Mark O’Haire’s Champions League Tips – Tuesday’s Matches
It’s 16 years since Arsenal exited the Champions League at the group-stage but following pitiful performances in defeat at Dinamo Zagreb and when welcoming Olympiakos, the Gunners are fighting for their lives in Group F.
Arsenal v Bayern Munich, Tuesday 20 October 2015 (19.45), BT Sport Europe
Arsene Wenger’s men are 14/5 to pocket maximum points from table-topping Bayern Munich on Tuesday, a result that would put the Londoners right back into qualifying contention. But standing in their way is a Bayern side that’s dumped the Gunners out of the competition in 2013 and 2014 with victories at the Emirates along the way.
Arsenal have won just 6/13 (46%) of their Champions League dates at the Emirates since 2012/13 and only managed to shut out their opposition on four occasions across those 13 fixtures. They’re not statistics that will fill Pep Guardiola’s visitors with fear but the capital club displayed plenty of swagger and dominance when dispatching Manchester United and Watford in recent weeks, raising expectations.
The capital club know it’s do-or-die. Should Arsenal fail to collect at least two points from back-to-back battles with the Bundesliga’s finest, they’ll almost certainly not be featuring in the knockout rounds and Wenger has claimed his troops will look to attack Bayern at every opportunity
Time will tell whether that up and at ‘em approach will work but the Gunners are certainly capable of ruffling a few Bavarian feathers. Bayern’s road record in this competition is reasonably unspectacular (W3-D1-L3 since the start of last season) and their 3-0 win at Olympiakos was nowhere near as convincing as the result suggests.
Of course, FC Hollywood are still amongst the best in the business and their record-breaking nine-match run to start the new league season is enhanced to 12 when including all competitions. Beating them is a different matter but I’ve total belief in Arsenal’s ability to at least cause the Germans a few headaches.
Three of the previous four meetings between these two clubs have featured Under 2.5 Goals but it’s difficult to believe another low-scoring encounter will follow. Both sides have players bang in form and recent trends suggest we should be treated to a lively affair.
The Gunners have notched 13 goals in their previous four fixtures with Alexis Sanchez plundering 10 in his most recent six outings for club or country. The hosts have seen at least four goals in four of their past five Champions League matches at the Emirates and that tallies nicely alongside Bayern’s efforts.
Pep’s charges have scored two goals or more in nine of their last 12 Champions League and smashed 19 goals in their last five games. A punt on Over 2.5 Goals has won in each of their last seven in continental competition with four or more goals banking in five of those seven contests.
Both Robert Lewandowski, and to a lesser extend Thomas Muller, have been making headlines in the goalscoring stakes all season and the Pole-German duo have struck 27 goals between them already this season. It would take a brave punter to oppose Bayern getting amongst the goals here and so with Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals both priced prohibitively…
…a play on Over 3.5 Goals at 29/20 looks a decent ploy.
Arsenal v Bayern Munich – Over 3.5 Goals (29/20)
Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea, Tuesday 20 October 2015 (19.45), BT Sport 2
A routine 2-0 win at home to Aston Villa isn’t enough to convince Chelsea knockers that Jose Mourinho’s men are anywhere near back to their best and I tend to agree. The Blues have been chalked up as 6/4 favourites for this trip to the Ukraine and I just can’t be having the Premier League champions at those quotes.
Mourinho was enraged with his players’ poor defending in their 2-1 defeat at Porto and has indicated that he is going to make his side harder to beat. Individual mistakes continue to haunt the Londoners and their W2-D1-L3 road record this term, coupled with their return of just two wins in nine in Europe, makes the Blues far from an attractive proposition.
Hosts Dynamo are available at 9/5 but their 37-match unbeaten streak was torn to shreds on Friday by title-rivals Shakhtar. Serhiy Rebrov’s team went into that fixture on a six-game winning spree that also included six consecutive clean sheets. With that damaging defeat still fresh in the mind, the hosts might well be fragile.
Kiev sit top on of Group C; a late equaliser against Porto followed by a 2-0 win at Maccabi Tel Aviv has given the Ukrainian champions a solid foundation. And Rebrov also has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from at the Olympic Stadium.
But there remains contrasts in their previous continental trends. Dynamo may have W7-D2-L1 in their past 10 European home games but the majority came in the Europa League. When looking at the Champions League, Kiev have only W3-D4-L9 and they’ve kept only four shutouts in 17 matches at Europe’s top table.
With neither side standing out in the main match markets, it may pay to get with the goals. Although six of Chelsea’s last nine on their Champions League travels delivered two goals or fewer, Mou’s Blues kept only three clean sheets. The visitors have managed one shutout in five and have leaked 13 goals in their last six matches on the road. Dynamo only failed to find the back of the net twice in their previous 14 Champions League ties in the Ukrainian capital…
…add Chelsea’s record of scoring in all bar one of 17 matches into the mix and a punt on Both Teams To Score looks a decent chance at 5/6 on Tuesday night.
Dynamo Kiev v Chelsea – Both Teams To Score (5/6)
*Prices correct at time of publication.