in eight league games, and though only two of these have come at home, they have already lost 4-1 against a somewhat modest Shakhtar Donetsk side in the Champions League this season. Indeed, they’ve not kept a clean sheet in the competition since matchday one last term and are averaging two goals conceded since then.
Celtic, meanwhile, will approach this game with their usual attacking gusto. Ange Postecoglou favours an attacking approach for his team, and after taking the game to Real Madrid in the opening round of matches, they will likewise be forward thinking in this game. It has yielded only one point from their first two matches of the group, but the Hoops have played better than these results might suggest.
While the visiting side carry a threat that is likely to see them find the target, they do have a defensive doubt over Cameron Carter-Vickers, who is vital to their rearguard. They looked shaky without him at the weekend against Motherwell, and clearly there is a significant jump in quality in this game.
Leipzig beat Rangers 1-0 at home in April in the Europa League, but expect this to be a game that produces more goals.
Chelsea v AC Milan
AC Milan are coming into this game in a much better position than they may have expected to in their Champions League group. The Rossoneri are top of the group and have a three-point lead over Chelsea due to their poor start to the campaign.
This match at Stamford Bridge should be Milan’s hardest of the group stage and if they can take all three points in London, they will be in a superb position to make the last 16 for the first time since the 2013/14 season.
They may be in a good state points-wise, but they are not doing well physically. They were without Mike Maignan, Theo Hernandez, Junior Messias, as well as long-term absentees Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Divock Origi and Alessandro Florenzi, for their match against Empoli at the weekend.
During that game, they then lost Davide Calabria, Simon Kjaer, and Alexis Saelemaekers to injury. For that reason, they may play uncharacteristically in this one and sit deep, trying to protect their lead in the table over Chelsea.
The game could then be won by a solitary goal, be that Chelsea unpicking the lock or Milan snatching a winner on the counter-attack when given the chance.
It is not in Stefano Pioli’s nature to play that way, but he may be forced to in order to not risk more injuries and a tired team before their match against Juventus on Saturday.
Manchester City v FC Copenhagen
Manchester City, arguably the strongest team in the world right now, take on a Danish side in a deep crisis. This could end up a massacre from the home side, who enter the match as huge favourites.
The Citizens are coming off a dominant 6-3 demolition of arch rivals Manchester United after hat tricks from both Phil Foden and Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola’s troops are playing better than ever before, and this could very well be the season where they finally put it all together and conquer Europe. Nevertheless, there is a long way to the final, and for now Man City has a lot of matches to play before anything is settled. City have won four games in a row in all tournaments, including impressive victories over Sevilla, Dortmund and aforementioned Man United, and anything but another three points is a fiasco at home. Guardiola is likely to rest some of his key players for this match, but is still expected to field a highly competitive squad.
FC Copenhagen recently sacked head coach Jess Thorup and replaced him with 34-year-old Jacob Neestrup. The new head coach previously worked as assistant, and the club have huge expectations. Neestrup is said to be a Danish version of Julian Nagelsmann with his young age, and Copenhagen expect him to turn things around fast. The reigning Danish champions are currently sitting sixth in the Superliga, but won their match this weekend. It wasn’t pretty, some would even call it lucky, but Copenhagen defeated AGF 1-0 at home after a late Lukas Lerager goal.
Despite the recent victory, we don’t expect Copenhagen to be much of a threat to City. Guardiola’s team is in excellent form at the moment, and this could be ugly. We expect a goal show and odds 1.70 on City to win with three goals or more is great value.
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