14/5 PSG worth a punt

  • By: Andy Schooler
  • Last Updated: December 10 2013, 19:59 GMT

Much has already been decided ahead of Tuesday's Champions League games but circumstances suggest PSG are worth a bet.

Cavani: Is in the PSG squad for their trip to Benfica
Cavani: Is in the PSG squad for their trip to Benfica

Matchday six is rarely one to get excited about in the Champions League and that's the case again this Tuesday.

So many issues are already decided - both Manchester clubs are already through to the last 16, for example - that team changes aplenty can be expected and you wonder how seriously many of the teams will take things.

With this in mind I prefer to get involved with matches with something resting on their outcomes.

Group C certainly has plenty at stake with Olympiakos in pole position to grab the second qualification spot.

They know victory at home to already-eliminated Anderlecht will take them through and with the Greeks having won the reverse fixture 3-0, as well as seeing off Benfica on home soil, they are just 2/5 to do so.

That is not good news for the Portuguese side, who must get something from their home clash with group winners Paris Saint-Germain to stand any chance of making it through. However, even a win will not be enough if Olympiakos triumph.

That's my angle here; if Olympiakos take control against Anderlecht, Benfica's heads could well go down and PSG have the players to capitalise.

The French side will be without a number of their star names, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alex and Thiago Silva, but these days their squad has plenty in reserve thanks to the Qatari petrodollars.

Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi make the trip with both more than capable of punishing a home team who will be forced to attack at some point.

I understand people may be put off by the team news from the PSG camp but in my opinion the circumstances still make them a good bet at 14/5.

Another game with plenty at stake is Galatasaray v Juventus.

One of these sides will progress to the knockout stages - Gala need a win but a draw will be good enough for the visitors.

Juventus have been rock solid defensively in Serie A of late, keeping seven successive clean sheets. That will stand them in good stead for this one as they know a repeat will put the into the last 16.

I'd expect them to try to keep Gala and their raucous crowd as quiet as possible early on, keeping possession and snuffing out the likes of Didier Drogba. The absence of playmaker Andrea Pirlo also increases the likelihood of a safety-first approach.

The hosts may not complain too much about such tactics - they will not want to go gung-ho early on for if they are caught on the break they could easily find themselves needing to score twice, which is a tough ask against Juve given their defensive strength.

Again, the situation these sides find themselves in mean the draw at half time is tempting at 27/20.

Of course, many of you will still want a bet on the games involving the English sides, so let's take a look at those.

United need a point at home to Shakhtar Donetsk to secure top spot in their group but such is their form that few will be hugely confident of that happening.

Back-to-back Premier League defeats at Old Trafford (without scoring) have left manager David Moyes feeling the weight of expectation at the club and regardless of the group situation, he could really do with a win here.

However, Shakhtar are no mugs. They may have sold stars like Fernandinho and Willian over the past year but they still have some good players, such as Alex Teixeira, who has three goals in this competition so far this season.

They've kept five clean sheets in a row, albeit the Ukrainian league is not the strongest in Europe, and arrive knowing a victory will see them qualify.

Expect them to have a go - recent history shows such tactics can pay dividends these days at Old Trafford - and if I were having a bet on this one, I'd certainly want to be with the visitors, probably in the draw-no-bet market in which they are 13/8 shots.

As for City, they face a rematch with Bayern Munich, a side who tore them apart at the Etihad back at the start of October. The Euoropean champions have won 11 and drawn one since that 3-1 success.

City can still top the group but they will need to win by at least three clear goals to do so, a scenario that can probably be ruled out.

Bayern have already laid down a marker and, given the group situation, I'm not convinced they want to make the effort to put down another in this match.

They certainly took their eye off the ball against Arsenal last season when the job was all but done and it almost cost them. I'm not expecting similar dramatics, such as City leading 3-0 in the final minutes, in this one but I do feel the visitors can cause a possibly weakened, or not fully focused side problems.

With this in mind, the red-hot Sergio Aguero could well be worth siding with - if indeed he is in the starting XI.

The Argentine has 18 goals from 18 starts this season for City; since the reverse fixture it's 14 in 12 with only two sides managing to keep him out.

Bayern may be European champions but 5/2 is a big price for Aguero to score against anyone right now, so I wouldn't put people off backing him once they've seen the teams. Of course, back him now and if he's a non-starter some firms will refund. Check their rules to see which.

  • The Manchester United game is being televised live in the UK on ITV, with the other matches on Sky Sports.

  • Posted at xxxx GMT on 10/12/2013.