Predictions

2017-18 Champions League Group Stage 2 – Tuesday

After a week off, the UEFA Champions League with the second round of fixtures in this group stage.

All of the British clubs won bar Celtic, who lost 5-0 at home to PSG but the groups switch nights this time. That means Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are all in action first.

 

Apoel Nicosia vs Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham enter this fixture off the back of a five match winning run but Apoel Nicosia are tough to beat at home.

These teams haven’t met before but Cypriot teams are yet to win against an English club in Europe. Tottenham have however won all of their meetings with teams from Cyprus with only three goals let in.

Given how strong Spurs are, I can see them comfortably seeing off Nicosia with ease here and Harry Kane getting a brace.

Prediction: Apoel Nicosia 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Result: Apoel Nicosia 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur

 

Manchester City vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Pep Guardiola will be hoping that his Man City side can keep up their strong home record, having won their last two home games 5-0.

That looks likely given Donetsk’s poor away record in England. Their last four trips have all ended in defeat and I expect that run to continue given City’s strong home record in the Champions League.

If the data at Footstats are anything to go by, the Citizens are strong across both halves and all of their conceded goals have come in the opening 45 minutes. They have also averaged 19 shots per game with 7.33 being on target.

One issue is that all of City’s home games have been domestic so far so can’t take those stats at full value given difference in competitions.

Ultimately, everything points to a Manchester City win and I think they will send a strong message here to the rest of Europe.

Prediction: Manchester City 4-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Result: Manchester City 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

 

Spartak Moscow vs Liverpool

Liverpool will be delighted to have Sadio Mane available, having missed him for the past fortnight.

These teams have met once before in the 2002-03 group stage, back when there were two group stages. Liverpool won the two fixtures 8-1 on aggregate with a 3-1 win in the away leg.

Jurgen Klopp will be glad that his team won on Saturday but he needs to sort out that back line because they have conceded in all but one match this season. Spartak are a much easier opponent and can’t see them punishing the defence too much.

Both teams will score but I fancy Liverpool to just edge things in Moscow.

Prediction: Spartak Moscow 1-2 Liverpool

Result: Spartak Moscow 1-1 Liverpool

 

 

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