Real Madrid v Celtic
While they’ve already qualified, defeat to Leipzig last week means Real Madrid require a win here to guarantee top spot in the group. That 3-2 Leipzig defeat was their first of the season across all competitions, and they followed that up with poor 1-1 home draw with Girona at the weekend, though we’d expect that mini rut to stop here as Los Blancos haven’t failed to win three successive outings in over a year now.
Celtic have been in phenomenal form domestically, winning 13 of their 14 such matches, though the gulf in class between Scottish football and the European stage has been evident as they’re so far winless from their five games in this group (D2-L3). Both of their points so far have come against Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk, while since the turn of the century, Celtic have a poor W2-D5-L28 away from home in the Champions League (excl qualifying), with their wins coming against Anderlecht and Spartak Moscow.
They’ve conceded 26 goals across their last five such defeats, and the handicap appeals again in a game that Madrid have to win.
REAL MADRID -2 HANDICAP
Man City v Sevilla
Man City still look the strongest candidates to win this season’s competition, though there’s been stark contrast between their home and away form. Indeed, on the road, City are just W4-D4-L1 which is poor by their lofty standards, especially considering they’ve scored just once across the last four of those outings.
That should have little baring here at the Etihad though where they’ve been electric with a W8-D0-L0 record and scoring an average of 4 goals per game in that run. All but one of those results came by at least two clear strikes, though with their fate as first place finishers in this group already secured, that’s not a foregone conclusion.
With that said, Sevilla have been poor on the road this season with a W2-D3-L3 record across all competitions. Their victories have come against Mallorca and Espanyol by narrow one goal margins, while by far the best team they’ve face on the road (Real Madrid) inflicted a 3-1 defeat on them.
The Manchester club have a strong W4-D1-L0 home record in the sixth group game of the Champions League, with three of those four victories coming by at least two clear strikes.
MAN CITY -1 HANDICAP
Chelsea v Zagreb
A 4-1 defeat away to Brighton at the weekend was Graham Potter’s first defeat in charge of his new club. The Blues looked thoroughly uninspired, which was a complete contrast to some of the football they played in midweek against Salzburg. Still, Chelsea remain unbeaten this season at Stamford Bridge and have already topped this group, giving Potter the opportunity to give some fringe players a chance to prove themselves.
Zagreb won the reverse fixture 1-0, which spelled the end for Thomas Tuchel, though since then they’ve lost three of their four Champions League games (drawing at home to Salzburg), while even their domestic form has taken a hit recently as they’ve won just one of their last six matches across all competitions. Excluding their cup result, Zagreb haven’t won by more than a single strike on the road since the opening day of the season, a run that stretches 11 matches, which is poor considering the quality of opposition. The likes of Armando Broja, Dennis Zakaria and Carney Chukwuemeka will be champing at the bit to lay a claim for a starting sport, and we’ll back the former to find the net in what should be a comfortable home win.
CHELSEA –1 HANDICAP
ARMANDO BROJA TO SCORE
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