The Betfair markets have been reacting to Friday’s Champions League draw and it’s time for punters to step up too.
United backers will be delighted to see the Reds paired with Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals and either Lyon or Bordeaux in the semis. Odds of 4.5 (7/2) on a third Champions League triumph for Sir Alex’s men should be snapped up now.
United’s last eight tie with the German side will inevitably provoke memories of the dramatic 1999 final, when two late goals gave the Reds victory in the Nou Camp. It’s a good draw but Sir Alex won’t be taking Bayern lightly, especially as last time the teams met, they knocked United out on their way to winning the competition in 2001. The German giants still boast decent players, such as Arjen Robben, Mark Van Bommel and the excellent Franck Ribery but Bayern were lucky to sneak past Fiorentina on away goals in the last round. Wayne Rooney, who can be backed at 3.6 (13/5) to be the competition’s top goalscorer, will relish the opportunity to run at their shaky defence.
If the Reds get past the Germans, they will meet the winner of the all-French quarter-final between Lyon and Bordeaux. Ex-United defender Laurent Blanc is going great guns in his first job in management with Bordeaux – he won the Ligue 1 title last season and getting to the last eight of the Champions League is a record for the club. The current Lyon side is generally considered to be weaker than it has been in recent season’s but knocking out Real Madrid in the last round showed that they remain canny European operators. The Reds have a decent record against Claude Puel’s side, having knocked them out two years ago.
Arsenal got the opponents nobody wanted – Barcelona – and their tournament odds have drifted out to 12.0 (11.0) after they were drawn against the favourites, who can be backed at 3.05 (2/1). Inter Milan, currently trading at 5.0 (4/1), take on CSKA Moscow. Jose Mourinho’s men were very impressive in knocking out Chelsea on Tuesday night – an outcome tipped in this column – but, after losing to them already this season, they won’t fancy a semi-final with Barca.
A repeat of last year’s final seem the most likely pairing in the Bernabeu on May 22 and Barcelona/Man Utd can be backed at 3.8 (14/5) in Betfair’s Nominate the Finalists market. The only question for United backers is, will there be a different outcome?