Luiz to Net for Blues

  • By: Nick Hext
  • Last Updated: December 4 2012, 17:10 GMT

David Luiz: Backed to strike for Chelsea

1pt David Luiz to score at any time v FC Nordsjaelland at 6/1 (William Hill).

1pt Manchester United to beat CFT Cluj from behind at 8/1 (Blue Square).


So it comes down to Wednesday night for Champions League holders Chelsea.

The Blues need a win over FC Nordsjaelland and have to hope Juventus lose against Shakhtar Donetsk if they are to progress to the knockout stages.

Chelsea's head-to-head record is inferior to both Shakhtar and Juve so it looks highly likely they will become the first defending champions to fail to reach the last 16 of the following season's Champions League.

The draw has already been trimmed in the Shakhtar v Juve clash with 10/11 the best odds available at the time of writing.

That outcome would suit both sides, securing Juve's qualification and top spot for Shakhtar, but it isn't worth getting involved in a price that short.

The one part of the equation we are pretty certain about is that Chelsea will beat Nordsjaelland.

The Danes only have one point from their five games in Group E and their defeats read 2-0, 4-0, 4-0 and 5-2 so it has been hard going for them at European football's top table.

We expect the Blues to win with ease but the 4/5 for them to win by three or more goals isn't too inviting.

Instead we will back returning defender David Luiz to find the back of the net.

The Brazilian missed the weekend's Premier League defeat at West Ham because of suspension but he should return to the heart of the backline for this clash and offers a goal threat.

Luiz netted in the 4-0 win over Nordsjaelland in Denmark and is available at 6/1 to strike at Stamford Bridge - a bigger price than defensive colleagues Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill.

The duo have also been amongst the goals this season but Luiz is our pick for Wednesday night's clash.

Manchester United are already assured of top spot in Group H ahead of the clash against CFR Cluj at Old Trafford.

The Romanians can still claim second place but it's Galatasaray, who face Braga in Portugal, holding the advantage as they just need the same or better result than Cluj to progress.

That leaves the Railwaymen - the nickname Cluj share with League One Crewe - with plenty of motivation for this encounter.

The clash between the two sides in Romania ended in a 2-1 win for United as two Robin van Persie goals saw them battle back for the three points after falling behind to Pantelis Kapetanos's strike.

As is widely known by plenty of you the Red Devils have plenty of experience of coming from behind to win this season.

They have done so nine times already and that makes odds of 8/1 with Blue Square for them to do so again well worth a small flutter.

That is the selection for this encounter.

Celtic host Spartak Moscow at Parkhead and they need a better result than Benfica, who take on Barcelona at the Nou Camp, to reach the last 16.

The Portuguese outfit have the head-to-head advantage but Celtic will have plenty of hope heading into this clash as you don't need too much football knowledge to know playing Spartak at home is easier than travelling to Barca.

Celtic are the 4/7 favourites for the victory but that isn't tempting for us even though Spartak are in the midst of a fair amount of upheaval.

Former Valencia coach Unai Emery didn't last too long this season and Valery Karpin is now back in charge as he looks to get to grips with an inconsistent season that has seen fans turn on the team.

Spartak lost 4-2 against Zenit St Petersburg last Friday to further the misery and are certain to finish bottom of Group G in Europe's premier competition.

They are out at 5/1 to win this match and as the justification for them to take the three points is that this could be the game they finally turn on some form it is worth leaving that price alone.

Celtic will need to be wary but there just isn't any reason to show faith in Spartak.

  • Preview posted at 1710 GMT on 04/12/2012.