Group B was blown wide open last week, as both teams who were favoured to qualify, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, failed to win at home in gameweek one. Shakhtar, who were missing several starting players through a coronavirus outbreak, raced into a 3-0 first half lead in Madrid and hung on to earn a deserved three points against Real (xG: RMA 1.1 – 1.4 SHA).
The Ukrainians made a deep run in last season’s Europa League, looking an exciting attacking team throughout that run, but they were eventually halted by Inter Milan in an emphatic manner (5-0). Shakhtar will be out for revenge, and now they have a few of their key players back to full fitness.
Inter Milan needed a late equaliser to pick up a point at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach, as they looked vulnerable defensively prior to their late onslaught which saw them rack up over 3.0 xGF. We all know that Antonio Conte’s side are exceptionally talented in forward areas, but they do concede goals, so back both teams should score here.
Borussia Mönchengladbach impressed greatly in the manner that they went about their business against Inter, with a 2-2 draw in Milan an excellent result yielded through some strong counter attacking play.
They have the pace to pose that same threat here against a vulnerable Real Madrid defence, especially as Marco Rose’s side have averaged 1.9 xGF per game in the Bundesliga so far this season. Zinedine Zidane’s side were woeful against an undermanned Shakhtar side, looking incredibly vulnerable defensively.
While they bounced back impressively against Barcelona in El Clasico, Madrid again looked susceptible defensively in that game, and we could again be in for an entertaining encounter. Both sides boast some excellent attack players, but there are question marks defensively around both too, so over 2.5 goals makes great appeal in this contest.
Both Club Brugge and Lazio come into this gameweek two clash on the back of wins in games which they were priced close to 3/1. Brugge picked up a fortunate 2-1 win in Russia against Zenit St Petersburg, as they conceded a host of good scoring opportunities, with only poor finishing meaning they escaped with three points (xG: ZEN 2.6 – 1.8 BRU).
It is normal for the Belgians to be weak at the back in this competition, as they allowed an average of 1.8 xGA per game in 19/20. This weakness should again be exposed here. Lazio beat group favourites Dortmund in Rome last week, a game in which they created the better of the chances in what was an open game (xG: LAZ 1.8 – 1.5 DOR).
Simone Inzaghi’s side continue to look strong in attack, especially with the prolific Ciro Immobile leading the line, but defensively they are gettable. These two sides created and conceded plenty of opportunities in their opening matches, and that should be the case again, so back over 2.5 goals in Belgium.
We don’t believe many people had Manchester United down as winning in Paris last week, but it was an impressive performance by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, at both ends of the pitch. They looked threatening throughout on the counter attack, but Solskjaer smelt blood and made some attacking substitutions, after which, United were the aggressors.
PSG still had their moments, but that performance boosted United’s credentials in this group after a poor start to the season domestically. While they drew 0-0 with Chelsea in a drab encounter at the weekend, we should see a proactive United performance, with the Red Devils knowing a win here would put them in a great position to qualify ahead of back-to-back games against group outsiders Istanbul Başakşehir.
RB Leipzig made light work of the aforementioned Turks, in what was a very measured performance. Last season’s quarter finalists are rightly highly regarded heading into this clash, as not only have they been excellent in Europe, but domestically they currently top the Bundesliga standings, averaging 2.4 xGF per game. We should expect an entertaining game at Old Trafford, and over 2.5 goals is a bet I like.
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