It is the Group of Death for City, who simply can’t go into their double header with Ajax with no points on the board, while Arsenal have a chance to strengthen their position following that opening win against Montpellier. Arsene Wenger’s team will be expected to make progress at the expense of Olympiakos.
Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund 19:45
It’s been a scrappy start to the season for City who came from behind to win at Fulham on Saturday, although Roberto Mancini’s side have struggled to produce performances worthy of retaining their Premier League title nor suggesting that they can challenge the European big guns in the Champions League.
Nevertheless, its early days and the English champions are strong favourites to bounce back from that dramatic 3-2 defeat at the Bernabeu where Mancini very nearly executed a perfect game plan. William Hill are one of the few firms to offer 10/11 about City beating the German champions who enjoyed a winning start in Group D.
Dortmund are third in the Bundesliga following a steady start to their campaign which has seen them comfortably win their three home matches although they are yet to record a victory on the road which will encourage Manchester City.
Even so, Borussia will be super confident after thrashing M’gladbach 5-0 on Saturday which was achieved without star striker Robert Lewandowski who was rested ahead of this crunch clash at the Etihad Stadium. The German side are 7/2 to continue their charge by claiming three points against City which would jeopardise the qualification hopes of the English champions.
Sergio Aguero might well be partnered by Mario Balotelli for the encounter as Mancini tries to work out his best team for this must-win match although that man Lewandowski is dangerous and bet365 have overpriced Jakub Blaszczykowski at 18/1.
Arsenal v Olympiakos 19:45
The Gunners were unbeaten until Saturday when Chelsea came away from the Emirates with a 2-1 win, although Arsene Wenger’s team will be confident of bouncing back when they face Greek opponents on Wednesday night.
Arsenal are no bigger than 4/11 (Stan James bookmaker) to claim another three points following that 2-1 win in Montpellier and Wenger will want to get things sewn up in Group B so that his team can focus on challenging for the Premier League title this term.
With a trip to West Ham in the offing this weekend, there might be a temptation to rotate the Arsenal team with Olivier Giroud likely to be given the chance to score his second goal since arriving from France in the summer. The striker is a 9/2 chance and will surely enjoy a vein of scoring form at some stage this campaign.
There is always the potential for Arsenal to score a few goals at the Emirates as they demonstrated when thrashing Southampton a few weeks ago and the Gunners to lead at half-time and full-time is on offer at 10/11 with Paddy Power which looks like a tasty wager.
Olympiakos were beaten at home to Schalke 04 in their opening Champions League match and now face a tall order when it comes to reaching the last sixteen of the competition, with Greek teams traditionally struggling on the road when it comes to European matches.
Leonardo Jardim’s side have won all their matches bar that reverse against the German team and a surprise win can be backed at 9/1 with Sky Bet, with Rafik Djebbour the obvious danger man after snaring six goals in five matches. The Algerian is an 11/1 chance and will be encouraged by the last two Arsenal games where the Gunners have struggled to defend set pieces.
Ajax v Real Madrid 19:45
Frank de Boer must have been a crestfallen figure after the Champions League group stage draw, with the Dutch champions being pitched against the champions of England, Spain and Germany. Ajax came within a whisker of landing a point away to Borussia Dortmund although that 1-0 defeat means their slim chances of qualification have become very slim.
The Amsterdam side will have to produce a minor miracle to beat the second favourites for the tournament, with Ajax as big as 7/1 to win this match at the Amsterdam Arena and De Boer will hope they can catch the Spanish side cold, especially as Mourinho’s men have struggled to find early-season form.
Real were slightly fortunate to turn the game on its head to beat Manchester City 3-2 and they have not been convincing on the road this term, winning just one road trip from three and losing the other two matches.
Nevertheless, that win against City might have triggered some momentum, with the Spanish champions winning 2-0 at Rayo Vallecano before a 5-1 thrashing of Deportivo. William Hill offer a best price 4/9 about the visitors.