The qualifying stages for this seasons Champions League may still be in their early stages, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking about picking your winner. The Champions League is the premier club competition in the world and the trophy that all of the top teams want to win.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side retained the trophy last June with a comfortable 4-1 victory against Juventus in Cardiff. With this victory, Real Madrid became the first team to successfully defend their title in the Champions League era. Zidane’s side will again be one of the favourites for the crown, but in this preview we’ll take a look at all of the top teams chances and give you our picks for the title.
Another Spanish Winner?
Barcelona and Real Madrid will again start the season as favourites for the Champions League with Ladbrokes offering odds of 9/2 and 5/1 respectively for the Spanish giants. These two sides have won all four of the last four Champions League titles, but is it time for the Spanish dominance to come to an end? Neither side have improved their squad over the summer so far, with both sides just bringing in a couple of youth players.
Real Madrid have lost Alvaro Morata, James Rodriguez, Pepe and Danilo from their first team squad and will surely make moves to bring in at least one top level player before the season starts in August. I do get a sense that both sides have either stood still or taken a step backwards this summer, so the smart money could be to bet on someone else; but who?
As long as Liverpool come through their playoff tie, then there will five English teams in the Champions League next season for the first time ever. Manchester United qualified by virtue of winning the Europa League, despite finishing outside the top four in England and are available at odds of 16/1 (Ladbrokes).
Jose Mourinho has already won the Champions League twice in his career, with Porto and Inter Milan and if he can get his talented Manchester United squad firing then 16/1 looks like a great price.
Elsewhere in England, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side are available at a price of 12/1 (Ladbrokes), Chelsea at 14/1 and Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at longer odds of 25/1. English sides have struggled in recent years in Europe, but all 5 of the sides involved this year have top class managers capable of winning club football’s biggest prize.
Time for PSG to Shine?
Big spending PSG have flattered to deceive at many times over the past few years. Last season the club suffered the embarrassment of losing the French Ligue Un title to Monaco and exiting the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona despite winning the first leg 4-0 in Paris.
This season could be their time to shine though and with odds of 11/1 (Ladbrokes) currently available now is the time to move. If PSG manage to wrap up the transfers of Neymar and Alexis Sanchez, then their odds are sure to plummet to around 6/1, so now is the time to take a gamble on them completing those transfers and winning the Champions League.
The French side have a supremely talented squad including the likes of Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani and the arrivals of Neymar and Alexis Sanchez could propel them to the highest echelons of European football.
It’s extremely rare that an outsider wins the Champions League, with Jose Mourinho’s victory with Porto in 2004 perhaps the only example of this in the past 25 years. Therefore, it is unlikely that anyone with odds of longer than 25/1 will stand a chance of upsetting the applecart.
Monaco did so well last season and are available at 50/1 (Ladbrokes), but they have been stripped of most of their stars from the last campaign and will be heavily reliant upon Kylian Mbappe if he stays.
In conclusion, you are really looking at one of Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus or Chelsea in terms of picking a winner and if PSG manage to bring in Neymar and Alexis Sanchez then my money would be on them to finally break the Spanish dominance in the competition.