Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
On Wednesday, it’s the turn of London’s two biggest clubs to start their Champions League adventures as both Chelsea and Arsenal look to begin the group phase with three points.
While Chelsea welcome Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv to Stamford Bridge, the Gunners make the trip to Croatia for a testing first match against Dinamo Zagrab.
Will both teams end the night with three points on the board? Whatever happens, it should be an exciting night of cracking Champions League entertainment.
Dinamo Zagreb V Arsenal Preview. 7:45PM. BT Sport Europe
Arsene Wenger’s men have enjoyed a promising start to the 2015/16 season and will head to the Croatian capital in good spirits. While confidence is sky high at the Emirates, Arsene Wenger’s men know that there is some pressure on them as they look to give themselves the best chance of challenging Bayern Munich for top spot in Group F.
If the Gunners are going to achieve this, they cannot afford slip ups against the lesser teams. With Theo Walcott, who has great memories of the Maksimir Stadium with England, hitting top form, the visitors should have no problem finding the target against an inferior opponent.
They will need to be careful at the back, though, as the hosts have scored 11 in their last three games alone. However, this is a step up in quality for Zoran Mamic’s men and goalkeeper Eduardo could be in for a long evening against the Premier League visitors.
It should be an interesting night in Croatia to say the least. Let’s hope the Gunners can find their way to three crucial points.
Dinamo Zagreb V Arsenal Betting
There’s no such thing as an easy away game in Europe, but the Gunners are expected to start their Champions League campaign in style. This is reflected by the betting odds as Arsenal enter the clash as 4/9 favourites with Bet365. Meanwhile, the draw can be backed at 7/2 and Dinamo Zagreb are available at 13/2.
It might not be as easy as some people are predicting, but Arsenal’s immense firepower should give them a fantastic chance of sealing the points.
The Gunners have a number of talented attacking stars capable of finding the target, but none are as exciting as Alexis Sanchez. We’re backing the Chilean superstar to open the scoring in this game.
Alexis Sanchez to score first @ 9/2 with Paddy Power
Chelsea V Maccabi Tel Aviv Preview. 7:45PM. BT Sport 2
The Premier League champions have endured a torrid start to their domestic campaign, but Jose Mourinho’s men will be eager to put those troubles behind them as they open their Champions League campaign with what should be a routine victory at Stamford Bridge.
Maccabi Tel Aviv are the opening night visitors and Slavia Jokanovic’s men know that they face a mammoth task. The Israelis are in great form, beating Basel en route to the group phase. The attacking talents of Tal Ben Haim and Eden Ban Basat would be confident about taking any chances that come their way. The big problem, though, is that those chances are likely to be few and far between.
Conversely, the Blues will be eager to bounce back from their weekend loss to Everton in style. Eden Hazard and other top stars will be determined to get amongst the goals, and the club will be desperate to claim a positive result – especially as their group is completed by the tougher challenges of Porto and Dynamo Kiev.
Chelsea are a wounded animal right now, which could be awful news for the visitors. Expect a dominant display from the hosts.
Chelsea V Maccabi Tel Aviv Betting
Unsurprisingly, the Blues are heavy favourites heading into this clash. In fact, Bet365Bet365 have priced the hosts at odds of just 1/7 while the visitors can be backed at 18/1 if you fancy them to pile the pressure on Mourinho. The draw is available at 15/2.
It has been a testing start to 2015/16, but Chelsea remain a quality side and it should show against the minnows.
This is a fantastic opportunity for the Blues to rebuild some confidence. We’re backing them to do just that, and are predicting an easy win for the Premier League champions.
Chelsea -2 Asian handicap @ 17/20 with Bet365Bet365