Champions League odds, news and free bets: Wed 7 November

Some exciting European matches taking place on Wednesday night, with Manchester United, Celtic and Chelsea all hoping to take a big step towards the last sixteen stage of the Champions League

The Red Devils are in a strong position after landing a maximum haul against their three group opponents, although Chelsea are still some way short of reaching the knockout phase after losing at Shakhtar and they will look to make amends against the same opponents this week.

Chelsea v Shakhtar Donetsk 19:45
Chelsea flew into a 2-0 lead against Juventus in their opening Champions League game of the season although the Old Lady of Turin worked their way back into the match and the Blues only have four points at the halfway stage after losing at the Donbass Arena a fortnight ago.

With a trip to Turin later this month, victory is pretty essential for the Blues on Wednesday night and the best odds about a home win is 21/20 (BetVictor free bets), with Roberto Di Matteo hoping for Juan Mata and David Luiz to be fit to line up against the champions of Ukraine.

Shakhtar Donetsk sit pretty after two wins and a draw and they will be aware that their opponents’ form has slumped in recent weeks, with the team having gone four games without a win in normal time.

Mircea Lucescu’s team look a touch on the big side at 3/1 (Paddy Power bookmaker) to win at Stamford Bridge even if they will be lining up against a returning John Terry who has now finished serving a four-match ban.

Alex Teixeira is a dangerous attacking midfielder who has scored against Chelsea and Juventus in recent weeks and the 22-year-old can be backed at 12/1 (bet365) to score first in this match.

Braga v Manchester United 19:45
Manchester United haven’t made life easy for themselves in the Champions League this season, although the Red Devils have recovered from falling behind against Cluj and Braga to ensure a maximum haul after three matches played and there is every chance that will continue when they travel to Portugal on Wednesday night.

Sir Alex Ferguson might be considering a rest for key players such as Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, although another win this week could effectively mean they are into the last sixteen after four games played and a chance to play a reserve team in the final two matches.

United are a best price 11/8 (William Hill free bets) to claim victory at the Estádio Municipal, with the first team enjoying an excellent run of six wins if we disregard that League Cup 5-4 result where Ferguson fielded a young and inexperienced side.

That man Van Persie can’t stop scoring and he’s on offer at 5/1 (Coral) to break the deadlock in this match, with the Dutchman potentially having penalty duties after Wayne Rooney dragged his spot-kick wide against Arsenal.

As for Braga, they raced into a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford and are an attacking side that will have to go for the win considering they have just three points from three games played, although it could be the case that the Portuguese side are better suited to away matches where they can counter to good effect.

José Peseiro’s team are a 21/10 chance (Sportingbet) to win this game and boost their chances of qualifying for the last sixteen with their opponents and Brazilian forward Alan will be looking to add to the two goals scored at Old Trafford.

Celtic v Barcelona 19:45
Celtic’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage looked distant after being held to a goalless draw against Benfica in their opening match although a 3-2 win at Spartak Moscow has changed everything and Neil Lennon’s side were cruelly denied a point at the Nou Camp when Jordi Alba struck in the final minutes of the match.

Nevertheless, the Scottish champions are in good shape after four games played and two home matches remaining, with essentially a bonus game against Barcelona on Wednesday night before final matches against Portuguese and Russian opposition.

Lennon saw his team take their eye off the ball when drawing 2-2 with Dundee United at the weekend, although there will be focus and concentration throughout against the tournament favourites and Celtic can be backed at 9/1 (Blue Square bookmaker) to get things right on the night after taking the lead in the reverse fixture.

There is sure to be a noisy atmosphere at Celtic Park for the arrival of Barca who haven’t been defensively tight all season but boast some excellent attacking players and the visitors are a 1/3 chance (Paddy Power free bets) to return back to Spain with a maximum haul.

Lionel Messi has recently become a father and can be backed at 12/5 to score the first of this game although the Argentine superstar was kept at bay in the last game and perhaps it will be former Arsenal man Cesc Fabregas who finds a way through again.

bet365

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