We begin in Bern, as the pointless Young Boys try and get their Champions League campaign underway against Valencia, who have proved to be a tough nut to crack this season.
The Spanish side’s La Liga form has been pretty bizarre: one win, one defeat and six draws. Their most recent result was a 1-1 draw against Barcelona though, and despite only mustering six league goals this season, I’m backing them to beat Young Boys away from home.
The visitors will be buoyed by their 0-0 draw at Old Trafford last time out, and will see this fixture – against a side who have lost their opening two matches 3-0 – as a great opportunity to put pressure on Manchester United and Juventus in Group H.
Young Boys lost their first domestic game of the season at home to Luzern a fortnight ago, and with starting centre-back Mohamed Ali Camara suspended following a red card against Juve, I’m expecting Valencia to squeak through this with three points.
At its current price, I love the look of a draw between Ajax and Benfica.
In all honesty, this could go either way, but backing a draw will massively boost the value of your multi.
Ajax’s most recent Champions League outing was a brilliant draw away at Bayern Munich, while Benfica beat AEK Athens 3-2 away from home. The Dutch side are deservedly slight favourites here, however they have shown fallibilities already this season: they suffered a 3-0 defeat to title rivals PSV Eindhoven at the end of September, while Benfica beat their own title rivals, Porto, 1-0 (with ten men) in their last league match.
Moroccan midfielder Hakim Ziyech is a brilliantly creative and exciting player, and one of Ajax’s key players; Benfica would be wise to keep more than half an eye on him.
If you’re after a massive boost to your multi’s value, I’d suggest backing a draw in Amsterdam.
I told you I wasn’t messing around here; I’m backing Lyon to beat Hoffenheim away from home.
On the face of things, you might think I’m slightly mad, but if we explore the domestic form of each side, my thought process will hopefully become apparent.
Hoffenheim currently sit 13th in the Bundesliga, and with one point from their last three home Bundesliga matches (two of these opponents were down to ten men as well), they have totally flattered to deceive; the looming spectre of Julian Nagelsmann’s impending departure to RB Leipzig at the end of the season cannot help matters either.
Then we have Lyon. Now, they have just been handed a 5-0 defeat away at PSG (who in that league hasn’t though, right?), but their four away matches in Ligue 1 has yielded the same number of points as Hoffenheim’s home form has.
Lyon were fantastic when they beat Manchester City 2-1 at The Etihad, while I believe Hoffenheim’s heart-breaking defeat to Guardiola’s men last time out will have longer-lasting mental effects on this side; they put everything into that game, and considering Hoffenheim have lost their last three home matches 2-1 in all competitions, I’m going to stick my neck out and predict another home defeat – Lyon to win.
Sorry United fans, but I cannot see past a Juventus win here.
The Old Lady have won every single Serie A and Champions League match they have played this season, and will see this European campaign as another massive chance to win the big one – especially upon the arrival of a certain Portuguese.
While Cristiano Ronaldo has found his goalscoring boots for Juve, it’s Paulo Dybala who might be the Italians’ biggest threat: the Argentine wizard scored a brilliant hat-trick against Young Boys last time out in the Champions League.
Unfortunately, United are quite a few steps down in quality from Juve. Their 0-0 draw with Valencia was absolutely torturous, and with a worrying inability to string results together in the Premier League, I think Juventus will beat United convincingly at Old Trafford.