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Latest odds and tips 2021/22

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Chelsea won the Champions League in 2020/21

The Champions League is the most sought-after trophy in European football, with teams vying to be crowned as the best club team on the continent.

Reputations are made, dreams realised and careers defined by the tournament which starts 79 teams and filters down to just two by the time of the showpiece final even in May.

It is the golden goose for Manchester City who have been chasing the elusive trophy ever since Pep Guardiola joined the club, while PSG are also desperate to finally get over the line, and here 101 Great Goals looks at the runners and riders in the bid for Champions League glory in 2021/22.

Tournament favourites

Manchester City fell at the last hurdle last season as Pep Guardiola’s dreams of a third European title came crashing down in Porto, losing 1-0 to Chelsea. They made serene progress through the group stages to finish top of the pile despite the best efforts of PSG, scoring 18 goals in the process. They have the squad to once again go deep in the competition, though the absence of a striker and failure to land Harry Kane could cost them dearly when it gets to the big moments. They remain 11/4 favourites and have a favourable draw in the round of 16.

Six-time European champions Bayern Munich once again cruised through the group stages – handing out two 3-0 beatings to Barcelona on the way – and appear to have the Bundesliga well under control. Julian Nagelsmann is relatively inexperienced when it comes to winning major trophies but with a red-hot Robert Lewandowski leading the line and a R16 game against RB Salzburg to come, they will fancy themselves to see off anyone and deliver on odds of 7/2 to go all the way.

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Tournament challengers

Liverpool are going in search of their sixth European title this season. Their pursuit of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table looks to be a daunting task and they could well opt to fully focus on the Champions League. The Reds have a tricky round of 16 tie against Italian champions Inter Milan. Jurgen Klopp’s men are 5/1 to claim the title once again.

Defending champions Chelsea are having a tricky campaign and are 6/1 to reclaim their title. Having been strongly tipped to win the Premier League title, the Blues have been well off the pace in the race with Man City and Liverpool. Thomas Tuchel’s side also surrendered top spot in Group H to Juventus on the final matchday as they drew 3-3 with Zenit. The two-time European champions, therefore, will go head to head with French champions Lille.

PSG are 8/1 to finally end their wait for a first Champions League title. Over the summer the French side made clear their ambition to finally be crowned champions of Europe with the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donarumma and Gini Wijnaldum all being signed. However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are yet to really impress in the competition as they missed out on top spot in their group to Manchester City. The French league leaders now take on Real Madrid in a mouth-watering round of 16 tie.

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Tournament outsiders

Ajax have once again been the surprise package in the Champions League. The Dutch champions dominated Group C as they finished top with maximum points. Erik ten Hag’s side also have the competitions leading scorer in Sebastien Haller who netted an incredible 10 goals in the group stages. Ajax will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals as they take on Benfica in the next round of the competition. They are 14/1 to cause a huge upset and win the trophy for a fifth time.

Real Madrid were rewarded for topping their group with a Round of 16 tie against PSG. Los Blancos ended up running away with Group D following a shock defeat against FC Sheriff. The competition’s record-holders even managed to defeat a very impressive Inter Milan side twice as they took 15 points from a possible 18. Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr are the two stand out players for Madrid this season with the duo scoring a combined total of 36 goals. Carlo Ancellotti’s side are 16/1 to claim an unprecedented 14th Champions League.

Thanks to a lot of help from Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United managed to book their spot in the knockout stages of the competition. The Reds are 18/1 to go against the form book and win their first European title since 2008. Ralf Rangnick’s side face Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, who they could well fancy their chances against. Atleti are currently fifth in La Liga and lost four of their six group stages matches.

Juventus enjoyed a fantastic January transfer window which may well have boosted their chances of winning the European Cup. Juve managed to win the race for the highly sought after Dusan Vlahovic who was on fire during 2021. The Serbian’s goals could prove to be a huge factor for The Old Lady who are 28/1 to go all the way. Allegri’s side finished top of Group H and were drawn against Unai Emery’s Villarreal.

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

 

Premier League-chasing Manchester City have, on Thursday, been afforded an altogether timely double boost on the personnel front.

Pep Guardiola’s troops are of course primed to return to action in 72 hours’ time.

In the knowledge that a three-point haul will see them assured of back-to-back titles in the English top-flight, the Sky Blues are set to welcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to the Etihad, for a final day clash.

And, after stuttering to a 2-2 stalemate with West Ham last time out, City, this time round, will likely be considerably more confident in keeping their upcoming opponents at bay.

This comes owing to a pair of timely returns to fitness in the club’s first-team ranks.

As confirmed in a post across the Citizens’ social media platforms on Thursday, John Stones and Kyle Walker, both of whom were forced to sit out at the London Stadium owing to injury, have returned to training alongside the rest of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The two defenders, in turn, are expected to be available for selection this coming Sunday.

Wolves test

Turning attentions towards the other protagonist in the Premier League’s title race, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderer to Anfield this weekend, primed to take advantage of any potential slip-up on Man City’s part.

The Reds, amid an ongoing pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, currently sit just a point adrift of the table-topping Sky Blues.

This comes after Klopp and co, despite a whole raft of changes, emerged from a meeting with Southampton with a hard-fought 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

 

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

 

Word stemming from the Spanish media over the course of the last 24 hours points towards Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski inching ever closer to a move to Barcelona.

Speculation surrounding the future of Polish international Lewandowski has of course been rampant in the media for some time now.

This comes with the 33-year-old, fresh off another scintillating campaign in front of goal, eyeing a move away from Bavaria ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Speaking ahead of the club’s final Bundesliga outing of the season last weekend, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed as much, albeit whilst adding that Lewandowski is expected to see out the remaining year on his current contract:

To this point, the outfit most frequently tipped as a summer landing spot for Bayern’s star man have of course been Barcelona.

This comes with Xavi and co. understood to be highly appreciative of Lewandowski’s goalscoring talents, and evidently of the opinion that heading into the new season with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s first-choice centre-forward is out of the question.

And, as alluded to above, if the latest rumours emanating from Spain are anything to go by, then the Blaugrana appear primed to imminently land their man.

As per transfer journalist Gerard Romero, Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski’s representative, was in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Not only that, but, during his trip, the super agent paid a visit to the club’s official store, to allegedly purchase no fewer than ten Barca jerseys, all with Lewandowski’s name emblazoned across the back.

Blues keen

Interestingly, word of Barcelona’s swoop for ‘Lewa’ inching ever closer comes fresh on the back of the 33-year-old being linked with a move to another of European football’s heavyweights just days ago.

The outfit in question? Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

 

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Jordan Ayew escapes punishment in reckless challenge against Everton

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Why Jordan Ayew was not sent off for ‘reckless’ challenge vs Everton

Iconic Premier League club Everton are in a fight for their lives in the top flight of English football coming into the final weekend of action in the 2021-22 season, and at the time of writing are hosting Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Goodison Park with anything less than a win set to subject the Toffees to a final day of action on Sunday that could consign them to relegation.

But Everton fans will undoubtedly feel aggrieved after Eagles forward Jordan Ayew escaped serious punishment after a reckless challenge on academy graduate Anthony Gordon right next to both dugouts during the first half of play.

Ayew was seen to hack down Gordon with a scissor motion while contesting possession and made no attempt to win the ball, with players on both sides losing their cool in the resulting scrum.

It could not have come at a worse time for Everton given the gravity of the evening, and though the Toffees have fought back to lead 3-2 at the time of writing after Jean-Philippe Mateta and the aforementioned Ayew gave the Eagles a two-goal lead ahead of Michael Keane, Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin bringing matters into Everton’s hands, the fact that the Premier League came out in response to state that the tackle was “reckless” but not worthy of a red card once against calls into question the FA and the inconsistent refereeing standards in the league.

If Ayew was correctly sent off given the video and picture evidence on hand, matters could well be different regardless of the fact that Everton have done incredibly well to fight back when it has mattered most.

With both teams now in stoppage time, it’s clear that the Toffees found fuel through injustice with their Premier League lives at stake.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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