Valencia v Chelsea: Chelsea to win – Evens
While Chelsea’s home defeat to Valencia in the first round of Champions League fixtures has been well and truly glossed over, the Blues simply cannot afford another defeat on Wednesday night.
Such is the tight nature of Group H that a second defeat to the Spanish side would almost certainly prove terminal to Chelsea’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
A defeat would leave the Blues three points behind Valencia on an inferior head-to-head with a game to spare, meaning that they would have to rely on Ajax losing at least one of their last two games if they are to have a chance.
Chelsea have been much improved since that opening round defeat, arresting their poor home form domestically and claiming an impressive win in Amsterdam on the continent. Valencia, meanwhile, have been average.
The Spanish side are the only team in Group H to surrender points to group whipping boys Lille and they boast an uninspiring recent record in La Liga – with two wins, two draws and two defeats from their last six league games.
Chelsea’s two victories from two on the road in Europe has kept them in the running in Group H and a third successive win on the road on Wednesday will all but propel them into the knockout stages.
Liverpool v Napoli: Napoli (+1) – 2/1
In a repeat of last December’s infamous game, Napoli will travel to Anfield with revenge on their minds.
A superb Alisson save from Arkadiusz Milik and the bizarre decision not to send off Virgil Van Dijk for a frankly dreadful tackle on Dries Mertens was all that stood between Liverpool and Champions League elimination last Christmas.
The equation is a lot clearer for Liverpool this time around, but they could still have work to do if Napoli manage to get a result on Wednesday.
Liverpool may have a five-point buffer over third-placed Salzburg, but failure to win against Napoli on Wednesday will leave the Reds with a potentially daunting trip to Austria on the final day that would require them to avoid defeat if they are to progress.
The Reds are in good shape, however, and the Italians are not.
Napoli arrive at Anfield in a certain degree of turmoil and are without a win in six games in all competitions while Liverpool can’t seem to stop winning.
Still, Napoli only suffered one defeat in those six games and looked more than a match for Liverpool in September.
They may make Liverpool fans sweat going into the final game in Salzburg.
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund: Barcelona to win and Messi to score – Evens
Barcelona’s performance in Dortmund was almost as bad as their capitulation at Anfield last May.
The only difference between the two games was Liverpool being ruthlessly clinical and Dortmund being woefully wasteful.
The Germans controlled proceedings from the off in September, but simply could not convert one of their many chances and Barcelona survived for a valuable point.
Barca have been abject in Europe since and can count themselves fortunate to be on course for a place in the round of 16 following unconvincing wins over Inter Milan and Slavia Prague.
Lionel Messi, however, is showing signs of hitting top gear and that is not good news for a Dortmund defence that has leaked nine goals in its last three games.
The great Argentinean has recovered from the injury that plagued the early part of his season to score nine goals in his last eight games.
He will be keen to get on the scoresheet on Wednesday as he inches ever closer to 700 career goals.
* All odds correct at time of posting.