First of all, congratulations on getting a victory in Moscow in the dying minutes of the game.This is officially there first away win in the UCL since it’s inception as away wins in the qualifying rounds apparently do not count. Samaras with a clinical header on the 90th minute helped the Bhoys sink the Moscovites and at present they are top of their group which includes Barcelona and Benfica, though they are to play later this evening.
Moving onto other games Chelsea are off to Denmark to face FC Nordsjælland, a team that is barely 10 years old after they won the Danish Superliga last year. The home team is based in the town of Farum which has a population of approx. 18,000 people. Whilst this must be a fairy tale come true for the Danish minnows, anything but a victory for Chelsea is surely out of the question.
My Prediction: FC Nordsjælland 0-3 Chelsea
Man Utd are playing CFR Cluj, occasional qualifiers from Romania. Though Cluj have experience in the competition and Utd are without Carrick, Scholes or Giggs they are starting with both Rooney, who was instrumental on giving Spurs a game in the second half on Saturday, and Van Persie who is a class apart in all competitions.
My Prediction: CFR Cluj 0-2 Man Utd.
Benfica are hosting Messi et al in Lisbon this evening. There should be something of an Iberian derby as both teams are historically large in their respective countries and have a huge amount of history. In many ways the game could be viewed as the nearest we may see to Portugal v Catalunya so there should be some national pride at stake in this game. Barca are not starting with Andres Iniesta this evening, however, owing to the huge amount of talent they have they will have Fabregas accompanying Xavi in a forward midfield role.
Benfica go into this game joint top in Primeira Liga with FC Porto, however, in their last European outing they were made to look a bit ordinary against Celtic at Parkhead. They are lining up in a mirror of Barca this evening with Lima, Perez and Cesar up front. With Carles Puyol starting this evening and being accompanied with Javier Mascherano as opposed to the usual Pique, Benfica may be able to spring a surprise on the visitors, however, I don’t see them pulling off this trick.
My Prediction: Benfica 1-2 Barcelona
In Minsk this evening, current leaders in the German Bundesliga Bayern Munich are playing BATE Borisov. I will cut to the chase here and say I only see Bayern hockeying the Belorussians this evening. They have been dominant in all competitions this season and are scoring with reckless abandonment. They have left on the bench Sebastian Schweinsteieger and in my opinion, the buy of the year, Xherdan Shaqiri, the 20 year old Swiss wonder kid. BATE should expect only pain this evening.
My Prediction: BATE Borisov 0-3 Bayern Munich
Final game to look at is in Turin as the Old Lady take on Shakhtar Donetsk. The biancanerri walked all over title contenders AS Roma at the weekend, handing out a 4-1 victory and taking them to 45 games in Serie A without defeat. Further, tonight will be there first UCL game in their new, purpose built stadium, showing that they are back in the big time. Vucinic and goal scorer Matri are up front with Pirlo pulling the strings behind as usual.
Shakhtar have been doing well in Europe of late and are renowned for the free flowing football they have been making there own, together with the large compliment of players from Southern American or of ‘latin’ descent (looking at you Eduardo!) that they have brought to Eastern Ukraine. Eduardo is not starting, however, the much sought after Willian will be occupying the pocket behind Luiz Adriano, Alex Teixeira and Mkhitaryan coming in from the wings.
Whilst Shakhtar are no push overs, Juve are on a roll of late and with the added impetus of their first UCL game in their new stadium I expect they will go hell for leather this evening.
My Prediction: Juventus 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Hopefully, this evening’s predictions will go a whole lot better than last nights!
Apologies also for putting this out so close to kick off, next time it will be out for 5pm on any game day I decide to do this.