The Champions League is back and to celebrate the return of the sexiest club competition out there, Ladbrokes are offering a series of group-stage specials on the quartet of sides representing the Premier League.
The most attractive offer is 6/4 that all four English clubs make it into the hat for the knock-out stages, which registers a pretty tasty price all things considered.
Although technically a fourfold, Chelsea’s part of the bargain seems all but sewn up before a ball is backheeled in anger.
Given the arrangement of their group and the stellar start the Blues have made to their league campaign – where they sit pretty on maximum points from four games – progression in Group G has formality stamped all over it.
Chelsea made mincemeat of same opponents Schalke home and away last season, while Sporting return after a five-year absence from the competition and Maribor make up the numbers.
Although Liverpool also make a return after a similar hiatus, the Reds not only have a rich history in the competition – progressing on six out of eight occasions in the current format – but they are overwhelming second favourites to qualify behind holders Real Madrid in Group B.
Basel often prove tricky customers though, and much will depend on Liverpool’s matches against the Swiss side.
Despite being lumped with Borussia Dortmund yet again, Arsenal’s record of advancement is impeccable, standing at 11 consecutive knock-out stages reached since the tournament switched to a single group phase during 2003/04.
Outside of their German Group D opposition, the favourites to top the group should have the quality to see off Galatasaray and perennial also-rans Anderlecht.
That only leaves the blue half of Manchester to see the bet home. Man City may have crashed on their debut effort, in what was a truly deathly group by anyone’s standards, but they set the record straight last season.
Bayern Munich will again be the team to beat, though a win in Munich last season at the same stage will give the Citizens hope, while they already saw off CSKA Moscow home and away, who they face again.
Roma will also have a real say in a tough-looking Group E, but City’s experience and quality ought to be enough to see them wriggle through.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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