Live on Sky Sports 5 from 19:45 on Wednesday, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City attempt to rescue their European season when they face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, while Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea host Sporting Lisbon at the same time, live on Sky Sports 1.
Currently third in Group E, Manchester City gave themselves a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages after a Sergio Aguero hat-trick saw them come from behind to beat a ten-man Bayern Munich in their last UEFA Champions League game, but the Citizens have otherwise had yet another miserable campaign in Europe.
Indeed, look back at history and you’ll note that it took Man Utd a few seasons before they’d learned how to play in Europe and were regularly making the latter stages of UEFA’s flagship tourney, but in City’s case that newbie period has passed and they’ve failed to take the same steps, continually failing to qualify from the group stages whilst suffering embarrassing losses to lesser teams.
Despite a defeat and draw at the hands of CSKA Moscow, coupled with a home draw against Roma, however, Pellegrini’s boys can still progress to the second round if results go their way, but with key players Aguero and Toure both out injured it looks like a tall order.
Now, with Bayern Munich already through as group winners, to qualify, City either need to beat Roma and hope that CSKA fail to beat Bayern, or attain a score draw with Roma and hope that Bayern beat CSKA.
Roma v Manchester City Betting
In conclusion, we’d love to see City progress to the next round, but the loss of an in-form, red-hot Sergio Aguero to injury seriously reduces their chances of scoring goals and winning games against big teams in Europe, so we favour Roma- who rested star player Totti last weekend and are assured of qualification with a win- on a draw no bet basis.
Advised Bet: Roma draw no bet @ 31/40 with BetVictor
Chelsea v Sporting Lisbon
Mourinho’s Blues have already qualified for the knockout stages as unbeaten winners of Group G, so in effect they have nothing to play for on Wednesday. Sporting, on the other hand, need a draw or better from their trip to Stamford Bridge in order to make the second round of UEFA’s flagship tourney.
Given that they don’t need to win, Chelsea will rest several first team regulars for this visit of Sporting, though it’s not 100% clear whether star striker Diego Costa will play a part. Sporting’s Nani, whose impressed whilst on-loan from Manchester United, is unlikely to play at all due to a thigh injury picked up against Boavista last Friday, but the Portuguese side have a full squad to choose from otherwise.
Chelsea v Sporting Lisbon Betting
Chelsea are priced at 3/4 by Bet365 to win, the draw is 14/5 with Ladbrokes and a Sporting Lisbon victory is offered at 9/2 by Paddy Power.
All in all, we think that a weakened Chelsea team against a Portuguese side that would be happy with a draw = under 2.5 goals, but then recent Sporting games have been full of goals and it seems smartest to simply oppose the team that doesn’t need to win.
Advised Bet: Sporting Lisbon + 0.5 @ 6/5 with BetVictor