Sporting Lisbon enjoyed a very successful start to their Champions League campaign earlier in September, but it was very close to being a disaster. They went three goals to the good away to Olympiakos in the first half and looked comfortable throughout, but two goals in two minutes for Olympiakos put Sporting on the back foot, although fortunately there was only injury time left to play and they managed to hold on.
Since then the Portuguese giants have played three domestic games, and they haven’t gone particularly well overall. They beat Tondela 2-0 but have drawn against Maritimo in the cup and Moreirense in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, leaving them two points adrift of rivals Porto at the top of the table.
As far as the Champions League goes, Sporting Lisbon will know it will be incredibly difficult to make it through this group. They made a big step towards a 3rd place finish with their win in Greece, but with Barcelona and Juventus also in their group, their chances of a top two finish look very slim indeed.
Barcelona were expected to start struggling this season as their golden generation of players begin to show their age and Neymar leaving for the bright lights of Paris. Nothing could be further from the truth so far though.
The Catalan giants did start the season with a Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, but they have won all seven games since then and built a four point lead at the top of La Liga. They hammered Juventus 3-0 in their first Champions League group game, gaining some measure of revenge after the Turin side kept them from scoring for 180 minutes last season.
Not many look capable of keeping Barcelona out this season though. They have netted a huge 23 goals in their last seven games, although they have conceded in two of their last three and face a Sporting side who boast an attacking philosophy.
In fact, in the Champions League, Sporting Lisbon have scored in six of their last seven home games, whilst Barcelona have conceded in 11 of their last 14 away days in the competition. A clean sheet for them could be difficult, but with the talents of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez you can’t back against them on this occasion. The former of these two players has already netted 11 goals in just seven matches this season, so backing Barcelona to Win and Both Teams to Score at 8/5 looks a good choice along with a 3-1 correct score predictions at 9/1.