Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Arsene Wenger often talks of the 'decompression' that teams suffer after a highly-charged event. Most Cheltenham punters will be experiencing the same this morning – those who did their money obviously, but also those who won and wanted the high to continue.

Punters can have a lie-in to assist recovery so spare a thought for the players of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United who are back at work today after fizzing Champions League ties.

It is particularly hard on Liverpool and United who play at lunchtime – did the fixture compiler take perverse delight in scheduling this game on the back of a clearly marked European week? With any other teams this arrangement could backfire but when the two Reds clash there is always a spontaneous combustion, a paintball splatter of football.

Liverpool hit their best form of the season in thrashing Real Madrid, while United eased past Internazionale with well-timed goals.

Expect United to attack early, make a statement, and try to score. Liverpool, if following orders, will sit back, fill midfield, play on the break and try to keep cool – last year Javier Mascherano completely lost it and was sent off.

I would love to see Liverpool have a go, but Rafa Benitez constantly complains that a game "was too open". So back the draw at 23-10 with Bet 365; the 1-1 score (6-1 Skybet); and Fernando Torres to score first (7-1 Betfred), 5pts on each.

*Initial success at Cheltenham – Go Native, Quevega, Mikael D'Haguenet, Master Minded all won – was eroded by the failure of several choices to cough up some place money.

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