Andy Brassell on the Champions League: Chelsea's cruise to qualification threatened by familiar face
Stakes are high in this week's final round of Champions League group games - particularly for Chelsea, Inter and Lyon, writes Andy Brassell- According lớn the soccer handicap tips page!
Renato Sanches revival poses Chelsea puzzle
Chelsea, we thought, had done the hard part. Having taken four points from two matches with Ajax and having prised a draw from Valencia at the Mestalla - albeit with their hosts missing some absolute sitters being complicit in the latter feat - it felt as if The Blues' young side had broken the back of qualifying in what is a far-from-easy Champions League group.
The market still sees a Chelsea win against Lille on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge, which would see them home with comfort, as the most likely scenario. They are 1.22 lớn win, with the draw at 7.60 and the visitors all the way out at 18.50. A few things, however, have changed in recent weeks.
There's Chelsea's own form of course, with a run of one win in soccer handicap tip in all competitions, but we shouldn't be dismissing Lille as cannon fodder. Their performances in the group have been worthy of more than the one point they've won so far, and they are up to third on Ligue 1 on the back of three straight wins and no goals conceded, typically of a Christophe Galtier side.
Last year's runners-up in France also have a secret weapon in the shape of Renato Sanches. Still only 22, the Portugal midfielder has begun lớn recover from his chastening experiences at Bayern and Swansea. Sanches has been outstanding in Lille's recent run, displaying all the energy and strength of his Euro 2016 pomp and looking immaculate on the ball. At the scene of one of his lowest points - passing lớn an advertising hoarding in Swansea colours - another good display would further his rehabilitation.
Back Chelsea and Lille lớn draw at 7.60
Inter face big expectations
It was a good weekend for Inter, even if they couldn't break down Roma in the big Friday night game in Serie A. Juventus' loss at Lazio 24 hours later meant Antonio Conte's men ended up extending their lead at the top lớn two points, and then they found out on Monday afternoon that Lionel Messi would not be part of the Barcelona squad to make their way to Milan for this week's crucial Champions League tie.
Inter, then, are in the rare position of facing Barça as clear favourites at 1.62, with the visitors at 5.30 and the draw at 5.00. Many around the Nerazzurri thought they might focus on Serie A and take it easy in Europe under Conte, but their performances have been exhilarating, and they only need to match Dortmund's result against Slavia Prague to reach the last 16.