THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE continues on Wednesday night. Here, Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his thoughts on the clash between Besiktas and Monaco.
Besiktas v Monaco | Wednesday 1st November 2017, 17:00 | BT Sport
Besiktas v Monaco | Wednesday 1st November 2017, 17:00 | BT Sport Besiktas have been the revelation of the Champions League group-stage. The Turkish outfit boast a 100% record at the midway point and should have all but secured their place in the Last 16.
Of 42 previous examples of clubs to have won their first three fixtures, all 42 have progressed to the knockout stages, not that head coach Senol Gunes will allow his troops to put their feet up for this contest.
Black Eagles aiming for European progression
The Black Eagles recorded back-to-back domestic titles for the first time in 25 years and their ambitious president Fikret Orman is planning to build a global brand. Indeed, Besiktas became the first Turkish side to play a game in China during the summer and are keen to continue trend-setting.
But on the field, reaching the Champions League knockout stage has been top of their agenda having failed in their last six attempts. Last season the Turks were in control of their destiny before being inexplicably beaten 6-0 by Dynamo Kiev in their final group-game to tumble out of the competition.
They’re unlikely to allow similar mistakes this time around. Domestic form hasn’t been hugely encouraging – Besiktas ended a run of four league games without a win by beating Alanyaspor 2-1 away on Saturday – but their Champions League game-plan continues to bring success.
Besiktas unlikely to fold
Gunes’ group sit deep before breaking quickly, often using Ricardo Quaresma down the right, crossing for the centre-forward Cenk Tosun and Ryan Babel coming in off the left to attack the back post. Tosun has been directly involved in four of the last six Champions League goals recorded by the Black Eagles.
I believe they boast the nous and know-how to collect another positive result on Wednesday and having suffered only one defeat in 18 home European matches and W3-D4-L1 in their last eight Champions League ties, you’d want the hosts onside here.
Goals on the agenda
However, it’s hard to ignore a claim for goals, either. The Turks have delivered Both Teams To Score winners in seven of their nine Champions League duels since the start of last season with all nine encounters featuring at least two goals.
Defensively, the Istanbul giants have managed only one shutout in 11 at the Vodafone Arena at Europe’s top table whilst also failing to silence any of their past five opposition outfits.
With that in mind, I’m happy to take the evens (188BET) on offer for Besiktas in the Double Chance and Both Teams To Score market.
Monaco desperate for points
It’s no major surprise to see Monaco struggling to hit last season’s heights following the sales of a number of high-profile players in the summer. Les Monegasques saw five key components of their dazzling team move on and performances have pointed towards teething problems.
Head coach Leonardo Jardim is on his third rebuilding job in Monte Carlo and although domestic results suggest the Ligue 1 club are still capable of competing towards the upper echelons in France, Les Rouges et Blancs have come up short on the Champions League stage.
Monaco are on the bring of a group-stage exit for the for the first time in five participations and have Guido Carrillo and Rachid Ghezzal crocked this midweek. Djibril Sidibe and Radamel Falcao should both shake-off injuries to feature as the principality club seek only a second away UCL triumph in seven (W1-D2-L3).
The visitors have only failed to score in one road trip this term but haven’t shutout any of their past 11 Champions League opponents, whilst 10 of their previous 12 in this competition have featured at least three goals. Such trends are likely to extend this midweek.
Besiktas v Monaco – Besiktas double chance and Both Teams To Score (1/1 188BET)