Monday, October 23, 2017

Prediction: AEK Athens vs CSKA Moscow

Verdict: CSKA Moscow Draw no bet

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: bet365

Revived Greek giants AEK Athens take on Russian Premier League outfit CSKA Moscow in what should be one of the most interesting ties in the Champions League 3rd qualifying round. The Russian side are in a better shape with their league campaign having already started, but the hosts are hoping their passionate fans will make life difficult for the opposition at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.

AEK Athens

One of Greece’s oldest and most famous clubs were the first team from the country to reach the Champions League group stages and they also appeared in the UEFA Cup semis back in 1977. However, the club underwent some difficult times few years ago as they were relegated to the third tier of Greece’s league system, only for them to swiftly return to the top flight. Last season was a resounding success for Enosis as they won the Champions League play-off ahead of Panathinaikos, PAOK and Panionios to secure a place in the qualifying stages. Despite finishing regular season in fourth place, AEK impressed to take 12 points from six play-off fixtures, although they were somewhat unfortunate to be pitted against star-studded CSKA Moscow. The club, however, did well to reinforce their ranks in the summer, signing Marko Livaja, Helder Lopes, Uros Cosic, Arnor Traustason, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Viktor Klonaridis and Panagiotis Tsintotas. AEK did fairly well in warm-up games, defeating Korona Kielce (1-0), Banik Ostrava (3-1) and Bnei Sakhnin (2-0), while sharing spoils with Karpaty (1-1) and KAA Gent (1-1).

Team News

Viktor Klonaridis and Anastasios Bakasetas have resumed training, but Vassilios Lambropoulos remains sidelined through injury.

CSKA Moscow

CSKA Moscow failed to keep up with local rivals Spartak in the race for last year’s Premier League trophy, but they did well to pip star-studded Zenit to a second-place finish and the final Champions League berth. Four successive victories in the season finale proved crucial, but looking at the entire season, it is easy to see that rock-solid back line was the main reason for a good result. Namely, CSKA Moscow remarkably conceded mere 15 goals in 30 league fixtures, which is a tremendous result when we know how strong top Russian sides are up front. Talented coach Viktor Goncharenko continued with three at the back in the new season, with brothers Berezutski now playing either side of Viktor Vasis, who is enjoying the best period of his career. Pontus Wernbloom and Bibras Natcho operate in the middle of the park, while Alan Dzagoev and Aleksandr Golovin play just behind lone striker Vitinho. CSKA Moscow haven’t had such a good start to the new campaign, having lost to Lokomotiv Moscow after the opening win over Anzhi, and they will have to show some improvement if they want to see off AEK Athens on Tuesday evening.

Team News

With no fresh injuries to report, Viktor Goncharenko is likely to field an unchanged side to the one that faced Lokomotiv Moscow. Roman Eremenko and Kirill Nababkin are among those to miss out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • AEK and CSKA have never met before
  • AEK are winless in last nine vs Russian sides (D2 L7)
  • CSKA eliminated PAOK in their only meeting with a Greek club
  • AEK signed a number of new players this summer
  • CSKA won and lost in first two games of the season

Conclusion

With so many new players arriving in the summer, and their league campaign yet to kick off, AEK are clearly not in the best shape at the moment and that is something that experienced CSKA Moscow team will know how to exploit. They’ve already got some competitive games under their belt and we believe they are closer to winning in Athens.

Verdict: CSKA Moscow Draw no bet

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: bet365

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