Real Madrid and PSG Smack of Value in Wide Open Champions League05/11/2020 09:55
So far, this has been the strangest of starts to a soccer season across Europe. The team regarded as the best club side in the world – Bayern Munich – gets whipped 4-1 by Hoffenheim, and then a week later, Liverpool have a “hold my beer moment” by conceding seven goals against Aston Villa. Not to be outdone, Manchester City get spanked 5-2 at home by Leicester City.
Those three teams – Munich, City and Liverpool – remain the three market leaders for the 2021 Champions League. In fact, they are way out of ahead of everyone else. Both Munich and City are generally found at 4/1 to be crowned champions in Istanbul in on 29th May next year. Liverpool can be found at a standout price of 7/1 at www.888sport.com, but are more frequently found around the 11/2 mark.
We don’t want to dwell too much on the vulnerabilities of Bayern, City and Liverpool, but it’s enough to say that the trio has demonstrated frailties that did not seem to exist in the last couple of seasons. Moreover, particularly for the English duo, there should be worries about the squad depth, especially in defence.
Van Dijk could be out for the season
The news that Virgil Van Dijk could be out for the season should really worry Liverpool fans, as the Dutchman’s presence and organisational skills have played a huge part in Liverpool’s recent success. For City, Ruben Dias has a lot of pressure on his shoulders at a young age. The result against Leicester really showed that Pep Guardiola has work to do to overhaul his defence, although there was some improvement – and a tactical shift – when beating Arsenal 1-0 at the weekend.
Nevertheless, it is the next tier of teams that truly interest us in terms of getting a bit of value in the Champions League outright markets. PSG and Real Madrid, both of whom can be found somewhere around the 11/1 mark, are of particular intrigue.
Starting with the French champions, who also had some startling results at the beginning of the season. However, order has been restored in Ligue 1, and the Parisiennes has won five on the bounce conceding just one goal in the process. Neymar and Kylian Mbappé have both been excellent, but a word too on Julian Draxler who looks to be finding his feet in the French capital.
Madrid have Europe’s best defence
As for Real Madrid, well, a 1-0 loss to Cadiz at the weekend won’t have enthused anyone about their chances, but somewhere within this Real Madrid squad there is a very good team waiting to break out. There should be no worries about defence, as Madrid’s is arguably the best of all the European giants. But if Zidane can get a tune out of some the flair players, including Eden Hazard, then Los Blancos could once again be the kings of Europe.
But the more pertinent point we want to make here, and the reason we believe Madrid and PSG offer value, is about squad strength. You see, one of the reasons cited for these strange results suffered by some of Europe’s top clubs revolves around fatigue. Players did not have the usual preseason break over the summer, and many were not match fit in the early part of the season. While this should even out while the season progresses, the accumulative fatigue could really count when it matters next spring.
PSG, who had long break due to the cancellation of Ligue 1 last season, and Madrid both have the squad depth to cope with this, however. Yes, there are doubts over Madrid’s cohesiveness in attack, but the potential is there. City, Liverpool and Munich are deserved favourites, but we find it hard to see value in those odds. 11/1 for PSG or Madrid, though, should look tempting to discerning punters.