Champions League: Second successive English winner priced at 4/6

26 November 2021 01:29:54 GMTPlus11

All four English clubs recorded wins in the Champions League this week with the two Manchester clubs sealing their passage into the knockout stages as group winners, and bet365 are 4/6 that we’ll see a second successive English winner of the competition.

Chelsea also put themselves in pole position to top Group H with a resounding 4-0 win over Juventus. Liverpool, meanwhile, had topped the ‘Group of Death’ after just four games, with something of a makeshift XI still being enough to beat Porto 2-0.

The mid-2000s saw a resurgence of English clubs on the European stage, the likes of which we’d not seen since the 70s and 80s, with finalists in five consecutive years (one of which saw the first all-English final) as well as two winners.

A decade later and Spanish clubs were rampant. 2014 to 2018 saw Barcelona lift Ol’ Big Ears for a fifth time, with Real Madrid winning it in the other four years, cruelly denying neighbours Atletico on two occasions.

But since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo – and now Lionel Messi – the La Liga clubs look much more timid; even Diego Simeone’s Atletico aren’t their usual formidable selves.

In fact, Atleti are on the brink of elimination, while Barcelona may well need a favour from Dynamo Kiev – who play Benfica – to reach the last-16.

This could leave Spain’s hopes with Real Madrid – who should’ve done enough to secure top spot in their group – and last season’s Europa League winners, Villarreal, who still need a result when they travel to Italy to take on Atalanta.

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Los Blancos are 16/1 to win a record-extending 14th Champions League, but with all four clubs still in with a chance of the knockout stages, a Spanish winner can be backed at 10/1.

France and Germany are effectively down to one representative following Borussia Dortmund’s shock exit and the early Parisian optimism around Messi’s signing has since faded. Will Mauricio Pochettino even be in charge for the knockout stage?

The latest reports, which seem to change by the hour, suggest Manchester United are set to appoint an interim manager, giving Pochettino a free run at the Champions League, and while there may be issues getting their all-star front three to gel, there’s no doubt about the sheer quality within the squad, and 6/1 may appeal to some.

Those looking for a bigger price may be interested in an Italian winner at 16/1. Juventus and Inter are already through, and Atalanta are a home win against Villarreal away from joining them.

Milan have a tougher task on their hands, needing a win against Liverpool and a favour from Atletico, but there’s every chance we’ll see three – if not all four – Italian sides in the last-16, and from there, who knows?

We’ll have four English sides in the last-16, and it’s likely they’ll all go through as group winners.

If Chelsea do join the others in topping their group, the odds suggest England’s representatives will be drawn against one of: PSG, Porto, Sporting, Benfica, Atalanta, Salzburg and Juventus (teams in bold confirmed as group runners-up).

Teams can’t be drawn against a side from their country or their group, but there’s not much there for the English clubs to fear, and all four sides reaching the quarter-finals is not an unrealistic prospect, at which point the 4/6 on an English winner may well be a fair bit shorter.

By Steve Freeth

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