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Champions League > September 19th


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[TR] [TH] [/TH] [TH=class: firstColumn]Wednesday 19 September 2012[/TH] [TH]Home[/TH] [TH]Draw[/TH] [TH]Away[/TH] [TH=class: bppWidth]BPP[/TH] [/TR] [TR=class: row0] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] Celtic v Benfica (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 3.9 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 3.4 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 2.1 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]102.67 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row1] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] Chelsea v Juventus (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 2.1 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 3.5 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 4 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]101.19 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row0] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] FC Barcelona v Spartak Moscow (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 1.12 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 10 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 23 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]103.24 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row1] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] FC Bayern München v Valencia (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 1.61 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 4 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 6.55 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]102.17 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row0] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] Lille OSC v FC BATE Borisov (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 1.5 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 4.33 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 8 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]102.24 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row1] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] Manchester United v Galatasaray SK (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 1.29 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 5.75 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 11 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]104.00 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row0] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Nordsjælland (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 1.4 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 4.75 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 10 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]102.48 %[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [/TR] [TR=class: row1] [TD]maximize.gif[/TD] [TD=class: firstColumn] Sporting de Braga v CFR Cluj (19:45 BST) [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 1.72 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 3.8 [/TD] [TD=class: selectionBestOdd] 6 [/TD] [TD=class: bppWidth bpp]100.88 %[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE]
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Re: Champions League > September 19th

Shakhtar looks an easy banker here when we look at their winning streak in Ukraine as well as in the Champ league.The odds are not the best but it looks like the safest bet for the day
I don't think that Nordsjaeland should be underestimated just because they are newcomers. As an example I always remind people about Rubin who beat Barcelona at Nou Camp :)
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Re: Champions League > September 19th

I don't think that Nordsjaeland should be underestimated just because they are newcomers. As an example I always remind people about Rubin who beat Barcelona at Nou Camp :)
I don't think it's such an appropriate example.Underestimation is typical for the big teams and Shakhtar are not Real and Barca to underestimate weaker teams especially in a group with Chelsea and Juve.Home games would be vital for them.Nordsjaeland defeat is inevitable.
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Re: Champions League > September 19th As Mustafa said on the other thread that Man.City @ 6.00 to win at Madrid looks a good price, I can say that CFR Cluj at 6-6.5 to win away at Braga or even the draw price at 3.8-4 looks good. CFR Cluj beat the champions of Czech Republic home and away and the champions of Switzerland, Basel home and away to qualify for CL group stage.

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Re: Champions League > September 18th Manchester United-Galatasaray AH-1.5 @1.90 5/10 pinnacle (fair line AH-1.75 @1.80) United won deserved 4-0 against Wigan, resting players like Valencia, Cleverley, Evra, Kagawa and van Persie. Wigan had no chance. They also missed a penalty and van Persie had a huge miss 2m in front of the empty goal. Rooney could be on the bench as well for this match. Galatasaray concede a lot of goals so far. Turkish sides don't do well in European competitions. Odds should drop here. GL

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A lot of these games look like minefields to me. Especially Lille at home to BATE, Munich at home to Valencia - Valencia just look too long, but Munich could very easily win 4-0. Shakhtar at home to the Danish team (please don't ask me to spell it!) just looks like a banker, but IMO that sort of thinking in the CL will send you straight to the poor house. Not a lot is going to be known about the away side as they are new to this level, and I think there will be a lot of pressure and expectation on Shakhtar to get the three points. In these circumstances I'd much rather be on the + 1.5 handicap. I know that a lot of punters will probably look at the short odds on offer, and probably go with -1.5 on the home side to boost the odds, but from experience there's no value in that sort of thinking in the CL. One of two bets I like the look of in the CL first round of group games (the first being arsenal away to Montpellier) is Benfica away to Celtic. Celtic return to the CL after scraping by Finnish and Swedish opponents, but I think benfica are at least a three point step up in quality, compared to that opposition. I would probably have had no hesitation in backing Celtic not to lose in the CL at home when they were managed by Gordon Strachan because they often put in a very good shift, upped their game and battled their way to a result. I don't think Celtic are anywhere near as strong, or most importantly, back able in Europe, as they were back then. I remember a few years ago benfica absolutely took everton apart in the UEFA cup. Celtic just don't look defensively strong as years gone by, and were beaten 2-1 yesterday by St. Johnstone. Any side that lets Rowan vine make them look like mugs doesn't impress me. Also if you look at who the main men are now offensively at Celtic - Anthony stokes, Gary hooper, kris commons, even arguably Giorgios samaras. All these players are championship level players, and are decent at that level, and play well in the SPL because the level of football just isn't as high as it Has been. Now without rangers they have zero competition and won't be tested week in week out, resulting in performances similar to Saturday's lunch time kick off. It was a poor performance, and I don't think they'll offer much against benfica. Ultimately they should have too much class for Celtic to cope with.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Celtic were terrible yesterday and as a result Benfica will probably be a popular bet now but I think they are pretty short and fancy Celtic to get something from the match. Celtic haven't started the domestic campaign well, but we have had lots of injuries and the incentive of qualifying for the CL meant that naturally the main focus was on that knowing that any points dropped in the SPL would be easy to peg back without Rangers in the league. That would explain the results against Ross County and Hibs but not yesterday where Celtic had a pretty much full strength side out bar the injured Samaras and Adam Matthews. We scored early on and looked on the way to a comfortable win before conceding a sloppy goal that unsettled us and really struggled after that. Neil Lennon said afterwards he was going to scream if he heard Champions League mentioned one more time so he obviously believes the Benfica game had been a distraction among the players. Rowan Vine got the winner yesterday and yeah he might have had an unspectacular career, I know he is ex Pompie so you will know better than anyone but you could list a long line of players who have scored against Celtic in the SPL like that, it is the SPL after all and a Hartlepool fan on one of the Celtic forums frequently brings up how poor John Daly was with them if he scores against us for Dundee Utd. While Celtic have been poor in the SPL they have done the job required in qualifying for the CL. Celtic were a bit fortunate to win 2-0 in Helsinborgs in a mixed performance but ultimately won 4-1 and 4-0 on aggregate against Helsinki and Helsinborgs so I'm not exactly sure how this constitutes ' scraping by' these opponents. Regarding the argument of Celtic's main attacking threats being Championship level players, I think thats open to debate. Anthony Stokes is injured and wouldn't be first pick anyway, Gary Hooper has been pretty poor recently but at his best is easily capable of playing in the Premiership and Southampton were very keen to sign him in this transfer window, Kris Commons is another player that could easily step up and has started the season really well. Celtic have just sold Ki Sung Yeung to Swansea, a player who was unable to regularly hold down a starting spot when everyone was fit. Time will tell there how he performs but if a guy who wasn't a regular starter is bought by a Premiership club I feel the other players mentioned are capable of playing at that level. Same would apply to Shaun Maloney who left for Wigan. As for Georgios Samaras, he is injured and is a massive loss for Celtic as in the European games he has been arguably our best outfield player and his pace and lungbursting runs have been a great outball and he scored in both the away qualifiers. Very much once the whipping boy and many will remember his spell at Man City but he is an experienced international and has been outstanding in the last year. Celtics striking options for Benfica will be Gary Hooper, Tony Watt an 18 year old who has burst onto the scene and been very impressive, Miku the new Venezuelan striker signed on loan from Getafe, has a decent pedigree but may take time to adjust and Lassad signed from Deportivo who is still a bit of an unknown. The new signings Miku in particular I have high hopes for, this guy scored in the Bernabeu and against Barca last season and Tim Vickery spoke highly of him, it might be a bit early for him to make an impact judging by yesterday but clearly the guy has ability. Even if you were right about the standard of player being Championship level thats not to say they can't make an impact. You mentioned backing Celtic under Gordan Strachan but for me there isn't much between the current side and the ones managed by him in the CL. The last time we reached the last 16 of this competition Barry Robson scored against Barcelona in the last 16 tie ( went onto play for Middlesbrough), Scott McDonald scored for Celtic at home against Man Utd & AC Milan ( went onto play for Middlesbrough), the defence was poor with Stephen McManus, Gary Caldwell and Lee Naylor regular fixtures of the side who spent their careers at Championship/ lower Premiership sides. Paul Telfer, Stephen McManus and Lee Naylor were all part of a team that got to the last 16 and kept clean sheets home and away v AC Milan in the last 16. Celtic have played Benfica twice at home in the Champions League group stages twice winning 3-0 and 1-0. In the 3-0 victory goals were scored by Kenny Miller and Stephen Pearson, both of whom again have spent large parts of their careers in the Championship so that type of player can still make an impact in the Champions League. In the other thread Jase you said there's not much point comparing league form to CL form. Yes Celtic don't have Rangers in the league now and your right you may well see poor performances like the one yesterday at Perth but all focus will be on this one and this is a young, hungry side who are wanting to test themselves on this stage. As for Benfica, I don't know too much about them. They have a squad packed with quality as you'd expect with the likes of Aimar and Oscar Cardozo but Portuguese sides don't tend to travel well, as already mentioned Celtic have beaten Benfica 3-0(2006) and 1-0(2007) and in both those groups Celtic beat Benfica to second spot to qualify. How relevant are these results? Well looking back at those Celtic sides I don't think the quality has changed that much so I'd say its worth taking into consideration. Also Benfica have lost some players in this window selling Javi Garcia to Man City and Witsel to Zenit and Saviola to Malaga and experienced centre back Luisao is due to miss the game after being suspended for assaulting a referee. These players look like big losses to Benfica. Benfica are a good side and technically they will be better and should have more of the ball but I fancy Celtic to get a result, we are always strong at home in Europe and in this section we have two very winnable games, this one v Benfica and the last at home to Spartak Moscow, we will struggle away and the two Barcelona games will most likely be about trying to give a good account of ourselves. Celtic have won twice before against Benfica at home and having not had Champions League football for four years the atmosphere should be exceptional and the fans are well up for this one. The odds for the away win look short for me so I'll be looking to back Celtic in some form.

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I suppose it's subjective to say the level of players Celtic can put out are championship quality, so on that point I make it clear that it's purely a personal opinion. Regarding the scraping through comment - I merely meant that over the four legs I didn't feel that Celtic looked particularly strong, and had they been playing slightly stronger opposition they wouldn't be at this stage at all, which could have easily happened, as it's the luck of the draw at the end of the day that determines a lot of things. Again from a personal point of view I've been much more confident in backing Celtic when they have looked stronger across the park, and look like they can up their game to a battling performance. At the minute they don't look defensively strong either, and I can't see them not conceding to benfica. Celtic had that tremendous record at home in Europe didn't they? Where they were getting results against Milan and Barcelona. I think they've moved backwards from that era personally. And yes I do say that league form isn't always relevant, which is why I haven't based my pick purely on how they're playing in the league because I know a lot of sides, especially Celtic, will be looking for CL progression above even their league position. Celtic due to the demise of rangers won't, or shouldn't have too much difficulties in winning their league, but I wouldn't expect them to get the same points haul they would when being challenged by them. This is why I'm basing my selection on more than league performances. Overall I just feel that if Celtic are to even achieve one point they need to up their performance levels significantly, and tighten their defensive unit in order to achieve their aims. Don't forget as well that Helsinki were leading In their first leg tie, and I personally felt that over the two legs Celtic made hard work of them and helsingborgs. It showed too as Helsinki were routinely hammered by athletic Bilbao in the Europa league. Celtic never looked anywhere near that level of ability. But it is all about opinions and I wish you luck in your selection :)

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Yeah the Helsinki home tie was a bit of a struggle but you need to remember that was our first competitive game of the season, the goal we conceded was a bit unlucky but we did well to come back from that. I take your point, it was hard work at times in these games but I felt particularly against Helsinborgs at home we had another gear if we needed it and weren't ever really troubled. As for Bilbao, yeah I saw that result aswell, they are a few levels above us though as shown by their run in the EL last season. Regarding the opposition we were in the Champions side of the draw and seeded which meant yeah we did have a very favourable draw in comparison with the non champions section where we lost to Arsenal and Braga in recent years. Helsinborgs was a decent draw but generally there were no top sides and certainly it means we can hopefully consistently get to this stage, the toughest would have been Cluj and Limassol who we were lucky to avoid but teams like Anderlecht qualified through that route aswell. Your right we will need to up it performance wise but I do feel that these players have been holding something back and hopefully they will show what they are capable of.

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Points taken on board :) Although you have to wonder, if Bilbao are a few levels above Celtic, where do benfica come? If there was a sliding scale of overall team abilities I'd have benfica above Bilbao, just. I know united were poor last season in the CL but I remember benfica's performances against them as pretty impressive. They looked strong then, and very controlled, organised... Technically they looked much the better passing unit. Now, I know a lot could have changed in a year, but I can't see benfica being hugely different in barely a year's time.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Benfica are a better team certainly but I think having home advantage is a major leveller, they have lost a few players aswell and haven't played for 17 days. Both Bilbao and Benfica look weaker than last year but certainly based on aggregate against Man Utd, Benfica v Man Utd would be 3-3 whereas Bilbao beat Man Utd 5-3 over two legs.

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You could argue though that benfica are more used to the rigours of a long championship challenging season in conjunction with a european campaign. I remember Bilbao were already in decline last season, as their league form suffered badly. Benfica have started this season positively, they still finished second only to Porto last season, and currently they still sit top. All that of course will have little baring on the game in question, but it does demonstrate that benfica are probably much stronger than Bilbao, who are a few levels above Celtic already.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Something I would always consider with Celtc, as I would with Rangers, is the home advantage on CL nights. Both teams have held their own or better v the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United, Milan, Inter, Porto and more over the recent-ish years. BUT there is just not enough quality in that team to earn anything v Benfica for me. Lennon has still to prove his tactical skills and they have been found wanting this season on a few occasions. Benfica AH -1 3.00 Bet365

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Celtic vs Benfica over 2.5 goals 2.24@Pinnacle 2/10 This looks a really difficult group where any points gained,Especially away from home,Will be seen as a big step towards the next round.For that reason I can see Benfica starting off cautiously,Which might be why the odds are so high for goals in this game.However Benficas attacking line-up right now is on fire,With Cardozo and Rodrigo combining for 6 goals in as many games.It's going to be hard for the coach to leave either out with the form they're both in,And even if he does,I can still see Benfica scoring. Celtic lost yesterday.Even though they probably had one eye on this game,I would find it worrying that they lost against such inferior opposition with a strong line-up.They'll really want the win here.With a trip to Moscow coming up followed by back-to-back games vs Barce,Points in the next few games are likely to be scarce. Of course theres a reason the odds are 2.24 here,Its the first game and I wouldn't be surprised to see both coaches happy with a low scoring draw if it ends up that way.Its a competitive price.I personally fancy Benfica to take the spoils here,But their price is slightly short.If they were to score in the first hour I've no doubt the game would open up.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Afternoon all, Having read through what's been said so far, I felt compelled to give my thoughts on some informative, some interesting and some baffling statements and opinions which have been offered thus far. Firstly, the statement whereby Jase claimed Celtic "scraped" by their qualifying rounds has baffled me. I know later on you go on to say it was the level of performances which lead you to claim they scraped by, however no matter the level of performances, a 4-0 and 4-1 aggregate win over the two ties tells a different story. You claim this opposition was pretty weak and had Celtic faced slighty stronger opposition then they wouldn't have been in the CL proper at all......pretty vold statement to make and at the end of the day you can only beat who is in front of you. A 4-0 and 4-1 aggregate win suggests the Scottish side got the job done, which is what they were asked to do. Secondly, personally I am still to be convinced about this Celtic teams stock at this level. In a sense I agree with Spirit in that there shouldn't be much difference in glass between today's squad and the squad of Gordon Strachan's era. However, this current side are untested in this environment and it will be interesting to see how some of the newer/younger guys adapt to it. Will the likes of young Forrest, Mulgrew, Wanyama, Forster even Gary Hooper to a certain extent thrive or hide in a tie like this? I have a feeling with the backing of the crowd (which is sure to be a sell out) and the first experience of a Champions League night under the lights of Celtic Park for many of these players, they will gain an extra spring in their step and stand toe to toe with the Portugese side. They need the belief that they can win this tie and if they have that then there is absolutely no reason why guys like James Forrest cannot cause the away side many problems. Thirdly, I think it is a major mistake to read anything into Celtic domestic form thus far. Many of the Celtic players have had one eye on the CL proper for many weeks now, I think the team lacked the urgency and tempo at the weekend they required to get the job done. The Saints went out with the belief Celtic were there for the taking and credit where credit's due they took their opportunities. Make no mistake though, Benfica will be facing a completely different beast come Wednesday night! I will not make the mistake of letting my personal emotions effect my betting trends so it's a no bet for me on this one although deep down I, like many Celtic fans, believe we can pick up something against Benfica.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th You definitely are underrating Celtic, Jase. Championship standard? Really? We have around 20 international players in our squad, which Championship side can boast that? Do you think a Championship side could be unbeaten against the Serie A leaders (Udinese) home and away? We were only beaten by the eventual winners - Atletico, last season in the Europa League. Only Barcelona have beaten us in 20 home games too. I can assure you the atmosphere will be absolutely electric, Benfica won't have experienced anything like that since the last time they came to Celtic Park probably.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th Regarding Celtic - Benfica, I think most of you are right fancying Celtic to get something from this game. If you ask me I'll say Benfica is way too short around 2.10. History tells us that portuguese teams struggle in Glasgow. Benfica lost their last games there and many other big names too. You might say that these times are way back. And you are right but I think the atmosphere is still the same and it will be a difficult match. Specially if we consider that Benfica will miss 4 big names, all first choices: Luisão (suspended?), Javi Garcia(M. City), Witsel (Zenit) and Maxi Pereira (Suspended). Benfica lost their defensive midfield and will have only Matic (regular second choice). As for the defense: - they will not have their regular RB (Maxi Pereira) playing instead the youngster Cancelo (no CL experience) - CB will be Garay and probably Miguel Vitor (a third choice) - LB is a adapted winger, Melgarejo, since Benfica couldn't manage to get a quality LB in the Summer I see some problems for Benfica in their defense. And if Luisão plays (FIFA will give an answer today) I still think Celtic can at least take a draw. Let's face it Celtic will try to get 4 or 6 points at home. I don't expect them to take points with Barça or in Moscow or Lisbon.

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Benfica won't have experienced anything like that since the last time they came to Celtic Park probably.
But benfica play in a massive stadium every other week, and play huge games against Porto, and have played European football for xx amount of years. I think it's a bit of an arrogant assumption to suggest they won't be able to cope with the atmosphere.... Also since losing to Barcelona, Celtic have lost to hamburg, athletico Madrid, arsenal, and dynamo Moscow at home. I've said I don't have as much confidence in backing Celtic now as I did when they were getting results against Barcelona and Milan among others (and remember they still lost twice to barcelona at home during that period). I've said above that whether or not Celtic have championship players is purely subjective and you could never really prove definitively either way. All I know is that Celtic often look in the championship for players to sign, and are never linked with top players. You're assuming though that I'm saying the championship is a poor level - its not. But in relation to benfica and the Portuguese league I think most would agree there is a slight difference. The Debate isn't worth continuing IMO as there isn't really any other side of the coin. The only other opposite argument to my own is that Celtic raise their game at home and that Celtic park is totally different to play in than any other stadia.
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Re: Champions League > September 19th

But benfica play in a massive stadium every other week, and play huge games against Porto, and have played European football for xx amount of years. I think it's a bit of an arrogant assumption to suggest they won't be able to cope with the atmosphere.... Also since losing to Barcelona, Celtic have lost to hamburg, athletico Madrid, arsenal, and dynamo Moscow at home. I've said I don't have as much confidence in backing Celtic now as I did when they were getting results against Barcelona and Milan among others (and remember they still lost twice to barcelona at home during that period). I've said above that whether or not Celtic have championship players is purely subjective and you could never really prove definitively either way. All I know is that Celtic often look in the championship for players to sign, and are never linked with top players. You're assuming though that I'm saying the championship is a poor level - its not. But in relation to benfica and the Portuguese league I think most would agree there is a slight difference. The Debate isn't worth continuing IMO as there isn't really any other side of the coin. The only other opposite argument to my own is that Celtic raise their game at home and that Celtic park is totally different to play in than any other stadia.
You make a few good points Jase but I should have made that clearer - when I said Barca are the only team to win at Celtic Park, I meant in the Champions League proper. Qualifiers or Europa League games infront of a half empty stadium just don't have the same vibe or atmosphere to them. You may well be right though, Benfica are a quality side and did knock Man Utd out last season (and arguably deserved to win at Old Trafford). Could argue they were unlucky not to knock Chelsea out and reach the Semi's too. If I was hard-pushed I'd say a 1-1 draw seems the most plausible outcome.
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Re: Champions League > September 19th Some interesting facts :)

  • Celtic have lost only two of their 20 Champions League games at home, both against Barcelona.
  • Benfica have lost their two Champions League trips to Celtic, conceding four goals and failing to score a single one.
  • Benfica have won only four of their 26 Champions League away games.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th

Some interesting facts :)
:clap These are the facts. Everything else is speculation and opinions. Parkhead is a very tough place to go, it has always been. I don't think that either Celtic has lowered so much their standards over the last few years, or Benfica has risen theirs. Of course, the Portuguese are more technical and generally it is logical to assume that they are the better team of the two. But price of 2.1 for away win is at best correct price, and at worst - it is overestimation of Benfica. I definitely don't think that away victory at Parkhead should be priced lower than that, unless we speak about some of the few best teams in Europe.
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Re: Champions League > September 19th FC Nordsjaelland (FCN) face a tough challenge in Ukraine. They come as underdogs and they will have a hard time against an in-form Donetsk team with straight wins and a lot of players contributing to the scoring. FCN is quite an interesting Danish team. They try to play like Barcelona - with passing-passing-passing - even under pressure and through fully packed midfields. They also tend to short-pass their attacking play - especially missing a target striker in their 4-3-3 formation. Some expect them to field more of a 4-5-1 with a defensive approach in Champions League (at least away from home) - but this just doesn't suit them as they are an attacking team with lots of great technical players. In Denmark they are in 90% of their games the dominating team in ball possession, but they don't always manage to convert it to dangerous chances. Their defence is not as solid as last year. They lost NT player Bjelland (DC) to Twente and Okore (DC - danish NT backup) hasn't hit his best yet this season. They look vulnerable when under pressure. They are 3rd in the Danish Superligaen - and they lost to championship rivals FC Copenhagen in the weekend (2-1 after leading at half time). In the summer they also sold Mikkelsen - a NT winger - to Greuter Fürth. Also quite a loss. However, they managed to get Joshua John on loan as a replacement (funny enough - from Twente!), and he did well with 5(!) goals in his first two matches. Since then his level decreased to 'normal' standard. They also got Nordstrand back as striker from FC Copenhagen but he is also struggling to find his old goal-getter-form. A recent signing - Kamal Isahh from Rennes - is yet to make his impact on the team. Summing up: Squad isn't on par with last season. They haven't slammed money on the table to bring CL-ready players but continue to focus on youth talents. Note: They are playing their home games in CL in the arena of FC Copenhagen (national arena) about 25 km from their domestic stadion in Farum. This should be' much of a disadvantage however - as travel distances in Denmark are very small :) Note 2: They just finished the building of the first artifical pitch for league games in Denmark, but with only few games on this turf, the normal turf in Copenhagn should be a disadvantage either. I have a hard time seeing them get away with anything from Donetsk with the way they play in mind - and it could very well get ugly unless they really take the Ukrainian team by surprise.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th I am thinking there may be some value in Juventus on Wednesday. I am hoping there is some further movement, but I'm certainly interested in the +0.25 market - ideally +0.5. Juve are at full-strength for this match like so: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonnucci, Chiellini; Lichsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Giovinvo, Vucinic Rather unusually for an Italian side (recently at least), they have the physical strength and pace to match EPL sides. Besides, Pirlo and Giovinco every player can more than hold his own in that respect. The 3-5-2 is flexible, and I am sure that we will see the full-backs helping out defensively for periods of the 90 minutes. Juve have been used to running matches with their CM, and while I think they will have success - I doubt it is possible to shut out Chelsea completely. The CM is the key area in this match I think. Lampard and Mikel are not the best movers out there, and Juve's trio are a well-oiled machine. Juve aren't the typical counter-attacking side so I think they will try to assert themselves as best they can without being reckless. Despite their great defensive record there are gaps to be found in the back 3 - mainly through being counter-attacked themselves. I can foresee them playing quite a tight and measured game in this one, and seeing how they get on. Gio/Vuci are not prolific scorers, and certainly not poachers, which is a concern. It doesn't seem like a match for Giovinco to shine, but he has far more magic than Matri, which is why he may well get the nod. Juve are an extremely solid team, physically and mentally, so I expect a very tough match for Chelsea. I'm happy to wait and hope I get the chance to back them as dark horses in this one.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th

I am thinking there may be some value in Juventus on Wednesday. I am hoping there is some further movement' date=' but I'm certainly interested in the +0.25 market - ideally +0.5. Juve are at full-strength for this match like so: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonnucci, Chiellini; Lichsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah; Giovinvo, Vucinic Rather unusually for an Italian side (recently at least), they have the physical strength and pace to match EPL sides. Besides, Pirlo and Giovinco every player can more than hold his own in that respect. The 3-5-2 is flexible, and I am sure that we will see the full-backs helping out defensively for periods of the 90 minutes. Juve have been used to running matches with their CM, and while I think they will have success - I doubt it is possible to shut out Chelsea completely. The CM is the key area in this match I think. Lampard and Mikel are not the best movers out there, and Juve's trio are a well-oiled machine. Juve aren't the typical counter-attacking side so I think they will try to assert themselves as best they can without being reckless. Despite their great defensive record there are gaps to be found in the back 3 - mainly through being counter-attacked themselves. I can foresee them playing quite a tight and measured game in this one, and seeing how they get on. Gio/Vuci are not prolific scorers, and certainly not poachers, which is a concern. It doesn't seem like a match for Giovinco to shine, but he has far more magic than Matri, which is why he may well get the nod. Juve are an extremely solid team, physically and mentally, so I expect a very tough match for Chelsea. I'm happy to wait and hope I get the chance to back them as dark horses in this one.[/quote'] You read very good the match. I have to mark the good games of the new entry Asamoah...a very very strong player! Is true than Giovinco and Vucinic are not prolific scorers, but the team is not concenteted che scores only by the forwards, but include all the players. In the last 3/4 games, they are 9 players who scores. Maybe tomorrow Conte can put Isla in the pitch....and the midfield would be incredible: Isla-Vidal-Pirlo-Marchisio-Asamoah I'm going to try Juventus to win this match @3,6 at bet365 the formation of Juventus may be this one: Buffon Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini Lichtsteiner(Isla?)-Vidal-Pirlo-Marchisio-Asamoah Giovinco-Vucinic
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Re: Champions League > September 19th I don't think Isla will play tomorrow, he definitely won't start anyway. He had a severe injury and has yet to play a game. I don't think he would be risked in such a huge match. Lichsteiner is a very solid player anyway. The more I think about it, the more I like Juventus in this match. I think they have to assert some level of control and push Ramires, Hazard and Mata back as much as they can through high pressure off the ball. This is a good part of Juve's game, so it shouldn't be a problem. The odds are holding firm atm.

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Re: Champions League > September 19th The fact it's that Celtic plays againt a weak team tomorrow, Benfica lost 4 men of the great defense they had last year (Javi Garcia to City, Witsel to Zenit, Luisão suspended for 3 months and Maxi Pereira). Melgarejo it's the left-defender but i've seen all the games this year and i can tell that he has to grow very much.. he is good attacking, but terrible in defense (!) that it's very much important for this game. The only member in defence that i can tell it's good in the moment it's Garay (ex-Real Madrid) Miguel Vitor will substitute Maxi Pereira, i like the "kid" but he don't have the experience to compete in Champions League in this moment (last year he was in the bench all the time) and Matic (the substitute of Javi Garcia) needs time to raise as a player. Celtic it's strong in home and i can tell that a draw it's the more likely result to this game, or a Celtic win? Lay Benfica 2.2@ (I see the odd get to 2.7@ at least before the game begin)

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Re: Champions League > September 19th I'm in agreement that Celtic scraped through qualifying to some degree. They won the 1st leg in Sweden when they could easily have conceded at least 3 but their opponents could not finish the easiest of chances that night (who knows what would have happened if they could). That's hardly inspiring form when taking another step up in level tomorrow with the same side who couldn't defend over there. Celtic will be relying far too heavily on their home form to even reach the Europa League and the players know that so that means plenty of pressure - not exactly a healthy thought to go in to a game with. The atmosphere could carry Celtic to a result but it isn't something Benfica are not used to so I may take the away side in some shape or form.

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