We’ve only had one night of the Champions League, but already we’ve had some big statements and all the action you’ve exome to expect from the best competition on the planet.
In the early kick-off yesterday, Lionel Messi drove Barcelona to a 4-0 win over PSV to make it five straight wins on the bounce, with the Argentinian now 2/1 to reclaim an honour he hasn’t won since 2011 after his hat-trick, started by a brilliant free kick.
Later on, the thrills were all at Anfield as a last-minute winner from Roberto Firmino gave Liverpool a deserved winner against PSG, both of whom played their part in a nail-biting encounter that for so long looked as if it would have given the visitors an undeserved point.
Elsewhere, Atlético Madrid battled their way back from a goal down to pull off a typically gritty win at Monaco in Group A, and Borussia Dortmund managed to sneak a 1-0 win from Club Brugge in other notable results.
Tonight, it is the turn of Real Madrid to start their title defence, and they can keep up their good start under new management with victory against Roma. Julen Lopetegui has won three of his four Lia Liga games in charge (with their draw against Bilbao at the weekend an unlucky one, seeing as they won the shots and shots on target count) and whilst Christiano Ronaldo has left, the chance to replace him has been taken enthusiastically by Gareth Bale (three goals and two assists in five matches this season) and Karim Benzema (five goals so far this season).
They are well supported by Luka Modric, Isco and Toni Kroos and face a Roma side that has struggled so far this season after selling Alisson, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan. They’re ninth in Serie A and have conceded at least two goals in their last three Serie A games. Roma lost by at least a two-goal margin at Atletico and Chelsea last season in the group stages and Real Madrid scored 17, so the 8/11 still around on them beating a one-goal handicap.
Elsewhere, Manchester United can continue their mini-revival with victory over Young Boys of Switzerland. Jose Mourinho came in for a great deal of stick after two successive defeats to Brighton and Tottenham, but they have been much improved when winning at Burnley and Watford. Watford were unbeaten before last weekend’s encounter and they were only kept in the game by Ben Foster’s excellent performance.
Young Boys are top with six wins in six Switzerland, but this is still a step up and if United can dominate the midfield physically as they have over the last fortnight they can win.
3 pts Manchester United (3/4 Betfair Sportsbook)
2 pts Real Madrid -1 (8/11 Paddy Power)