Football brainiacs make their Champions League predictions
Totally unrelated giant football picture
Some of the more dangerous/sexy amongst you will be forever searching for extra thrills, and what better way to ensure a midweek Champions League headrush than with a spot of football betting?
After the jump, various throbbing craniums go into overdrive explaining exactly who might win the competition. Courtesy of our pals at Betfair Football…
The Specialists are seven of Europe’s most knowledge and experienced football pundits, gathered together by Betfair to give you unbeatable insight and betting advice. Here they give you their views on the UEFA Champions League 2010/11. This week they’re telling us who will win the tournament, and who will finish as top goalscorer…
Andy Gray says:
Many people believe English clubs’ dominance of Europe is over but the Premier League remains the strongest league in the world and I expect to see one of Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United in the final at Wembley next May. As for a winner, I have a hunch that this could be Real Madrid’s year. The Jose Mourinho factor is significant and, with so many quality players at his disposal, he can succeed where so many other managers have failed and bring the Champions League trophy back to the Bernabeu. If you fancy a bet on the top scorer, Didier Drogba is nicely poised in the market behind Lionel Messi and David Villa.
Andy’s tips: Back Real Madrid at 6.6. Back Didier Drogba at 9.0
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic gone and new players like David Villa and Javier Mascherano, Barcelona are even stronger. Guardiola still follows the same playing method: keep the ball and enjoy the game. They may not have a big squad, but they will still be able to give their players rest when they need it. Even if Mascherano doesn’t completely fit with the Barcelona profile, he does give the team equilibrium. I would suggest Lionel Messi for top scorer. Even though David Villa is more of a forward in the pure sense, Messi has the stronger instinct for goal. I think Barcelona’s seemingly easier group will give Messi more chances to score.
Maldini’s tips: Back Barcelona at 3.9. Back Lionel Messi at 4.6
Bozydar Iwanow says:
The four clubs that look strongest to me are Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea and AC Milan. I reckon one of these four clubs will lift the trophy – although it may be that two of these giants will run into each other early in the knockout phase. Chelsea, with Carlo Ancelotti behind the steering wheel, has the most stable squad and I can picture them winning the Cup. The other day I named David Villa as the ‘missing link’ at Barcelona. They’ve been missing that type of player for years. He is the best and most complete striker in the world, and he’ll surely take advantage of the inch-perfect passes from Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi.
Iwanow’s tips: Back Chelsea at 7.2. Back David Villa at 6.2
Marcel Merciak says:
I reckon that we’ll see a finalist from England and Spain. There are many possibilities, but if I had to choose, I’d go for Chelsea and Barcelona, the most traditional pairing from big European rivals in recent seasons. Chelsea will, I believe, end their bad luck in the Champions League. The only ‘bad day’ Chelsea had during last season’s Champions League was the second leg against Mourinho’s Inter. If they can avoid such a trip, they will reach the final at least. Lionel Messi was the king of the last two seasons and will remain at the top for the third time too. If Real Madrid go further than in the past six seasons we can expect many goals from Gonzalo Higuan, and maybe even from Christiano Ronaldo. It´s difficult to choose at this stage but I would go for Lionel Messi to finish top scorer.
Merciak’s tips: Back Chelsea at 7.2. Back Lionel Messi at 4.6
Jonas Dahlquist says:
It’s tricky when the season has just started, so I have to follow my gut feeling here – and it tells me Chelsea. I think they are the team that has the biggest desire to win the Champions League, and it might be their last chance since key players like Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry are getting older – they look extremely solid. In terms of a goalscorer, Barcelona has a group that seems pretty easy by Champions League standards, so David Villa will probably benefit. If he avoids injuries, he’ll end up around eight to nine goals for the tournament.
Jonas’ tips: Back Chelsea at 7.2. Back David Villa at 6.2
Eamon Dunphy says:
After the novelty of an Inter Milan and Bayern Munich final in 2010, it seems to me that we’ll see ‘business as usual’ return in the coming year. The most likely winners are Barcelona. A plum Group D draw against minnows Rubin Kazan, Panathinaikos and FC Copenhagen will surely see Pep Guardiola’s team emerge as group winners and the knockout team to beat. The main challengers to Barcelona are clear from the betting – Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United. They all have their pluses and minuses. The top goalscorer will come from either Barca or Chelsea, and David Villa has a proven pedigree as a goal scorer, as witnessed at this summer’s World Cup Finals.
Eamon’s tips: Back Barcelona at 3.9. Back David Villa at 6.2
Vasiliy Utkin says:
At the start of such a long tournament, it is difficult to predict a winner with certainty, but I do think it will be an English club. Finals rarely pass without an English team in them, and this year they have the advantage of the final being at Wembley. For me, the favourite to win the Champions League is Chelsea. The top goalscorer will have to play for a team that produces many chances. I believe that Barcelona have an excellent chance to crush teams in their group. This will allow David Villa to become the leading marksman of the tournament.
Vasiliy’s tips: Back Chelsea at 7.2. Back David Villa at 6.2