- Group F is all-square with two draws on Matchday 1
- Barca desperate to beat Inter to kick-start their season
- New-look Inter have made a flying start to the new campaign
Neither of these two European giants were able to win their opening UEFA Champions League matches in Group F. For the Catalans, a draw away to Borussia Dortmund wasn’t the worst start but Inter had to rely on a late equalizer at home to Slavia Prague to save some red faces. So when the two meet this week – Wednesday, October 2 – the stakes are high.
Group F couldn’t be tighter, with all four teams on a point apiece, so few clues have emerged so far as to who will get top two, especially with this not being a vintage Barcelona team. We’ll take a look and see if we can find any value.
Barcelona vs Inter Milan Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds to Win Champions League|
|Barcelona||-1 (+101)||-167||O 3 (+102)||+550|
|+1 (+117)||+440||U 3 (-118)||+5000|
Odds taken on September 30, 2019.
It’s been a tricky start to the season for Barcelona, who have already lost twice in La Liga. A series of mediocre performances have heaped pressure on beleaguered coach Ernesto Valverde, and he’ll be desperate to get his first Champions League win of the season on the board against Inter.
His task has been hindered however by a series of injuries to key players, and against the Italians he could be without five regulars – including the maestro Lionel Messi – but soccer being the ruthless business it is, mitigation of this kind counts for nothing, even after you have won successive La Liga titles.
But the Champions League is Barcelona’s holy grail and with them surrendering big first-leg leads to crash out of the competition to Roma and Liverpool over the last two seasons, Valverde has, in the eyes of Barca fans, still plenty to prove.
The 0-0 draw in Dortmund was not well-received in Catalonia, but on the domestic front, they have responded with back-to-back wins over Villarreal and Getafe, and are now just two points behind leaders Real Madrid.
Barcelona vs Inter Milan Head-to-Head
|314/557||Number of European wins / Number of games||197/403|
|1106/1.99||Number European goals scored / Per game||620/1.54|
|563/1.01||Number of European goals conceded / Per game||386/0.96|
|14||Number of European trophies won||6|
|26||Number of domestic league titles won||18|
|27||Number of European finals||10|
By contrast, Inter have made a perfect start to the new Serie A season, winning six games out of six and currently sit top the table ahead of Juventus. They head to Catalonia in fine form.
Hopes are high at the San Siro that Inter can land their first domestic title since 2010 – the club purchased some big names in the summer like Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Godin – and running in parallel to this is an expectation they can go deep in this season’s Champions League knockout stages.
The Camp Nou will be a bona fide test of their credentials though, as they head to Spain looking to improve on a dismal record in Barcelona, losing all four of their games there without scoring a single goal. This includes a visit there in last season’s Champions League group stage, which they lost 2-0.
They also need to be better than they were in this season’s Champions League opener, when they needed a late strike from subsitute Nicola Barrella to earn a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Slavia Prague.
Home Advantage the Key?
Despite Barcelona’s indifferent start to the season, their home form has been good, with three wins out of three and 12 goals scored in the new La Liga season. They are also unbeaten in the Camp Nou over the last 23 games and have won their last 13, so their problems are very much on the road.
Therefore almost every stat out there points to a Barca win, although it’s impossible to over-egg the significance of Messi’s absense, and worth noting too is that every visiting team in the Camp Nou this season has scored at least once.
Messi on the sidelines, Dembouz warming up, crowd chanting “Meeessiii Messsiii”
I’m shaking. Plz don’t be injured. PLEASE GOD NO pic.twitter.com/8BCH2Vok5M
— CH➐ (@BarcaLionel_FC) September 24, 2019
Inter will believe if they can get enough possession, they can cause problems for the Barca defense, especially if they can get a good quality supply to Lukaku and Sanchez.
So, despite their fine home record, Barca without Messi is a much less fearsome animal and Inter will head there with genuine hope of getting something from the game. There’s no value in the -167 for the home win, and maybe the away win is a step too far for Inter, but for me the value is with the draw at +285.
My pick: Barca and Inter to draw (+285)