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Champions League Preview and Betting Odds

3/11/2009
Champions League round 4 commences this week and whilst Manchester United Arsenal and Chelsea can virtually assure qualification for the knockouts with a win, Liverpool know that only a victory will save their campaign. Rafa Benitez’ side on the brink of an ignominious exit from this year’s competition and must win away to Lyon to stand a realistic chance of coming through the group. Elsewhere there are some interesting fixtures around Europe that could be worth a bet this week.

United are at home to Russian side CSKA Moscow and this looks pretty straight-forward for the Red Devils so perhaps picking the scorer is the best way to make money out of this game. With Wayne Rooney likely to be absent due to the birth of his first child, Dimitar Berbatov will be looking to get among the goals tonight after netting against Blackburn on Saturday - the Bulgarian is 5/1 to be first or last scorer.

With Chelsea in rampant goal scoring form and opponents Atletico Madrid in all sorts of trouble Carlo Ancelotti’s charges look like taking the victory and against such a leaky defence so expect the goals to flow. Chelsea to win by three or more goals at 12/1 seems a decent shout bearing in mind the form of the respective clubs. Although scoring three away from home is difficult for anyone in the Champions League Chelsea are buoyed by the returning Didier Drogba and have notched 17 goals in the last four games. This includes four against their Atletico in the last round.

Another team that are likely to make short work of the opposition this week are Arsenal. They take on AZ Alkmaar and will be annoyed that they conceded a last minute equaliser in the previous round. Robin Van Persie is currently in the form of his life and is 16/1 for a hat-trick on Wednesday. The fact that the Dutchman takes free kicks and penalties increases his chances.

Liverpool’s match with Lyon is their most significant match in a long time but with a squad ravaged by injuries a draw is the best Benitez can hope for against the group leaders. Liverpool/Draw or Lyon/Draw, both at 16/1 definitely looks generous enough for a punt here.

Away from England, its worth checking out the games involving Dynamo Kiev and Inter, and Marseilles and Zurich. Inter have not won in eight Champions League ties and an away tie in Ukraine won’t be the easiest place to end this run. Another draw looks on the cards and 1-1 (6/1) is the most likely outcome. Lastly check out Zurich to win away to Marseilles at 11/1, the Swiss minnows have already humbled Milan in the San Siro whist they are by no means favourites they definitely could spring a surprise.
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