The UEFA Champions League returns for week no. 2 on Tuesday/Wednesday, and one of the most intriguing matches is the English Champions Manchester City versus AS Roma, who have began this Serie A season with 4 straight wins, conceding just 1 goal.
Coach, Rudi Garcia, has added another experienced full back this summer in the form of ex-England star, Ashley Cole, to line-up in defence with veteran right-back, Douglas Maicon.
The metronomic and ever reliable Daniele De Rossi is still the heartbeat of this team in the centre of midfield, as the fading powers of the talismanic, Francesco Totti are now confined to late substitute appearances.
Manuel Pellegrini will be going for all three points here after the defeat in Munich, but he will be wary of the Giallorossi’s threat on the counter-attack with the pace of the rejuvenated, Gervinho and the finishing power of Destro. Roma’s 5-1 win over CSKA Moscow in week no.1 means they could edge their way through this Group on goal difference if they can pick up a draw at Eastlands.
I’d plump for a small to medium sized bet on an Under 2.5 goal result at 2.18 Euro odds or 59/50 UK.
The other stand-out tie on Tuesday night is a repeat of the exciting quarter-final from two seasons ago between Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona. The Catalan Giants have tightened up at the back under new manager, Luis Enrique, not letting a single goal in so far in the new campaign.
The nature of the Group stage can produce some cautious, turgid football, and we are unlikely to see the drama and attacking openness of the 1st leg at the Parc des Princes in April 2013, which finished 2-2. Laurent Blanc’s PSG outfit rely heavily on the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, (5 from his first 6 games) who missed the Parisians last Ligue Une outing at Caen through injury and may not be available on Tuesday evening.
A draw and a point here for Barca will not be a bad result against their toughest opponents in Group F, and both teams will be confident of picking up maximum points in their remaining fixtures against Ajax and Apoel Nicosia. I’d go for a medium sized stake on an Under 2.5 goal game at 1.95 Euro odds or 19/20 UK.