Saturday 24 February 2018 / 04:49 PM


This week’s Champions League line-up features the return legs from Matchday 3. Here’s a look at the best encounters:

AS Roma v Chelsea – 6:45am (AEDT), Wednesday, November 1 @ Stadio Olimpico, Rome

These two sides scored some amazing goals in a cracking 3-3 draw two weeks ago. Roma played with confidence and were rewarded for playing with an aggressive 4-3-3 formation away from home, despite being exposed in central midfield on occasions.

Roma will need to line up more cautiously in this leg to avoid having to chase the game again. Key midfielders Kevin Strootman and Maxime Gonalons can’t afford to be dragged out of space again – this is where Chelsea were able to expose Roma when charging forward on the breaks, with the Italian outfit preferring to play out wide.

This game will most likely be less free-flowing than the first leg. A draw will do Chelsea no harm in finishing top of the group, so Roma will have it all to play for once more.

Besiktas v AS Monaco – 4:00am (AEDT), Thursday, November 2 @ Besiktas Park, Istanbul

Besiktas have taken Group G by storm, and the surprise leaders have a fantastic opportunity to progress to the next round if they can defeat Monaco on Thursday. With a team featuring players who have previously played for clubs such as Real Madrid, Liverpool, Napoli and Inter Milan, manager Senol Guines has built a formidable side in a 4-4-1-1 formation.

Monaco have hardly played up to the high expectations after last season’s miracle run and will no doubt need to improve to stay in contention in the group. This is despite captain Falcao carrying his side up front.

Monaco’s new signings have not gelled together yet – the younger outfit will need to lift their work-rate and play at a greater speed when on the ball against an experienced and tough Besiktas side that can work hard when needed.

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid – 6:45am (AEDT), Thursday, November 2 @ Wembley Stadium, London

Two weeks ago Tottenham were able to match it with Real Madrid and would consider themselves unlucky to not get away with the full three points after Harry Kane missed a sitter. Given how things currently stand in Group H, this game will go a long way in determining who will finish first in top spot.

Kane looks set to return for Spurs after sitting out the Premier League on the weekend. They are far more lethal with him featuring up front and his return would be a major boost. Meanwhile, rising midfield star Dele Alli will be able to make his first UCL appearance of the season after completing his suspension from last season’s Europa League.

While Alli doesn’t help defensively, he will add to the setup of being able to play through to Kane through Madrid’s tight backline.

Sevilla v Spartak Moscow – 6:45am (AEDT), Thursday, 2nd November @ Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville

With one point between first and third in Group E, this game shapes as a crucial encounter for both sides. Spartak Moscow shocked Sevilla by winning 5-1 two weeks ago and have blown the group wide open.

Sevilla will need to improve considerably if they want to get something out of this game after being blown away on the left side by Spartak’s Dutch winger Quincy Promes. Spartak made the most of their chances and forced Sevilla to crack defensively under high intensity.

Sevilla have to be more ruthless going forward – they lacked a finishing touch when they had the ball in some very dangerous areas two weeks ago.

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Brett Sinclair

Sport has always been a big passion in Brett's life and he aims to share his vision with Commentary Box Sports' readers. Based in Melbourne, Brett covers AFL, NRL, cricket and football for CBS.

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