Chelsea begin the defence of their Champions League crown with a home clash against a decent Juventus team in Group E and in front of their own supporters Roberto Di Matteo’s charges are considered 5/4 favourites by BetVictor to get off to a winning start.
The Italian giants are back in the competition for the first time in a few years and they arrive in West London in confident having starting the current season impressively domestically, on the back of a campaign in which they captured the Scudetto without losing a match.
They’ll make life difficult for the Blues then, led by the tremendous Andrea Pirlo who was a thorn in England’s side in Euro 2012 and likely to set up to frustrate the hosts, the Bianconeri can grab a point at Stamford Bridge, a result Blue Square offer at 23/10.
The contest looks a banker at 7/10 (bet365) to produce fewer than three goals and indeed a 0-0 scoreline at 17/2 courtesy of Skybet isn’t out of the question, although Fernando Torres’, rated by Coral at 11/5 to notch at any time, will have other ideas. Alternatively Totesport hand the Serie A champs a goal start at 8/11.
At Old Trafford, Manchester United are a safe bet at 1/3 with Paddy Power to see off Galatasaray, despite looking shaky in last year’s competition. The Turkish side haven’t taken part in Europe’s top competition for a few years and their last Champions League away win came all the way back in 2003 against CSKA Sofia so it’s easy to conclude that they don’t travel well.
The hosts should dominate then and a victory ‘to nil’ at 5/4 with William Hill would appeal were it not for United’s defensive frailty at this stage last season. Instead it’s worth considering the handicaps where Stan James price Sir Alex Ferguson’s men at 9/10 when starting a goal in arrears.
North of the border meanwhile, Celtic’s patchy domestic form doesn’t bode well for the visit of Benfica and the Portuguese outfit are a tempting 23/20 via Paddy Power to pick up maximum points at Parkhead.
Handicap double – Juventus (+1) and Man Utd (-1) – 11/5 (Stan James)