Some quick predictions for tonight’s key Champions League matches:
Arsenal v AZ Alkmaar
Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas are in brilliant form and should really lead the Gunners to a comfortable victory at the Emirates tonight; AZ are a strictly average team, and although Wenger’s side might be tempted to play within themselves, I can’t see any result but a comfortable home win. In terms of tasty bets, I like Thomas Vermaelen to score at any time at 5/1 – the Belgian defender loves to get forward and will fancy putting one over on the Dutch (the Dutch frequently mock the Belgians; hell, most of northern Europe loves to mock the Belgians).
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 AZ
Lyon v Liverpool
People are talking about Rafa’s ability to always get a result when he needs one – well boy does he need one tonight. The thing is, without Stevie G and with a half-fit Nando Torres, I have a feeling Rafa’s luck in Europe is about to run out; on paper, his team simply doesn’t look strong enough. And with Fiorentina almost certain to beat Debrecen in Florence in the other group game, Liverpool must win in France. The Reds have a fine record against French teams, but this time I don’t see any signs of a Great Escape.
Prediction: Lyon 1-1 Liverpool
Unirea v Rangers
After two shocking home defeats, by Seville and Unirea, Rangers are back on the road, and going on their form in Europe this season, it’s where they tend to do better – they can sit back, soak up pressure without their fans getting on their back for negative play. So I certainly don’t expect Dan Pet Rescue’s side to tonk the Scots again. I tip a narrow win for the Romanians, but wouldn’t be at all surprised if Rangers jam a score draw. And if that isn’t having my cake and eating it too, I don’t know what is…
Prediction: Unirea 2-1 Rangers
Elsewhere, I expect wins for Seville, Barcelona, Inter and Fiorentina, and predict a draw between Standard Liege and Olympiakos.
Agree, disagree? Leave your predictions in a comment…