iBet: Lightning Unlikely To Strike Twice At Celtic Park

Gareth Purnell

Champions League Group H

Celtic V Barcelona, kick off 7.45pm, ITV

Back Barcelona at 4/9 (Bet365)
Back Neymar to score at any time at 11/8 (BetVictor)

Purists might want to tune into the Arsenal V Napoli clash tonight but for a bet it might be better to head to Celtic Park where I expect Barcelona to beat Celtic. The Scots’ 2-1 win over the Spaniards in last season’s Champions League group stages was arguably the shock of the whole tournament, but in some ways there were signs it could happen at Barcelona had only just managed to beat Neil Lennon’s men with a last-minute Jordi Alba strike in the Camp Nou. With Lionel Messi injured and out of this game, there is talk of a repeat performance and the Spaniards have been made a back-able price for big hitters, especially with Bet365 who are looking to ‘get them’ and go a stand-out 4/9.

I can see the logic – Celtic (8/1) have lost only three of their last 24 Champions League fixtures at Celtic Park. However, two of those losses came to Barcelona, who are in their usual prolific form, having won their last six games and scored 20 goals in the process, and have conceded only one goal in their last four games. Perhaps most alarmingly for Celtic fans, although they have put up some decent performances, they have lost their last three games in this competition without scoring, and this is a step in class even from AC Milan.

They have also conceded in all three of their SPL home games this season and in their last eight Champions League games. As for the Messi factor, of course Barcelona are not as incisive without him. However, they did win six out of seven games in which the Argentine didn’t feature last season, and Neymar seems to have stepped up to the plate quickly. He could be a bet to score at any time tonight and Bet Victor are offering the stand-out price.

Chelsea had a shock to the system against Basle last time out and with Mourinho still struggling to find his best 11, they cannot be the most solid of 8/11 favourites away to Steaua Bucharest side (4/1) who are unbeaten in their domestic league and who have scored 19 goals in their first seven fixtures. However, the Romanian league is a big step down in class from this, something exposed when they were dismantled 3-0 in Schalke in their first Group E game. Chelsea seemed to click in the second half against Spurs at the weekend and if they can carry that forward, they should get the job done. It’s 4/5 that the game produces under 4.5 goals.

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