The Champions League is the single strongest competition in world football in terms of overall quality throughout its teams. This kind of intensity can only be rivalled in the European Championships but international football often lacks the coherence and organisation of the club game.
The 2012-2013 Champions League looks set to be stronger than ever and nearly impossible to predict.
Bookies and online casino will have a major headache in calling a winner in a competition that looks set to involve a number of dark horses. Barcelona inevitably starts as favourites, but how good are they post Guardiola?
Man City have established themselves as Premier League giants and can compete on this stage, then there’s Paris Saint Germain and Arsenal who’ve both spent big bucks and built a squad of talent that can match most in Europe.
Arsenal could be a great outside bet for this year’s title. They have the European nous of Arsene Wenger and a passing style of play that fits nicely into European competition. The likes of Song, Van Persie, Giroud, Polodski, Cazorla and Arteta will place Arsenal as genuine challengers for the Premier League title for the first time in years and are all footballers of the modern pass-and-move variety.
Chelsea are another team who have quietly built a team of players who can challenge anyone. Many saw Chelsea’s Champions League success as a fluke – playing in a manner that wasn’t attractive to the neutral. They aren’t fancied this year at around 14/1 but any team that can boast Hazard, Mata and Oscar playing in front of newly invigorated anchor man Frank Lampard must be in contention. If Hazard and Oscar settle quickly, Chelsea will compete favourably.
3 or 4 teams this year have incredible potential if they can gel. Arsenal, Chelsea and Paris St Germain can all take the honours if their new arrivals live up to their billing in a year when the bigger teams – Barca, Real, Man United – seem to have stagnated slightly.
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