CL Return Could Prove Tricky for English Sides

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The four English sides involved in the Champions League all face potentially tricky openers in the group stage.

PSG players celebrating

The Champions League returns this week and the opening round of fixtures promises plenty of drama and excitement from Europe’s elite club competition.

All four English teams face tricky assignments, especially Manchester United as they head to last season’s beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain.

Paris Repeat Unlikely for Red Devils

A 3-1 last-16 victory at the Parc des Princes in March 2019 earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the United job permanently but he is still to convince as the top man at Old Trafford.

Saturday’s 4-1 win at Newcastle got his team back on track but they will need to raise their game again in the City of Lights.

After suffering an inevitable hangover on the back of their final defeat to Bayern Munich in Lisbon, PSG have won their last five in Ligue 1.

Kylian Mbappe has looked especially sharp, netting three times in his last two outings, and will be out to exploit a United defence missing Harry Maguire.

Mbappe is 5/6 to score at anytime, but he himself has talked up the threat of Marcus Rashford in the build-up to the game.

The England international scored the winner in that famous 3-1 win and his presence may be enough to give the visitors a goal, with the home win and both to score 7/5.

Blues’ Defensive Woes Can Be Exposed

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Chelsea kick off their campaign against Europa League holders Sevilla and have questions to answer.

Frank Lampard has again had to deal with criticism of his team’s defensive record following Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Southampton. That scoreline took their tally to 63 goals conceded in 43 matches since the boss took over and the Blues are yet to show signs of any improvement at the back this term.

They do have firepower though and opposite number Julen Lopetegui has highlighted the signings of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz as reasons to believe Chelsea could go all the way.

However, Sevilla are a class outfit and with them expected to play on the counter-attack, over 3.5 goals at 37/20 is worth a look, having occurred in four of their hosts’ last five games.

Reds Begin Life Without VVD

One of the headlines to emerge from the weekend was the knee injury to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and scans have shown the damage sustained in the Merseyside derby could sideline him for the rest of the season.

The Reds defence is not the same without the talismanic Dutchman and Wednesday’s opponents Ajax will aim to take advantage.

Erik ten Hag’s side were again raided for their best talent over the summer, but have still won four of their opening five games in the Eredivisie.

The Dutch champions can undoubtedly put the six-time European Cup winners under pressure but whether they can resist a Liverpool attack that has notched 13 goals in five Premier League games is up for debate.

An away win and both to score looks an option at 29/20.

City Should Have Too Much for Porto

Portuguese champions Porto are back in the Champions League this season and will be hoping to continue their run of having reached the knockout stages of the competition on the last three occasions they have appeared in the pool stages.

The Dragons have every chance with Marseille and Olympiakos making up Group C, but face one of the toughest tests of all with a trip to Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s men have looked out of sorts at times this season but played with real composure in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Recent history is hard to gauge having not faced off since 2012. City won 4-0 on that occasion and a similar result appeals, with another home win and over 3.5 goals 13/10.

*All odds correct at time of writing

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