It has been long 3 weeks since we have seen any UEFA Champions League action. With the international soccer schedule out of the way, everything is ready for the return of the UEFA Champions League action. After a Matchweek 2 full of surprises such as Napoli 1-0 win at home versus Liverpool or CSKA Moscow’s 1-0 win at home versus the defending champions Real Madrid, Matchweek 3 should add more fuel to the fire.
Matchweek 3 is usually the turning point in the UEFA Champions League Group Stage. The lucky few teams might already secure their Knockout Phase berth, while the others have often treacherous path in front of them to make it. With plenty of attractive matches this week, I had a tough time selecting matches to write about but I am sure that you will enjoy them. If you would like to know more about the lineups, main storylines and what to expect from each matchup, along with some betting advice, feel free to read on.
Manchester United vs Juventus
Tuesday, October 23rd 21:00 CET
Manchester United will host Juventus at the Old Trafford this Tuesday, in a classic UEFA Champions League matchup of two powerhouses in European soccer. Manchester United has been suffering this season, while Juventus know nothing but wins. A great set up for a fantastic match.
Manchester United are in the middle of their worst start in the English Premier League history and they are currently in the 10th place with 14 points in their opening 9 matches. Things have gone a bit better in the UEFA Champions League where they have 4 points from their opening 2 matches, a 0:3 win at Young Boys and a 0-0 draw at home versus Valencia.
Juventus have been clinical this season. Up until the last weekend, Juventus had a perfect record with 8 wins in as many matches. After a 1-1 draw with Genoa this weekend, they are still undefeated and alone in the 1st place in the Italian Serie A. They have been equally as impressive in the UEFA Champions League with a perfect record of 2 wins in 2 opening matches, 0-2 defeat of Valencia and 3:0 win against Young Boys.
Manchester United Provisional Starting XI
GK – De Gea
Defense – Shaw, Smalling, Lindelof and Valencia
Midfield – Matic, Mata and Pogba
Attack – Martial, Sanchez and Lukaku
Juventus Provisional Starting XI
GK – Szczesny
Defense – Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini and Sandro
Midfield – Bentancur, Matuidi and Pjanic
Attack – Dybala, Mandzukic and Ronaldo
Manchester United enter this match missing the services of defender Marcus Rojo, who is out with a knock. A number of players are questionable for the matches as well, including Lingard, Fellaini, Rashford, and McTominay. The only injury concern for Juventus squad is the midfielder Sammy Khedira, who is out with a thigh injury.
Manchester United have really struggled at the back of their defense this season, allowing 16 goals in 9 matches in the English Premier League. They have fared far better in the UEFA Champions League, where they are yet to concede a goal but they haven’t played against a quality offense that Juventus is going to unleash on them this Tuesday.
Juventus have made UEFA Champions League a priority this season. They are the overwhelming favorites to defend their Serie A title in Italy but make no mistake, their efforts will be focused on winning the UEFA Champions League, while they still have Mandzukic and Ronaldo in their primes. In Serie A they have scored 19 goals in 9 matches, while allowing only 6. In the UEFA Champions League, they have been even more impressive, with 5 goals scored and zero allowed.
Manchester United vs Juventus Odds
Manchester United vs Juventus Pick
Manchester United and Valencia have met in UEFA Champions League on 8 previous occasions but all of those matches took place between 1996 and 2003. The last time two sides have played, Manchester United ran out as winners 0:3 in Turin. Overall, Manchester United have won 4 out of those 8 matches, Juventus have won 3 and 1 match has ended up in a draw.
4 out of those 8 matches have ended up with more than 2.5 goals scored in them, but it is important to note that the last 3 meetings all ended up with more than 2.5 goals scored. Also, 4 out of the last 5 matches played at Old Trafford between the two sides, both teams have scored.
This should be a tough and gritty match between the two sides that are mainly concerned with protecting their goal. Juventus are notorious when it comes to playing it safe on the road, especially against other powerhouses. Manchester United have faired poorly against quality opponents this season, so I believe this one is headed for a draw.
Barcelona vs Inter Milan
Wednesday, October 24th 21:00 CET
Barcelona will host Inter Milan at Camp Nou this Wednesday in another intriguing UEFA Champions League matchup from Matchweek 3. Barcelona has struggled recently winning just 2 matches of their last 5 and they will be without the services of Lionel Messi in this one. Inter Milan have turned a corner after a rough start to the season and have won last 7 straight and 8 out of the last 9 matches.
Barcelona has hit a rough patch in the Spanish La Liga after a strong opening to the season and have won just 1 match out of their last 5. They are still in the 1st place with 18 points, but a number of teams are breathing down their neck. On the other hand, they have been perfect so far in the UEFA Champions League with 2 wins from their last 2 matches.
Inter Milan had a rough start to their season in the Italian Serie A as they have won only 1 out of their first 4 matches. Since then, they have pulled off an incredible streak of 7 straight wins, 5 in the Italian Serie A and 2 in the UEFA Champions League.
Barcelona Provisional Starting XI
GK – Ter Stegen
Defense – Semedo, Lenglet, Pique and Alba
Midfield – Busquets, Arthur and Rakitic
Attack – Suarez, Coutinho and Dembele
Inter Milan Provisional Starting XI
GK – Handanovic
Defense – de Vrij, Skriniar, Vrsaljko and Asamoah
Midfield – Brozovic, Vecino, Perisic, Nainggolan and Politano
Attack – Icardi
Barcelona has been hit by an injury bug and will miss the services of their best and most important player Lionel Messi, who has suffered a broken hand. In addition to that, defenders Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are out due to a knee and muscle injury as well. Inter Milan, on the other hand, should be fully healthy for this one with only midfielder Raja Nainggolan facing a fitness test before the match, but should be OK to go.
Barcelona has struggled defensively this season allowing 11 goals in the opening 9 matches in the Spanish La Liga, far worse compared to their last season’s defense which ranked No. 1 in the league. In the UEFA Champions League, they have also allowed 2 goals in 2 matches.
Inter Milan are a different story. They have been quite stout at the back, allowing 6 goals in the opening 9 matches in the Italian Serie A. They did allow 3 goals in the UEFA Champions League, but those came at the hands of Tottenham Hotspurs and PSV Eindhoven who are well known as offensive powerhouses in European soccer.
Barcelona vs Inter Milan Odds
Barcelona vs Inter Milan Pick
Barcelona and Inter have met on 6 previous occasions in the UEFA Champions League, with Barcelona winning 3 of those, Inter Milan winning 1 and 2 matches ending up in a draw. The last time the two sides have met was in 2010 in UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals, with Inter Milan coming out on top after a 3-1 home win and 1-0 away loss.
Only 2 out of the 6 matches between Barcelona and Inter Milan had more than 2.5 goals scored. Also, it is important to note that only 1 out of those 6 matches had both teams score.
Barcelona has traditionally been ruthless at home versus Italian sides, with 10 wins and 3 draws in the last 13 matches since 2003. Overall, they have won 25 out of the last 27 matches at home in the UEFA Champions League.
Barcelona is the favorite in this one but I believe there is better value in betting on both teams to score. Inter have been in phenomenal form and Barcelona are struggling to protect their net this season. They will also miss two starting defenders in Umtiti and Vermaelen, alongside their main start Lionel Messi.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Napoli
Wednesday, October 24th 21:00 CET
Paris Saint-Germain will welcome Napoli to Parc des Princes in this firecracker of a match in the Group C of the UEFA Champions League. This should be the most entertaining matchup of Matchweek 3 with two sides who have become synonymous with attacking soccer.
Paris Saint-Germain has been an unstoppable force this season, with 10 wins in as many matches in the French Ligue 1, while scoring a whopping 37 goals in those 10 matches. They did lose to Liverpool 3-2 away in the Round 1 of UEFA Champions League, but they took that out on Red Star Belgrade with a 6-1 demolishing at home.
Napoli has been solid in the domestic competition as well, currently in the 2nd place in the Italian Serie A behind the perfect leaders Juventus, with 7 wins in their opening 9 matches. Napoli did disappoint in their Round 1 match in the UEFA Champions League with a dull 0-0 draw away at Red Star Belgrade. Since then, they have won a huge match at home, beating Liverpool 1-0.
Paris Saint-Germain Provisional Starting XI
GK – Areola
Defense – Silva, Marquinhos, Bernat and Meunier
Midfield – Veratti, Rabiot and Di Maria
Attack – Mbappe, Neymar and Cavani
Napoli Provisional Starting XI
GK – Karnezis
Defense – Rui, Koulibaly, Albiol and Hysaj Midfield – Ruiz, Hamsik, Allan and Callejon Attack – Milik and Insignie
Paris Saint-Germain will not have the full squad at their disposal, since they will be missing defenders Danny Alves, Layvin Kurzava and Colin Dagba due to injuries and starting goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon due to a red card suspension. Napoli has their own problems with the injuries to goalkeeper Merat and defender Chiriches.
Paris Saint-Germain has been on a mission this season. They feel they have the best team in Europe and have set their sights on the UEFA Champions League Trophy. Their offense led by the trio of Neymar – Mbappe – Cavani has demolished everything in sight, scoring 37 goals in opening 10 matches of French Ligue 1 and 8 goals in 2 matches in the UEFA Champions League.
Napoli has been efficient as well with 18 goals in 9 matches in the Italian Serie A. They did struggle to score in the UEFA Champions League, with the single goal coming in a home 1-0 win versus Liverpool in the Matchweek 2.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Napoli Odds
Paris Saint-Germain vs Napoli Pick
Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli have never met in an official match in European competitions. Their lone meeting was a friendly match in 2014 on a neutral ground, where Paris Saint-Germain won with a 1-2 result.
Both teams have been in great form recently and there are plenty of fireworks in their matches. Both teams seem to struggle at the back due to their offensive focus and I expect a lot of goals in this one. If you are looking for a sure bet an Over 2.5 Goals bet at 1.47 odds should be your choice. I believe there is a great value to be found in betting on more goals in this one, therefore I would recommend Over 3.5 Goals at 2.10 odds.