5pm – BATE Borisov v Lille – 2.02 home – BATE must win to entertain any hopes of qualifying but 2.02 odds do not suggest any confidence in a win coming easily.

First thing to note is the apparent wholesale changes being made by the Lille manager which surely puts things firmly in BATE’s favour as the team which needs the win.  No points for Lille.

BATE beat Lille 1-3 away in September, why is the market so cold on them now? Yes they shipped 7 in 2 against Valencia, but this is a new match, at home, against weakened opposition.

Lille have only scored 1 goal twice in 4 defeats. Lost 2-0 to Valencia and 6-1 to Bayern.

They should be more competitive but I would suggest that logic, if nothing else, sides with a team desparate to qualify with a win as opposed to a side ringing the changes with no points in the CL.

5pm – Spartak Moscow v Barcelona – 1.31 away – from the UEFA website, Spartak seem beset with injuries.  Barca top the group with 9 points, Celtic have 7, Benfica 4 and Spartak 3. Barcelona lost 2-1 to Celtic last time out and that could be the catalyst for Barca supporters this evening. How often will this mightly side lose 2 consecutive CL matches?

At home in all competitions, Spartak are in good form with WWWWWWLLWWW – defeats v Celtic and CSKA Moscow. Note the lack of a recent draw  After conceding in 7 consecutive matches, Spartak have 2 clean sheets now.

Spartak lose 3-2 v Barca ( one of Spartak’s goals was an own goal), 2-3 at home to Celtic, won 2-1 at home v Benfica and lost 2-0 away to Benfica. Spartak are conceding in each match, sometimes as many as 3 goals and late concessions too.

They have scored 2 in each of their 3 2012 home CL matches , winning 2 2-1 and losing one 2-3.

A 2-1 loss to Celtic ( Barca got a 90th minute consolation) is the only real aberration overall if we discount matches against REal Madrid.  Barca have scored 2-3-2-2-1 in recent CL matches, the single goal v Celtic. Obvious therefore what Spartak must do. THey must keep Barca to a single goal only while continuing to score 2 themselves.

This match must have a chance for both teams to score? My concern is regarding the “apparent” injury crisis at Spartak. How serious is it? Celtic may have done us a favour by beating Barca last time out. I cannot see Barca losing and , although they have had shocks before against Russian opponents, the expectation is for a reaction to the loss against Celtic.

745pm – Benfica v Celtic – 1.48 home – talking of Celtic, they face a tough away match against Benfica. They have been written off before away from home, and always been competitive though.

The Benfica coach is expecting Celtic to play defensively for the draw as that will be the most likely route for Celtic qualification and rob BEnfica of 2 points. If Benfica win they will be level with CEltic on points.

Celtic was inspired by their 125th anniversary v Barca. Now they are at the place where they won the 1967 European Cup.

benfica are in good form overall. WLWWWLWWWWW – latterly keeping 5 clean sheets. Perhaps telling, the 2 defeats were at home to Barca and away to Spartak.

Benfica’s last 3 defeats at home have come against Porto and 2 against Chelsea and Barcelona without scoring.

LLDLLW for Benfica in the CL. Sole win at home to Spartak Moscow , and another clean sheet.

This year , as I said, Benfica lost against Chelsea and Barca without scoring.

CEltic’s only defeats recently away to Barca ( Celtic scored first) and at home to Killie domestically.

CEltic have scored away in their last 10 matches in all competitions.

In the CL this year, Celtic have been good. WWWWWDWLW. No draw in last 14 aways in the CL. Last time they met Benfica away with was a 1-0 loss and you rather suspect that would be a scoreline today with Celtic looking to defend and Benfica wanting to win in whatever way they can.

CEltic have scored in 7 of last 8 aways in the CL

An intriguing match where I discounted Celtic too readily last time out. They might again be inspired by their location today.

Angles in? Will Celtic continue to score at least 1 away as they have done recently?

How will Celtic’s defence hold out?  Do note that CEltic have been scoring late(ish) in the CL . Samaras has now scored in 4 consecutive away matches in the CL.

I remember watching BEnfica at home v MAn Utd and they were so impressive going forward and could have scored a bucket load.

This is going to be a chess match, a game of attack v defence . 0-0 starter I feel. Chance both teams score. This could lead to 1-1, 2-1 , 1-2 as possibles .

745pm – CFR Cluj v Braga – 2.4 away – This is for 2nd place in the group. Gala have 4 points and are at home to UNited. Cluj have 4 points and avoiding defeat will see them in with a shout. Braga are on 3 points and need the win

Cluj have scored in all CL so far, beating Braga 0-2 earlier in September. They lost at home to MAn UTd and Galatasary.

Braga have avoided a draw in their last 6 in all competitions. Only 1 win against galatasary away and a defeat by cluj and 2 by Man Utd tells you at which level they operate.

This is tough to call, as the 2.4 odds suggest. Braga could score again – they tend to score at least the one in this competition.

745pm – FC Nordsj v Shakhtar – 1.35 away – the DAnes are being opposed all ends up but have performed well at home. They cannot progress with a win and this match is very very important for a Shaktar side on 7 points, with Chelsea and Juve and 7 and 6. With the latter 2 playing each other, points will be dropped by one side. Victory this evening will be paramount for Shaktar, but a draw adequate?

No win yet in the CL for Nordsj but they showed what they can do with a home 1-1 v Juve when Nordsj scored first.

That was the only goal in 2 home matches. Scoring will be a concern.;

Shaktar must ideally win, and in 2012 have won 2 matches at home, drawn with Juve away and lost 3-2 away to a 90th Minute Moses goal for Chelsea.  Shaktar have scored away in the CL

This is a match of ” would be nice” if we won versus “must win” and you know that must wins tend to win. I would cover a 1-1 scoreline bet as insurance , and look at a Shaktar win where they score 2 at least.

745pm – Galatasaray v Man Utd – 2 home – ” Welcome to Hell” – a shock loss at the weekend when 1.35 favs at home was perhaps caused by having one eye on today. Gala have conceded in 10 of their last 11 matches in all competitions so are obviously vulnerable. At home, recent form of LDLDWL is poor. In the CL, gala are struggling.  United on 12 points have qualified so do note that his is not a must win. THis is all about the battle for 2nd place which might place favouratism for Gala.

1-0 loss away to United, 0-2 home loss to Braga, 1-1 home draw with Cluj and 1-3 away win v Cluj.

Gala are yet to score in 2 at home.

This is a match I am leaving alone I’m afraid. A dead rubber for Man Utd,  and we’ll see many personnel changes. 2 for the home team suggests an ability for both sides to score and a possible 2-1 home win.  0-0 last time United came, it must be advantage home side who must win. A match to delay entry I feel.


745pm – Juventus v Chelsea – 1.88 home – Juve’s only recent defeat has come at home to Inter in a match in which they scored first and Inter got 3 away goals.

A 0-0 at the weekend and 2 consecutive clean sheets for Juve.

This campaign in the Cl has been punctuated by score draws. 2-2 away at Chelsea when 2-0 down, 1-1 at home to Shaktar when 0-1 down, 1-1 away at Nordsj when 1-0 down.

A recurring theme ended with a 4-0 home win v Nordsj when Juve scored first at last!

Group E is tighter than my brother when it’s his round. Shaktar and Chelsea on 7, Juve on 6 points.

Quite simply, Juventus must win but at the weekend did not score at home to Lazio.

Juve have been vulnerable so far to conceding first in their matches. This could be a real concern against a Chelsea side with rock solid recent signings.  But Chelsea fell foul of a WBA rear guard action at the weekend.

Chelsea are going through a sticky patch at present. LLD(90 mins cup match), DWDD – recent win in CL courtesy of a 90th minute goal. Chelsea have scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 matches in all competitions. Chelsea have only lost once in their last 9 90 minute CL matches, that was a 2-1 away to Shaktar. Chelsea have scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 CL matches.

Chelsea have scored in 17 of their last 18 away matches and know how to play the CL.

Angles in?

Juve must win – must wins tend to win don’t they?

Chelsea’s last defeat was away in the CL. Chelsea sticky patch overall at present. They have scored away in 17 of last 18.

Juve have conceded first in 3 of last 4 CL matches.

This should be a cracker but is a puzzle. A possible both sides will score. But will Juve concede first?

745pm – Valencia v B Munich – 2.16 away – Both sides have 9 points with BATE on 6. If one of these 2 lose tonight, and BATE win,  they could be out ( although I am not sure how joint 2nds are chosen for qualification.

The Bayern coach knows a win or a draw would put Bayern through.

Valencia have only lost 1 match in their last 17 at home and that was 0-1. They have scored 2+ goals in their last 9 home matches in all competitions.

No draw in last 8 CL matches for Valencia. They lost 2-1 away to Bayern when 2-0 down until the 90th minute, so well beaten .

They have scored 2 v Lille, and 3 away and 4 at home v BATE.

Bayern , like most pre CL teams, slipped up at the weekend.  – that was their first draw in months.

3 wins and a surprise loss away to BATE for BAyern .

Likely this will be a humdinger tonight but might be influenced by what BATE are doing? I would look to both sides scoring tonight.