This one should be a no-brainer. Real Madrid brushed Roma aside 3-0 at the Bernabeu in their first group match, and the trip to Russia shouldn’t throw up any major difficulties Julen Lopetegui’s side.
CSKA drew 2-2 with Viktoria Plzeň away from home in their first match, and the Russian outfit lost comfortably to Manchester United and Basel at Arena CSKA in the Champions League last campaign. Real love this competition, and look a banker for this one.
Benfica went down fighting 2-0 against Bayern in their Group E opener, and face a much nicer trip to Athens for their second match. This AEK side squeezed past Celtic in the qualifying rounds of this competition, but Benfica are a much better team than Brendan Rodgers’ outfit, and at $2.17, they’re a great bet to win this.
AEK also lost 3-0 to Ajax for their first match, and will struggle against this classy Benfica team, who I’m backing to win in Greece.
Yes, you read that correctly, I’m backing a Manchester United win! They’ve been up and down in the Premier League this season, but this Champions League tie is a perfect opportunity for Jose Mourinho’s men to put their domestic woes to one side for a short while.
United are still a better side than Valencia, who have had a poor start to their own season, sitting 14th, and I’m expecting the Red Devils to grind out an ugly three points.
Shakhtar will be disappointed with their 2-2 draw at home to Hoffenheim – a place where Napoli, Man City and Roma were all beaten last season – but their adventure continues against a Lyon side who are fresh from beating the English champions on their own patch.
Lyon have generally looked strong this season – though their last home match was a disappointing 1-1 draw with Nantes – and the visitors are a better side than people give them credit for.
I don’t think the home side are quite the finished article yet, while Shakhtar are experienced European campaigners, so I’m going for an entertaining draw.