Champions League odds, news and free bets: Wed 5 December

On Wednesday night, we will discover whether Chelsea and Celtic will be joining Arsenal and Manchester United in the last sixteen of the Champions League

Chelsea’s chances look pretty slim considering they are third in Group E going into this final round of fixtures and require Juventus to lose away to Shakhtar Donetsk although stranger things have happened and Rafael Benitez will set about preparing his team for what looks like a straightforward win against FC Nordsjælland.

Meanwhile, we can expect another vibrant atmosphere at Celtic Park when the Scottish champions entertain Spartak Moscow hoping that they can better Benfica’s result at the Nou Camp, with Neil Lennon hoping that Barcelona go all out for victory against their Portuguese opponents.

Manchester United have a home match against CFR Cluj and are priced attractively despite the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson will rest his star names for what amounts to little more than a dead rubber for the Red Devils.

Chelsea v FC Nordsjaelland 19.45
It’s surely a question of ‘how many’ at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, with Chelsea looking to run up a cricket score against their Danish opponents and hope that this turn out well at the Donbass Arena despite talk of an arranged draw between Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus.

The Blues sit third in Group E and will hope that Shakhtar show no mercy against their Italian opponents or we will see Benitez lead the team into the Europa League, although at least the Spaniard can’t take the rap for this happening considering Roberto Di Matteo was given his marching orders after losing 3-0 in Turin.

The bookies offer no better than 1/8 (Paddy Power free bets) about Chelsea winning this match against a team they beat 4-0 in the reverse fixture, although Benitez might be thinking this game can be won without all of his top stars and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Oscar, Hazard or Mata were left on the bench for this encounter.

However, the new Blues interim manager will definitely use this game to help boost the confidence levels of Fernando Torres who has not found the net for several games and the former Liverpool striker is a 7/2 chance (bet365 bookmaker) to break the deadlock.

FC Nordsjaelland arrive with nothing to lose and they gave a good account of themselves when losing 4-2 at home to Shakhtar especially with the visitors scoring a controversial goal when the Danish champions were caught off guard. They will have no pressure for this match and Coral offer 25/1 about a shock away win.

Even so, Chelsea should make sure of victory from an early stage and you can get 2/5 with Blue Square that they lead at half-time and full-time in this match.

Celtic v Spartak Moscow 19.45
It would be a great shame if Celtic did miss out on a place in the last sixteen of the Champions League and the fixture list hasn’t been kind to the Hoops, who face the possibility of doing the double over Spartak Moscow, beating Barcelona and still missing out on the knockout phase.

Neil Lennon might have accepted a gallant third place and a Europa League spot before the competition began although the team’s sights are now set higher following that fabulous 2-1 win against the tournament favourites and they can be backed at 4/7 (Stan James free bets) to beat their Russian opponents on Wednesday night.

Celtic are level on points with Benfica and will hope to receive positive news from the Nou Camp, with a Barcelona victory meaning a draw will suffice in this particular match and perhaps the 17/5 (BetVictor) about the game ending all square is better value than the price about the home win.

Moscow started the campaign with high hopes of further progress in the competition although they are as big as 5/1 to win this game, having lost four of their five matches in the Champions League to date although they are probably better player-for-player than their opponents so it would be no surprise if Wednesday night was a nervy one for the home supporters.

Manchester United v CFR Cluj 19.45
Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t be able to back Manchester United at 7/10 to beat a Romanian side at Old Trafford, although top spot in the group has been achieved and we’re unlikely to see many of the players that helped the Red Devils win 4-3 at Reading on Saturday.

Perhaps a second string team will still prove too strong for Cluj, although the visitors do have something to play for considering they are level on points with Galatasaray after five games played, with the Turkish side travelling to Braga for their final game.

The Romanian champions were slightly unlucky to lose 2-1 at home to United after taking the lead and have a player bang in scoring form after Rui Pedro scored a recent hat-trick against United, with the same forward 25/1 to score first in this one.

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