The opening round of fixtures from matchday five of the Champions League served up abundant treats, including a record-smashing hat-trick from Lionel Messi, while Chelsea’s chances of glory solidified at sorry Schalke’s expense.
Ahead of Wednesday’s action from Europe’s top club competition, we take a moment to digest the night before and see what lessons were learned and where prices may wish to be snapped up as result.
1. Chelsea can dare to dream
Plaudits are being thrown at Chelsea like confetti at a bride this season, but then Jose Mourinho’s side deserve every piece of streamer which settles on their collective shoulders.
Schalke were simply swept aside by a probing, energetic and at times marauding Chelsea side that, thanks to the guile of Cesc Fabregas in particular, made the Bundesliga side look average at best.
All this backed up by a concrete defence which barely broke a sweat. With the group now sewn up, and a top-seed collision path virtually cleared, the 11/2 on eventual glory looks a corker right now.
2. Lionel Messi could end up setting an unbreakable record
Barcelona’s unbelievable goal-scoring talent didn’t just break Raul’s Champions League record, he sailed past it thanks to a typically unfussy hat-trick to set the new bar at 74.
Although Cristiano Ronaldo is hot on Messi’s dazzling heels, the Argentine is almost two-and-a-half years (and feet) his junior, so the eventual record could end up surpassing the century mark.
3. Sergio Aguero is even better than we thought….
Whether or not Manchester City will still qualify from Group E – although they are now 10/11 favourites ahead of Roma and CSKA Moscow with a game to go – is up for debate and dependent on the other result.
However, for match-winning hero Aguero to beat Bayern Munich’s exceptional goalkeeper Manuel Neuer three times in one match, sets the Argentine apart alongside the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s.
4……but he won’t be joining the after-dinner speeches circuit in this country though
Bless him, Aguero has only been in England for three-and-a-half years, but judging by his post-match interview, his grip of the language is still a little lose to put it mildly. The City striker does his talking on the pitch.
5. Paris St-Germain will be a threat again
Boasting a forward line consisting of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, the French champions are a team to be reckoned with again this year.
Leading Barcelona by a point in Group F having beaten them at home, the 16/1 on Laurent Blanc’s men is more than speculative if they can hold out in the Camp Nou on matchday six.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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