It could have been so different for City if they had managed to hold the lead at the Bernabeu although that 3-2 reverse against Real Madrid affected confidence badly and just two points have been landed from their home game against Borussia Dortmund and a double header against Ajax.
Now City face Real knowing victory is imperative, while Arsenal also have an important game against Montpellier after taking just a point from their two games against Schalke which means the group is wide open.
Arsene Wenger will hope that the Gunners are full of confidence following on from that 5-2 win against Tottenham on Saturday.
Manchester City v Real Madrid 19.45
It’s hard to see how City are going to qualify for the last sixteen even if they manage to beat Real Madrid on Wednesday, with the champions of England bottom of Group D and needing snookers to make it to the knockout stage.
Aside from that dramatic 3-2 defeat at the Bernabeu, Manchester City simply haven’t been at the races in their European matches this term and it’s far from certain they will even be playing Europa League football in the New Year, although perhaps Roberto Mancini would be relieved to avoid a stint in that competition.
City’s 5-0 win against Aston Villa on Saturday masked over the fact that the game was tight for the first 45 minutes although some will feel that the home team are overpriced at 23/10 (William Hill free bets) to win this game considering they have a very strong domestic record at the Etihad Stadium.
In a way, the Citizens can approach this match with nothing to lose following on from their inability to beat Ajax at home a fortnight ago and the strike pairing of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero is among the best in Europe, with both players available at 7/1 to open the scoring against opponents who are second favourites to win the Champions League.
Real are second in Group D and face a strong chance of meeting a group winner in the last sixteen although the sections are tight enough for that not to be a worry for Jose Mourinho who saw his team take just one point from a double header against Dortmund.
The Spanish champions had an emphatic victory of their own on Saturday when beating Athletic Bilbao 5-1 and that 2-1 defeat in Germany was the only time they have lost a match in the last thirteen games, with Paddy Power offering a best price that Real Madrid are victorious on Wednesday night.
Naturally, all eyes will be on former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo who surprisingly didn’t make it on the scoresheet at the weekend although he’s at the heart of his team’s attacking moves and can be backed at 4/1 (BetVictor bookmaker) to score the first of this match.
With City likely to adopt a gung ho approach and Real capable of scoring lots of goals, we could see the net bulge a few times and it’s no surprise to see Over 2.5 Goals trading at 4/7 although what’s more surprising is that some tasty correct scorelines can be backed at big odds.
A 2-2 draw looks possible at 14/1 and a 3-3 draw is a 40/1 chance with both teams likely to be going all out for the win, while a 4-3 victory for Real cannot be ruled out at 100/1.
Arsenal v Montpellier 19.45
Arsenal supporters were already looking forward to their team in the Champions League knockout stage after wins against Montpellier and Olympiacos in early autumn although just one point from home and away matches against Schalke means that Group B is all to play for.
The advantage for the Gunners is that they face French opponents who are rock bottom of Group B after taking just a point from their first four games and Arsene Wenger will be confident his team can claim three points against a side whom they beat 2-0 at the Stade de la Mosson.
The bookies quote a best price 4/11 about Arsenal claiming a maximum haul which will hopefully mean that their final match in Greece is nothing more than a dead rubber, with the team full of goals following a 3-3 draw with Fulham and then a 5-2 derby win against Tottenham Hotspur.
Olivier Giroud was being branded a flop at the start of the season although the former Montpellier forward can’t stop scoring goals and can be backed at 4/1 (Coral) to score the first goal of this particular match, while Theo Walcott should be a menace and is on offer at 6/1.
As for Montpellier, they have little to lose from this match at the Emirates and will draw confidence from their 2-2 draw in Schalke, even if they failed to build on this point in their following two matches.