Chelsea vs AC Milan
Chelsea rank 3rd in the Premier League for corners, averaging 6.86 per game.
Chelsea have managed 8, 3, and 10 corners in their 3 Premier League home games this season, and also notched up 3 in their home outing against Salzburg prior to the international break.
Milan have only conceded 2.88 corners per league game this season but given their injury list, the calibre of opposition, and the fact that they’re away from home, I would expect them to sit back and concede a few more.
The Italian champions conceded 4, 3, and 5 corners in games against Napoli, Salzburg, and Inter, sides certainly closer in quality to Chelsea than the others they’ve faced domestically.
Sterling has been Chelsea’s shining light this season and they’ll need him to be at his best if they’re to overcome a stubborn AC Milan side tonight.
Over 7 games, Sterling has managed 2.09 shots per 90, with 0.75 of these being on target.
Despite a relatively quiet performance by his own standards at the weekend against Palace, Sterling still managed a shot on target, and even scored the Blues’ only goal in their last Champions League outing against Salzburg.
Milan have conceded 10.62 shots, and 3.00 shots on target per 90 in Serie A this season, and I expect Sterling to contribute to these numbers.
With Calabria, Kjaer, and Hernandez all injured for the away side, Kalulu, Dest, and Ballo-Toure are expected to deputise in defence. With the latter 2 barely having played any football, Sterling could take advantage of their rustiness with his raw pace and ability as he roams across the front line. He should find opportunities accordingly.
Juventus vs Maccabi Haifa
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Old Lady and Europe has been no different.
Allegri is under immense pressure after losses to both PSG and Benfica, as well as Juve languishing in 7th in Serie A.
A 3-0 weekend win has eased things slightly but tonight remains a must win, both for Juve’s aspirations of a good run in this tournament but also for Allegri to keep his job.
They actually won the xG battle against PSG, a loss was unlucky in that respect. They’ve averaged a much higher xG than xGA in the league too.
Regardless of their struggles, these two squads aren’t remotely comparable. Maccabi are one of the weakest sides in the entire of the group stages. They snuck in here with a late own goal against Red Star and have lost both group games so far.
The Israeli side have produced a total xG of just 0.64 in their two group matches so far.
The one comfort for Bianconeri fans has been the form of Serbian superstar Dusan Vlahovic. He’s netted 5 in 7 in the league.
He’s a wonderfully well rounded striker. Adept in the air, from distance and in possession of a deadly finish. He’s also a free kick and penalty taker for Juventus, which is a big bonus for a SOT selection.
Vlahovic averages 3.34 shots per 90 with 1.02 hitting the target. He’s had more shots in both Serie A and the Champions League than any other player in the Juventus side.
Real Madrid vs Shakhtar
Los Blancos are unbeaten in all competitions so far with 6 wins and a draw domestically, and 2 wins from 2 in Europe.
They’ve averaged 2.57 goals per game in La Liga, and have conceded 1 goal per game on average. They’re yet to concede in the Champions league, and have amassed 5 goals in two games.
The sheer quality of the side is evidenced by their ability to create clear cut chances. An xG of 2.55 is phenomenal, and this rises to 2.79 at home. Shakhtar will certainly have their work cut out for them, especially given Real’s respectable xGA of 1.28.
The stats make grim reading for Shakhtar. They may be unbeaten in the Champions League, but a 1-1 draw with Celtic isn’t encouraging given the Scots were humbled 3-0 by the Spanish giants.
An xG of 0.68 isn’t going to cut it against a side of Madrid’s calibre, and an xGA of 1.99 will make the Ukrainian side’s task incredibly difficult.
Vinicius has proven himself to be a real star over the last year, and is certainly a great pick for a shot on target in this one.
He’s averaged 1.76 shots on target per 90 from 3.31 shots per 90. In fact, the young Brazilian has managed a shot on target in every single Madrid game this season.
5 goals have come from those shots on target, and given that Real are at home, I can see him getting another tonight.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s awful xGA of 1.99 won’t help matters, and Vincius Junior should be able to find plenty of opportunities to have attempts at goal throughout the 90 minutes.
Benfica vs PSG
Benfica’s 0-0 draw away to Vitoria Guimares ended their run of 13 competitive wins in a row.
It’s been a great season so far for Benfica, they’re top of Primeira Liga, three points ahead of 2nd place Braga, and they sit joint top of Champions League Group H alongside tonight’s opponents PSG.
Benfica will seriously fancy their chances tonight. They have scored at least two goals in every home match this season and are averaging 3.28 goals scored at the Estádio da Luz.
Looking at average goals per game, Benfica league matches average 2.75 goals per game, five out of eight league matches have gone over 2.5.
In the Champions League (inc qualifiers), Benfica matches have averaged 3.17 goals per game, five out of seven have gone over 2.5 including both group matches.
As for PSG, their average goals per game is 3.67 in Ligue 1, only two of nine have gone under 2.5 goals. Both Champions League group games have gone over 2.5 – 2-1 win at home to Juventus and a 3-1 win away to Maccabi Haifa.
Looking at Benfica shots on target, the numbers are very impressive. They are currently averaging 15.67 shots per game across all competitions, with 6.42 hitting the target per match.
At home, that average increases to 18.27 shots, 7.86 on target. Benfica had 4 shots on target at home to Maccabi Haifa, 7 away to Juventus, 10 at home and 3 away vs Dynamo Kiev, 11 at home and 4 away to Midtjylland.
Away from home, PSG average 11 shots conceded, 4.18 on target. They conceded 3 shots on target away to Lyon, 5 away to Maccabi Haifa, 7 away to Toulouse and 8 away to Lille.