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Published on December 16th, 2010 | by Sportingly Better Tipster

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Champions League Hopefuls

With the draw less than 24 hours away England’s 4 representatives await their next opponent in the first knockout stage proper of the UEFA Champions League.

Group winners Chelsea, Man Utd and Spurs will all crucially play a runner up, whilst Arsenal who finished second in their group could face one of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and a dangerous Schalke.

The latest odds are (25-1 Bar):

Barcelona 3.25, Real Madrid 4.50, Chelsea 6.0, Man Utd 9.0, Arsenal 13.0, Bayern Munich 17.0, Spurs 19.0, AC Milan 23.0 and Inter Milan 26.0.

In terms of the English contenders Arsenal and Spurs whilst are fluent in their attacking potency and dynamism, lack the solid, consistent and experienced back line you usually need to go all the way in this competition. The same also can be said about Bayern Munich whose centre halves for the last couple of seasons in the form of Van Buyten and Demichelis have been questionable, whilst the youngster Breno is still inexperienced. One positive for Bayern are they did qualify as group winners and potentially could have a more favourable draw.

Of the rest last seasons winners Inter Milan seem the shadow of the side that Mourinho made from virtually the same squad and surely it is more likely that Benitez will get the boot than Inter Milan will retain the trophy.

Chelsea have been a side that have had their injury problems this season. Not only that there seems to be a sense of discontent ever since Ray Wilkins moved on with questions now also arising over the future of manager Carlo Ancelotti. The same can be said for Real Madrid and although there is no doubting the ‘Special One’s talents there seems to be a level of friction with the board. This is on top of the drubbing in the recent El Clasico encounter.

If you’re looking for a probable winner it is more likely to be Barcelona. Their attacking talents (Messi) and footballing philsophy can not be bettered by any team in the world at the moment and at 3.25 are rightly installed as favourites.

The value bet for me would be Manchester United. We have yet to see Wayne Rooney reignite this season after a disastrous World Cup, contract wrangles, injury and fitness concerns. Added to this is the return of Ecuadorian winger Antonia Valencia and possible recruitment’s in January then this doesn’t seem too bad a bet on the face of it.

Although they finished second in their group, I would be tempted for a punt on AC Milan. The Italians are in superb form in Serie A and have a formidable front line with the likes of Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Pato. This coupled with the emergence this season of Kevin Prince Boateng as well as the legacy of stalwarts Pirlo, Gattuso and Nesta make 23.0 seem an attractive long shot punt.

Soccer – To Win Outright

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UEFA Champions League 2010/11 Book Closes 17 Dec 11:00
Each-way 1/2 1-2
Barcelona 3.25 Real Madrid 4.50
Chelsea 6.00 Man Utd 9.00
Arsenal 13.00 Bayern Munich 17.00
Tottenham 19.00 AC Milan 23.00
Inter Milan 26.00 Valencia 51.00
Roma 51.00 Shakhtar Donetsk 67.00
Lyon 67.00 Schalke 81.00
Marseille 101.00 FC Copenhagen 151.00
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