Manchester City and Chelsea next take up the Champions League challenge on Wednesday night, both looking to match Liverpool in opening the tournament with a vital win as Premier League champions City face a tough task against Bayern Munich in Germany.
Arsenal were humbled 2-0 by Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night in Germany while Liverpool left it late to clinch a 2-1 victory over Ludogorets, Steven Gerrard’s last-minute penalty converted to gift the Reds victory at Anfield.
Wednesday now sees Premier League champions Manchester City begin their Group E battle at the Allianz Arena to face former Champions League winners, Bayern Munich, of whom both shared a win against one another in the tournament last year.
Manchester City enter at enhanced odds 8/1 to win with Winner in an exclusive offer for new customers only, and will hope for no repeat of their last-16 fall in the previous tournament as the essential Yaya Toure returns to action and goalscoring menace Sergio Aguero appears back to near full fitness.
English hopes however could well rest with Chelsea once again, the last Premier League club to have achieved Champions League success when Didier Drogba famously equalised late against Bayern Munich and slotted in the winning penalty of a tense shoot-out that followed back in 2012.
The Blues have made an electric start to their latest Premier League campaign, victorious in the first four fixtures for all 20 clubs involved largely thanks to the exploits of Jose Mourinho’s summer signings, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa.
The latter ironically helped with the semi-final elimination of Chelsea from last season’s Champions League, when the Spaniard netted the second of three decisive goals for the ultimate runners-up, Atletico Madrid.
Now in Chelsea colours, the impact of the £32m Costa has proved somewhat spectacular, with Luis Suarez’s goal tally for Liverpool last season already being given a scare as Costa bagged seven goals in just four games, including a hat-trick against Swansea.
Costa is well worth a punt at William’s Hill 16/1 for the top scorer of the Champions League tournament, as well as 7/2 to score first against Schalke on Wednesday night with Bet365, his recent partnership with former Arsenal and Barcelona star midfielder Fabregas already a formidable one as the latter became the first player to assist a goal in six consecutive games after the Swansea clash.
Costa shrugged off injury that left him in doubt prior to that hat-trick, and will enter Chelsea’s opening Champions League match against FC Schalke 04 on Wednesday 17 September looking to continue his sparkling run of form, the pair joined in Group G by Maribor and Sporting.
Whether the run will continue for Mourinho’s men remains to be seen, Wednesday’s Champions League action involving Bayern v Man City and Chelsea v Schalke televised live on Sky Sports at 7.45pm.