Tom Carnduff · Tipster
Both Manchester clubs are in Champions League action on Wednesday night. Tom Carnduff looks at the best bets across Europe.
Manchester City v Lyon (Group F, 2000 BST – BT Sport 3)
Manchester City kick-off their Group F campaign at home to Lyon, and Pep Guardiola will fancy his side for victory in this encounter.
The hosts have picked up where they left off last season, winning four and drawing one of their opening five games to the new campaign.
Not many, if any, teams will get much at the Etihad Stadium this season, and Lyon’s current away form does little to suggest that they will fall into that small group.
Olympique have lost to Reims and drawn with Caen in their two games away from the Groupama Stadium so far, that mixed start puts them 7th in the Ligue 1 standings.
The issue with City is that they’re so strong at home, which makes most markets odds-on in their favour.
However, there is value in backing goals, and while over 2.5 may be a short price, a Sergio Aguero assist does look intriguing at 3/1.
The City striker is probably better know for scoring goals, but he does provide more assists than you might think. He already has two this season, alongside the seven he grabbed during 2017/18.
Guardiola’s side have goals throughout given their style of play, with Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling created a dangerous trio with Aguero.
City should grab goals here, which is reflected in the 4/5 price available on there to be four or more in the match, and that will see Aguero heavily involved.
Opta match facts
- This will be the first competitive encounter between Manchester City and Lyon. So far, no French club has ever won away against City in European competition (D1 L2).
- Lyon have only won one of their eight Champions League games against English opposition (D4 L3), it was against Liverpool at Anfield in October 2009.
- This is Manchester City’s eighth consecutive Champions League participation – the longest current run among English clubs, reaching the knockout stages in each of their last five campaigns.
- None of Manchester City’s 42 Champions League group games have ended goalless.
- This is Lyon’s 15th Champions League appearance, more than any other French club. They reached the knockout stages of the competition every season from 2003/04 to 2011/12 but haven’t managed it ever since, failing to exit the group stages in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
- Lyon have won only three of their last 13 Champions League games (W3 D3 L7). o Lyon’s last five Champions League games have only produced five goals (2 for, 3 against).
- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has reached the semi-finals in seven of his nine seasons as manager in the Champions League but hasn’t taken his team to the final since 2011. He will be looking to win a third trophy in the competition and equal Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley’s record.
- Raheem Sterling has scored eight goals and delivered six assists in his last 15 Champions League starts for Manchester City.
- Lyon striker Moussa Dembélé scored three goals in his first four Champions League games but has since found the net only once in six games, all with Celtic.
Young Boys v Manchester United (Group H, 2000 BST – BT Sport 2)
The pressure has eased on Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho with his side bouncing back from defeats against Brighton and Tottenham with consecutive victories over Watford and Burnley.
They’ve got a more favourable tie to kick off this season’s European campaign, and that could see game time handed to those who need it.
According to Tuesday’s papers, this fixture should see Marcus Rashford handed a start, and there is definitely value in backing him to strike anytime.
The 20-year-old has been limited to substitute appearances for the majority of this season, although he missed last week’s win at Vicarage Road after being sent off against Burnley.
He has been in good form though, scoring two in two for England during the last international break and he will be key if United are to wrap up victory away from home.
It’s been a great start for Young Boys in the Swiss League, sitting top of the table having won all six games this season.
This will be a much tougher test though, with Young Boys’ poor record against English clubs highlighting the gulf in quality between the two sides.
Mourinho’s men will be eager for victory here, and Rashford is more than equipped to get himself onto the scoresheet.
Opta match facts
- This will be the first ever meeting between BSC Young Boys and Manchester United in any competition.
- This will be Young Boys’ first European Cup/Champions League campaign since 1986/87, and their first since the competition was rebranded in 1992.
- This is Manchester Utd’s 22nd Champions League participation, the most for an English side and the joint-fourth most after Real Madrid, Barcelona and Porto (23).
- BSC Young Boys will be hosting an English in major European competition for the first time since February 2015 when they faced Everton in the last 32 of the Europa League – the Swiss champions lost 1-4 that day.
- Young Boys have won just one of their previous six matches against a side from England (D1 L4), although that victory did come at home, a 3-2 win over Tottenham in the first leg of the 2010/11 Champions League qualifying encounter.
- Manchester United have only ever faced one side from Switzerland in European competition – FC Basel. They have won two, drawn two and lost two of their previous six encounters.
- Manchester United have lost on their last two trips to Switzerland in the Champions League, 1-2 in December 2011 and 0-1 in November 2017, both to FC Basel.
- Despite being eliminated in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, Young Boys’ last home game in the European Cup/Champions League was a victory against Real Madrid in a first round tie (1-0 in September 1986).
- Manchester United have won just three of their last 14 away games in the Champions League (D5 L6) and have scored just one goal in their last three such matches (W1 D1 L1).
- Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has scored five goals in his previous two appearances against Young Boys in European competition, including a hat-trick in his last visit to the Stade de Suisse in a 4-1 win for Everton in the 2014/15 Europa League.
Valencia v Juventus (Group F, 2000 BST – BT Sport Extra 2)
Group F also sees Valencia take on Juventus with the Italian giants keen to try and rival United for top spot at the end of this stage of the competition.
Given the contrasting form of these two sides, it’s difficult to see anything other than an away win here.
Valencia are still waiting for their first win of the season after three draws sees them sit in 17th in the La Liga standings, level on points with Vallecano in the last relegation spot.
Juventus, on the contrary, have started the new Serie A campaign as expected. They’ve won four from four, scoring nine goals in the process.
Cristiano Ronaldo had struggled for goals, but his brace in the win over Sassuolo last time out will only benefit him in the long-run as he looks to settle in at a new club following a lengthy spell at Real Madrid.
This competition has felt like Ronaldo’s in recent years, but they have a striker in Mario Mandzukic who can exploit this Valencia side.
He has two on his tally already this season, and managed to net ten times during the 2017/18 campaign despite picking up a few injuries along the way.
A best price of 21/10 is available on him to strike anytime in this encounter. Juventus are expected to be on top given the strength they have in comparison to their opponents, and having someone as creative as Ronaldo alongside him should only enhance his goalscoring opportunities.
Opta match facts
- Valencia will be the eighth different Spanish opponent that Juventus have faced in the Champions League, with this the first competitive meeting between the sides.
- Five of Juventus’ last six defeats in the Champions League have been inflicted by Spanish teams – two defeats against both Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the other against Sevilla.
- This will be Valencia’s first Champions League campaign since 2015-16, while they last reached the knockout stages of the competition in 2012-13 (Last 16).
- Valencia have reached the final of a Champions League tournament on two previous occasions, although neither have ended with victory. They lost 0-3 against Real Madrid in 2000 and were beaten on penalties by Bayern Munich the following season (4-5).
- Juventus have won just one of their last six games against Spanish teams in European competition (D2 L3), although that did come in the most recent one away at Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League (3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu).
- Valencia have lost just one of their last seven games against Italian opponents in European competition (W3 D3), and are unbeaten in each of the last four (W2 D2).
- None of Valencia’s last 18 games in European competition have ended in a draw (W10 L8), with their last one dating back to February 2014 v Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League.
- This will be Massimiliano Allegri’s 77th game as a manager in the Champions League, taking him outright third among Italian coaches with the most games managed in the competition (after Carlo Ancelotti, 153, and Fabio Capello, 78).
- Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo has made the most appearances of any outfield player in Champions League history (153), with only goalkeeper Iker Casillas (167) making more than him.
- Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in Champions League history, netting 120 goals in 153 total appearances in the competition.