AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

ALEX CROOK PREVIEW: Champions League Midweek

talkSPORT’s chief football correspondent ALEX CROOK previews a cracking two nights of Champions League football with his recommended selections…



Celtic need to pull off a famous win in Rome to stand any chance of extending their European campaign into the New Year even via dropping into the Europa League by finishing third in their group.

Despite the fact hosts Lazio are not pulling up any trees domestically and languish in 10th place in Serie A, it is hard to make a compelling case for Brendan Rodgers’s side arresting their dismal run of 14 Champions League group games without victory.

Lazio, under the management of former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, will be confident of getting the three points they need to seal qualification against a Celtic side thrashed 6-0 at Atletico Madrid in their last continental away game.

Given their frankly awful European form, particularly away from home, I’ll be boosting the odds by backing Lazio -1 on the handicap at 6/4 with

Ciro Immobile has netted an impressive six goals in his last nine Champions League appearances so I will also be doubling up Lazio to win and Immobile to score at 1.45/1 with



Newcastle’s eye-catching 4-1 demolition of Paris St Germain in October was some way to announce the Magpies are back dining at Europe’s top table for the first time in two decades.

That night under the lights at St James’s Park will go down in Geordie folklore along with their Faustino Asprilla-inspired victory over the mighty Barcelona.

Having subsequently suffered back-to-back defeats against Borussia Dortmund to leave their hopes of reaching the knockout rounds hanging in the balance, there is a danger that Newcastle fail to win another group game, which was what transpired after beating Barca in 1997.

PSG simply cannot be as bad as they were on Tyneside when even the great Kylian Mbappe failed to fire and it is worth noting that the French giants have won seven of their eight games since being humiliated in the north east.

With only three points separating the four teams in Group F there is no margin for error for either team and home boss Luis Enrique will be encouraged by Newcastle’s poor record on the road so far this season.

While being more than a match for anyone in front of their own fans, Newcastle’s two away wins this season have been at Sheffield United, where they scored eight without reply, and at Manchester United in the EFL Cup. Their two European excursions have resulted in a battling 0-0 draw at AC Milan and a limp defeat in Dortmund.

PSG are odds to win at 8/13 with which represents good value for any accumulator but I will throw in Mbappe, who has eight goals in his last nine home games, to score at any time and the combative Joelinton to be shown a card which returns just under 10/1 with



Arsenal can wrap up qualification for the last 16 with a match to spare with just a single point and will be in high spirits after soaring to the top of the Premier League table following Saturday’s last-gasp win at Brentford.

Mikel Arteta’s side are also out for revenge after suffering a 2-1 defeat in France in the reverse fixture, part of a fine run of form that has seen the visitors avoid defeat in all but one of their last 12 matches.

But, Arsenal have been exemplary at the Emirates in their two previous Champions League games this season, sweeping aside both PSV Eindhoven and Seville without ever looking like conceding a goal.

Defensive stability has become the Gunners’ trademark in a throwback to the George Graham era in the late 1980s and earl 90s and, after conceding just two goals in their last six outings in all competitions, Arsenal to win to nil at 23/20 with is my standout selection here.

The goals have not been quite as free-flowing at the other end as they were last season, however Bukayo Saka – who set up Kai Havertz’s late winner at Brentford – is bidding to score in a third successive Champions League home game.


BACK Lazio -1 v Celtic 2.5pts at 17/10 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Lazio to win and Ciro Immobile to score 1.5pts at 1.45/1 with

Build-a-bet: PSG to win, Kilian Mbappe to score, Joelinton to be shown a card 0.5pts at 10/1 (odds subject to change)

BACK Arsenal to win to nil v Lens 1pt at 23/20 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Bukaya Saka to score first Arsenal v Lens 1pt at 4/1 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Bukayo Saka to score at any time Arsenal v Lens 1pt at 6/5 (⭐ ? CLICK TO BET NOW)



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