The Champions League group stage is well underway and with Match Day 3 already played, now is as good a time as any to look forward and have a preview of match day 4, you know, since match day 4 is just a mirrored fixture list from match day 3 anyway. So, what benefit is there of having a reflected match day like this back to back in European cup football? Well, in my opinion, say you play Barca in game week 1, but the return fixture isn’t until game week 6, you’ll have any result on your mind for that entire time. With this, because the return fixture is so close you will still have the bit between your teeth if it doesn’t go your way and if the return leg is a home game too, you’re in a really good position.
So, since we’re here and looking at a preview let’s take a look at how all the best sportsbooks feel like these upcoming Champions League fixtures are going to go and see if I agree with them. We’re going to be taking a look specifically at the BIG games, the ones everybody will have their eyes on and the ones that I think to be the most important in terms of the teams individual groups, which I consider to be the following;
Liverpool Vs Atletico Madrid
Atalanta Vs Manchester United
First up, arguably the biggest fixture of this match day, Liverpool Vs Atletico Madrid, at Anfield. So why is this game so big? Well, there’s definitely some “bad blood” as it were in this fixture, given the fact that Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League in the first knockout stage back in the 2019/20 competition in what turned out to be a pretty incredible game for a neutral and the Liverpool FC haters, of which there are many. There has been much back and forth between and about Klopp and Simeone, but ultimately it’s safe to say that there is a LOT of respect between the two managers and while Klopp has made it known that he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the TYPE of football Simeone has Atletico playing, he has a LOT of respect for him and appreciates what he has achieved in the game.
Now, taking a look at this season, why is this game so big you might ask? Well lets take a quick look at all the group tables:
Given the fact that we have currently played three games so far and the table looks like this, Match Day 3 & 4 are going to be huge. Atletico never got off to the best start in the group with a 0-0 draw at home to Porto, while Liverpool started the group with a shaky 3-2 win at Anfield against AC Milan, they played well but just couldn’t keep it tight at the back. Match week 2, saw Liverpool run out 5-1 winners in the Estadio do Dragao in Porto while Atletico scraped a VERY LATE win over AC Milan with a 97th minute penalty at the San Siro, unfortunate for Liverpool. Realistically given the way the group sits, Liverpool only NEED 1 more win to qualify, unless AC Milan were to win all 4 of their next games. But taking any points off Atletico will be huge.
Things haven’t necessarily been going according to plan for Ronaldo and Fernandes. Source: Manchester Evening News
Next, Atalanta Vs Manchester United, now you may be wondering WHY is this considered a big game Stu? I’ll tell you don’t worry. United have a pretty solidly stacked team at the moment and it’s no secret that with “Ole at the wheel” they just aren’t going to achieve what they want. As a Liverpool fan, give him a contract until the end of time. ANYWAY let’s take a look at the group table.
Right, so United, a team that has players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes. Jadon Sancho, Paul Pogba, the £80million man Harry Maguire, is currently 3rd in a group that consists of Atalanta, Young Boys and Villarreal, not great. They’re arguably underperforming in the league too but that’s a story for another time. United really need to get their act together and the match day 3 & 4 double header with Atalanta is going to prove to be of massive importance, given the state of the group, this could genuinely make or break this seasons Champions League run for United. Atalanta should get out of this group regardless and in my opinion they should ALWAYS be considered dark horses in Europe, they always seem to show up on the big stage. I feel like Atalanta takes 4 points from the back to back with United.
That’s gonna do it for this one, who does your team play in match week 4 and how are they currently looking in the Champions/Europa Leagues? As a Liverpool fan we’re currently in a good position and a result in the Wanda Metropolitano tonight will be HUGE for us, even a draw at this point given Porto & AC Milan are seriously struggling. Here’s looking forward to some entertaining football moving forward! Take care everybody!