Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Chelsea offer more

Knockout punch: Jose Mourinho will take Blues to knockout stage
Knockout punch: Jose Mourinho will take Blues to knockout stage

Chelsea, despite that penalty shoot-out defeat by Bayern Munich in the Super Cup, showed that they will not be easily beaten in the Champions League – never mind on the home front – and make plenty of appeal at 11/1 to repeat their Euro success of two years ago.

Qualifying for the last 16 will be no problem for Jose Mourinho's Blues from a group which consists of Schalke, Basle and Steaua Bucharest, and that's reflected in odds of 1/3 to top their section.

Manchester United and City are both 14/1 with Arsenal at a massive 40/1 in view of the latter having to take on last year's beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Napoli. Far from easy.

United have a trappy little group with Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad but 5/6 to come through as winners is great value.

City, so far a big disappointment in Europe, are up against it in Group D, taking on champions and 7/2 favourites Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Czech Republic side Plzen.

Celtic got the worst of the draw – Barcelona, Milan and Ajax – with little or no mission of reaching the knockout stage and are 7/2 to repeat last year's win over Barca, home or away.

Juventus are one team that will make the last 16 and are great value at 20/1 to go all the way.

Carlos Tevez has had a new lease of life with the Serie A champions – two goals in as many games – and the sprightly Old Lady will give Real Madrid plenty to think about in Group B.

Whether winners or runners-up, they'll come through the section and that'll make those outright odds a bargain.

They have to be considered at 5/2 to be top dogs in the group.

Chelsea deserve the quote of 15/8 to be the British side to go furthest but 11/8 all four English sides to qualify is too short in view of unreliable City.

Champions League specials: 7/2 Celtic to beat Barcelona at any point; 5/1 all-British final; 50/1 Man U v Man City final; 40/1 All English teams to win groups. Winning nation: 15/8 Spain; 11/4 England, Germany; 9/1 Italy; 14/1 France; 16/1 any other.

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