- Chris Sobey
The European Champions League round of 32 knockout stage draw that includes Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs takes place on Monday 11th December and no team from the same country can face each other until the quarter-final stage, which should improve the chances of the four English teams reaching the latter stages. The last of the Europa League group stage matches took place last night and the round of 32 and knockout phase draw also takes place on Monday 11th December, which will include the teams that finished in third place in their Champion’s League Group.
Villareal lost on the night but still ended up winning Group A ahead of FC Astana who qualified at the expense of Slavia Prague who they defeated 1-0 last night. Dynamo Kiev defeated Partizan 4-1 in Group B last night and the Ukrainian’s won Group B as a result ahead of Partizan. Braga lost 2-1 away at Basaksehir in Group C last night but had already won the group and Ludogrets finished second after securing the point they required drawing 1-1 away at Hoffenhiem. AC Milan lost 2-0 away at Rijeka last night but had already qualified as Group D winners and AEK qualified second after they secured the point they required drawing 0-0 away at Austria Vienna last night.
Italian side Atlanta defeated French side Lyon 1-0 last night in Group E and the result meant Atlanta won the group and Lyon finished second. Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 win away at Zlin meant they ended up as Group F winners and FC Copenhagen 2-0 win at home against Tiraspol meant they qualified second ahead of Tiraspol on goal difference after both finishing on none points. At the time of writing Plzen were beating Beer Sheva 1-0 and had already qualified as Group G winners ahead of FCSB who had already qualified in second even thought they were losing 2-0 at home against Lugano. Arsenal had already qualified as Group H winners and were beating BATE 6-0 at the Emirates at the time of writing and Crvena Zvezda looked like they will qualify in second as they were beating FC Koln 1-0 at home and the German side needed to win tonight to have an outside chance of qualifying.
Salzburg had already qualified as Group I winners and at the time of writing Marseille were joint second on eight points with Konyaspor and leading by goal difference. Marseille were drawing 0-0 at home against Salzburg and Konyaspor were winning 1-0 away at Guimaraes at the time of writing. Athletic Bilbao were leading Group J on 11 points and by goal difference from Osterunds and the Spanish side were beating Zorya 1-0 away and Osterunds were drawing 1-1 away at Hertha Berlin. Lazio and Nice had already qualified as Group K winners and runners up even though Lazio were losing 2-1 away at Waregem and Nice were drawing 0-0 away at Vitesse at the time of writing. Finally, Zenit St Petersburg and Real Sociedad had already qualified from Group L and were facing each other last night in Spain at Sociedad to decide the group winner and at the time of writing Zenit were winning 2-1.
The domestic football action gets underway tonight with a Championship encounter between third place Bristol City and fourth place Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and both teams are on 37 points and six points behind Cardiff City in second. United have won seven of their ten Championship home games, losing two, and six of the games ended with under 2.5 goals. Sheffield United also won six of the seven corresponding home matches against Bristol City between 1999 and 2014 and six of these games ended with more than 2.5 goals scored. Bristol City have won five and drawn four of their ten league away games this season, seven of the games ended with more than 2.5 goals, and their one defeat was there first away game of the season. From a betting perspective its worth opposing Sheffield United either on the exchanges or by backing Bristol City on the handicap. Alternatively backing Over 3.5 goals or the match double. Both Teams to Score ‘Yes’ and Over 3.5 Goals is worth considering as five of Bristol’s ten league away games this season ended with more than 3.5 goals.
The Premier League action gets underway Saturday lunchtime with a London derby at the fittingly named London Stadium between second bottom West Ham and third place Chelsea. Chelsea will be difficult to beat as they’ve won five and drawn one of their seven league away games this season, West Ham have won two of their six league home games this season, and Chelsea have won nine of the sixteen corresponding Premier League fixtures against West Ham and nine of the sixteen games ended with more than 2.5 goal being scored.