Chelsea v Juventus, 19:45
Although they have had a few wobbles in recent weeks Juventus have to be considered one of the form clubs in Europe, as they haven’t lost in forty or so league matches and provided the core of the fairly successful Italian side in the European Championships. Chelsea’s position as winner of the tournament last year will neither intimidate or impress their visitors for the evening, and it will be very interesting to see how this new set of Blues get on against true European footballing royalty. If the handshakes go off without incident this could be a really great encounter, but I do worry the Turin-based outfit won’t want to commit to attacking if it means they might lose, and for that reason the 6/1 with Ladbrokes on a 1-1 would be my pick.
One absentee the Juventus fans will be concerned about is coach and former player Antonio Conte, who has been handed a halfway-house sort of punishment for not disclosing what he knew about match-fixing whilst in charge at Siena.
Manchester United v Galatasaray, 19:45
Last season was the culmination of a number of factors for United that contributed to their European downfall, most notably a complacency in the league that is being stamped out and a lack of true class the club hopes to have rectified over the summer in signing Robin Van Persie and others. Galatasary are traditionally nightmarishly difficult to play in their own back yard, but rubbish on the road and considered easy pickings, but a side with the talent and unpredictability of the Turks can never be taken for granted. United have been patchy in the league, but the 3/1 on RVP scoring first with Bet365 is borne out by his excellent start.
Patrice Evra is set to return having recovered from injury, as could Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, and Darren Fletcher, all of whom have been suffering with injuries or illness. Galatasaray defenders Tomas Ujfalusi and Sabri Sarioglu are both out injured, and form striker Umut Bulut is set to partner former Bolton Wanderers forward Johan Elmander up front.