Champions League October 18-19 Preview: Benfica v Manchester United; Chelsea v Roma

Real Madrid v Tottenham | Wednesday, October 18, 5.45am (AEDT), Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid

A huge test awaits the young Spurs up against the Champions League holders but it’s unlikely they’ll have to deal with Gareth Bale.

The former Spurs star is under an injury cloud and could miss the clash against his former side.

The Verdict 

Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo looms as a major threat for Pochettino’s men but if they can carry their EPL form into Madrid, they can test the champions.

Centre-back Danny Rose (pictured above) could be injected into the starting line-up. 

Unibet Odds: Real Madrid 1.42 Draw 5.00 Tottenham 7.50

Tip: Real Madrid 

Correct score: Real Madrid 2-1 

Maribor v Liverpool | Wednesday, October 18, 5.45am (AEDT), Ljudski vrt, Maribor 

Which Liverpool team will turn up is the question on everyone’s lips.

The Reds’ form in league play has been erratic and their defence has been suspect and brittle at times.

If they could rectify their defensive deficiencies they would be a force to be reckoned with in all competitions.

With just two points in the bag after two games, taking home maximum points against last-placed Maribor is imperative.

The Verdict 

With Sadio Mane out, look for Phillipe Coutinho (pictured above) to create with Kloop’s men to take an aggressive approach against the Slovenian champs.

Maribor have never won at home in a Champions League group stage match and if Liverpool turn up in the right frame of mind, Maribor will remain winless.

Unibet Odds: Maribor 19.00 Draw 7.50 Liverpool 1.18

Tip: Liverpool 

Correct score: 2-0 

Manchester City v Napoli | Wednesday, October 18, 5.45am (AEDT), Etihad Stadium, Manchester

A top of the table clash in Group F sees a clash between two teams sitting atop of their respective leagues in the EPL and Serie A.

Manchester City have answered every challenge thrown at them in league play but up against the Serie A leaders, this could be their toughest test to date. 

Prolific striker Sergio Aguero could be back but he won’t necessarily be in the starting 11. 

The Verdict 

City would be wise not to underestimate the Italians and they’ll have to afford them the same respect they would give to any other top European side.

One thing we can expect from City is their explosive firepower up forward and a 17-goal haul in their last three home games is testament to that.

Napoli will challenge but City should have all the answers. 

Unibet Odds: Manchester City 1.58 Draw 4.50 Napoli 5.50

Tip: Manchester City 

Correct score: Manchester City 2-1

Benfica v Manchester United | Thursday, October 19, 5.45am (AEDT), Estadio Da Luz, Lisbon

Unbeaten in all competitions, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe the way United have started the season.

Mourinho has his troops playing at their optimum level but a tough away trip to Lisbon will pose a serious challenge.

The Red Devils have some injury concerns, but there’s enough depth throughout the squad to cover those losses. 

The Verdict

A win in Lisbon secures a place in the knockout rounds for the Group A leaders and United will be keen to clinch their spot in the next phase.

Fourth-placed Benfica are languishing in fourth spot in the group but they’ll throw everything at the Red Devils to improve their position.

Don’t be surprised to see a cagey affair which ends in a low-scoring draw.

Unibet Odds: Benfica 4.60 Draw 3.70 Manchester United 1.80

Tip: Draw 

Correct score: 1-1 

Chelsea v Roma | Thursday, October 19, 5.45am (AEDT), Stamford Bridge, London

A look at Chelsea’s recent form will have you bemused and confused.

Their Champions League form has been outstanding and they have a 2-1 away win over Atletico Madrid to show for it but their recent league fixture was less than flattering.

A puzzling 2-1 defeat to Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace has Chelsea fans scratching their heads and wondering what is going on?

Missing injured central midfielder N’Golo Kante doesn’t help but they should regain Alvaro Morata (pictured above) who will be welcome boost up forward.

The Verdict

There’s nothing more inspiring than a home fixture in the Champions League to erase the memory of the Crystal Palace debacle.

Chelsea will bounce back but they’ll have to do it the hard way against a Roma side which is super stingy in defence. 

Unibet Odds: Chelsea 1.65 Draw 3.95 Roma 5.40

Tip: Chelsea 

Correct score: Chelsea 1-0

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