Last night was crazy, 35 goals in just the 8 matches and some results that will shape how the group will finish. Real Madrid finally winning 3-2 after it looked like they may have thrown away a two goal lead, Jota rounding off a fantastic display with a hat-trick vs Atalanta in a 5-0 demolition win, Bayern putting RB Salzburg to the sword scoring 4 goals in the last 11 minutes to win 6-2 and earlier in the day, G'ladbach smashed Shakhtar 6-0! We wanted goals and we got them.
Tonight could be a bit tighter, so just the 30 goals perhaps haha
Chelsea have started to gel, their summer signings have caught up to the pace and physicality of the Premier League and they are definitely getting better. They host Renne at 20:00 tonight and will want to extend their clean sheet record. Since Edouard Mendy was signed they have looked a lot more assured at the back and that looks set to continue tonight. There may be some rotation but with their strength in depth I think they will have too much for Rennes. The visitors are in solid form in Ligue 1 and this will be tight.
The other 20:00 KO in the group, Sevilla are hosts to Krasnodar. The Russians were dismantled by Cheleas last week at home 4-0 and I believe Sevilla will pile on the misery. The home team don't have any real injury concerns which cannot be said about the visitors who will be without 5-6 1st team players.
Club Brugge vs Borussia Dortmund 20:00 KO. A hard match to predict, Brugge have made a good start to the group with a win and a draw over Zenit and Lazio respectively and look fairly solid at the back. Dortmund have lost their last four CL away games and might be without Hummels which is a blow as they already have some defensive injury issues, but it has been stated that they have started to pick up some form in Europe and domestically. Dortmund are short favourites for this but I would not be surprised with a draw.
Zenit are home to Lazio in the other group match which kicks off at 20:00. Pot 1 team Zenit sit bottom of the group with no points from their opening two games and have struggled to create openings. Lazio have started the group well and will want to extend their lead at the top of the group with the double header vs Zenit. This game for me depends on the Lazio starting lineup, a covid outbreak in the camp means players will be missing but who and how many will be the key in making any predictions. If Lazio are missing lots of players and Zenit can capitalise, this group remains wide open.
Last week I was wrong in my prediction of Juve giving Barcelona problems, well if Morata could have stayed on-side that may have been true (3 disallowed off-side goals). But as it went, Barcelona dominated throughout with a solid display and youngster Pedri was a standout performer for me, he constantly got the better of experienced Cuadrado.
Barca host Dynamo Kyiv this week and this should be another routine win for them. Barca are a work in progress on and off the pitch but they still have the quality, experience and of course Messi to turn to. Kyiv struggled against Ferencvárosi last week and this will be a much stiffer test. A Barca win puts them clear at the top of the group and lets them rest players for the last 3 games. 20:00 KO
Cristiano Ronaldo's love affair with the CL continues tonight after completing his quarantine period following a positive Covid test result. He returned on the weekend from the bench but was still able to come on and score two goals, he is just a phenomenon, Juventus travel to Hungary tonight and face a Ferencvárosi side who got their first ever CL group stage point last week. The wait for the next points may have to wait as they have some injury problems as well as positive Covid tests. Juventus should be returning to Italy with 3 points and I expect Ronaldo to score. 20:00 KO
Manchester United smashed RB Leipzig last week 5-0 and they are holding all the aces in this group. They now have a double header vs Başakşehir F.K, tonight they travel to Turkey for an early 17:55 KO. A win and a draw should be enough over the two games to secure top spot in my opinion. On the flip side, Man Utd were awful in the 1-0 loss to Arsenal on the weekend and Ole will know his side will need all three points the weekend vs Everton or he may be out of the job before Christmas. Rotating tonight is probably the most sensible option given the troubling start to the Premier League campaign, and they should be able to with their Turkish opponents struggling in a tough group for them. It looks like Mata, Tuanzebe and van de Beek are starting who are all more than capable.
A potential cracker of a game in RB Leipzig vs PSG at 20:00. Both teams look to be fighting for the 3 points to give them the best hopes of qualifying for the knockouts. two attacking teams who did well in last years CL campaign but both were beaten by Man Utd, they will want to put that right. The biggest news for this match is the amount of players missing each team will have. I will have to wait for the line ups once again to make a prediction but currently it looks like Neymar, Di Maria and Icardi will be missing for PSG which could swing the tie in the Germans favour. A very hard game to predict.
A harder round of matches to predict with lots of rotation due to injuries and players infected with Covid.