Chelsea may have failed to get their Champions League bid off to a winning start but the Blues remain England’s best hope of landing the coveted trophy – as far as the betting is concerned.
The Blues took the lead against Schalke courtesy of a goal from the in-form Cesc Fabregas but were forced to share the points when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar netted an equaliser for the Germans.
The importance of winning your home games in order to progress in Europe’s premier competition cannot be underestimated but the strength of Chelsea’s group – or lack thereof – means the west London outfit remain on course to reach the knock out stages.
The other two teams in their group – Maribor and Sporting Lisbon – also drew and Chelsea are expected to take six points from the former and at least three from the latter giving them the 10 points that usually guarantees progression.
Next in the betting is Manchester City at 14/1 but after going down 1-0 to a last minute goal against Bayern Munich the Citizens have it all to prove.
The visit to the Allianz Arena was always going to be their toughest assignment but Roma’s comprehensive 5-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the group’s other fixture means there are three quality teams gunning for two qualifying places.
City have lost seven of their 11 away contests in the competition but look likely to need a win over the Italians to progress.
Bringing up the rear then are Arsenal and Liverpool at 25/1 and while the latter won their opening tie against Ludogorets they will be just as concerned as the former, who lost 2-0 to Dortmund.
The Gunners will be confident of winning their home games, having lost just four of 25, and will be expected to beat Galatasaray and Anderlecht to reach the latter stages.
Liverpool, however, laboured to a win against a side that was still in the Bulgarian amateur leagues just four years ago and will need to up their game massively to secure points against Real Madrid and Basel.
The reigning champions may have thrashed the Swiss outfit 5-1 on the opening day but Basel can hold their own at home – just ask Manchester United and Chelsea.
So, in conclusion, in Europe as it is in England, Chelsea remain the most likely English side to be adding to the trophy cabinet this year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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