ALEX CROOK

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

ALEX CROOK: Champions League Preview – Gameweek 2

talkSPORT’s chief football correspondent ALEX CROOK previews the mid-week Champions League action.

Alex starts with St James’ Park Champions League return…


🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 NEWCASTLE v PSG 🇫🇷 8pm Wednesday

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If there is one place that I would love to be on Wednesday night it is St James’ Park as Newcastle play their first Champions League home game in two decades.

Peopling living up in the North East tell me the whole city is buzzing and what a game to mark the occasion with the visit of French giants Paris St Germain.

Despite Newcastle’s impressive recent run of three successive Premier League wins without conceding, I think Luis Enrique’s men may have been underestimated in the market, probably because of the cauldron-like atmosphere they will be walking into.

However, while they have regularly come up short against European powerhouses in the later stages of the Champions League, PSG are unbeaten away from home in any competition since losing at Bayern Munich since March.

Newcastle also have several big fitness doubts with Callum Wilson and Joelinton both struggling and, most crucially of all, star centre-back Sven Botman expected to be out, leaving a huge hole in the heart of Eddie Howe’s backline.

Casting the emotion of the occasion to one side and given Newcastle’s likely absentees PSG to win at 29/20 with starsports.bet looks too big a price to ignore.

Kylian Mbappe will start after recovering from an ankle injury and if Botman is out it will be a tall order keeping arguably the best player on the planet quiet.

PSG to win and Mbappe to score at any time has been boosted from 11/4 to 10/3 with starsports.bet.


🇩🇪 LEIPZIG v MAN CITY 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 8pm Wednesday

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I was at Molineux on Saturday to see City suffer a shock 2-1 defeat against Wolves, ending their 100% start to the Premier League season.

Pep Guardiola will be demanding a response from his players and City are boosted by the return of midfielder Rodri, who is still serving a domestic suspension but can play in the Champions League.

Unsurprisingly, the holders are heavy favourites to win this game, but I’m not convinced it will the stroll that the odds suggest.

Despite winning their first European Cup last season, City were held to draws in five of their six away games including by Leipzig in the first leg of their last 16 clash before Erling Haaland destroyed the German side in the return game at the Etihad.

Leipzig sit fifth in the Bundesliga and gave Bayern Munich an almighty scare at the weekend by going 2-0 up before eventually drawing 2-2.

City may also have one eye on a huge Premier League clash at title rivals Arsenal on Sunday, so I like the look of Leipzig +1 on the handicap at 23/20 with starsports.bet

Guardiola’s boys have also conceded the first goal in four of their last five games in all competitions so after netting four goals in his first six league games in a Leipzig shirt, Lois Openda to score first at 13/2 with starsports.bet is a decent price.

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🇫🇷 LENS v ARSENAL 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 8pm Tuesday

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I was at the Emirates two weeks ago as Arsenal started their campaign like a steam train with a 4-0 demolition of PSV and the Gunners probably could have scored eight!

They have been drawn in a very favourable group and travel to France for what on paper should be another winnable fixture.

But opponents Lens have a phenomenal home record having lost just two of their last 27 matches and the atmosphere will be electric for their first Champions League game in front of their own fans in 21 years.

It looks like key man Bukayo Saka will be fit for Arsenal after hobbling off at Bournemouth on Saturday and that is obviously a massive boost for Mikel Arteta.

That romp on the south coast was the first time this season that Arsenal have won on their travels by more than one goal so that, coupled with Lens’ impressive home form, attracts me to Lens +1 on the handicap at 6/5 with starsports.bet

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RECOMMENDED BETS

BACK PSG to win 2pts at 29/20(⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK PSG to win and Mbappe to score any time 1pt at 10/3 (price boosted) with starsports.bet
BACK RB Leipzig +1 on the handicap 1pt at 23/20 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Lois Openda to score first RB Leipzig v Manchester City 2.5pts at 13/2 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Lens +1 on the handicap 0.5pts at 6/5 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

Good luck,

ALEX CROOK


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