Tipster Will Burns takes a look at Wednesday’s fixtures in the Champions League Last 16 first-legs below. Good luck if your having a punt, and please click on one of our sponsors to have a bet to help us pay the bills.
WEDNESDAY 18TH FEBRUARY 2014
ARSENAL vs. BAYERN MUNICH
Arsene Wenger knows he has to beat the best to progress in this competition and tomorrow night he faces the best, and he already has experience in beating them. The last side to keep a clean sheet against Bayern Munich in the Champions League is the Gunners, back in March last year when they won 2-0 at the Allianz Arena.
Wenger will be well aware that he must perhaps excel over this performance over the two legs to stand a chance of reaching the quarter finals this time round. The Gunners have slapped all the critics in the face as they currently are enjoying a good season and putting together a title challenge that not many predicted.
Arsenal fans are longing for their first trophy since 2005 and after disposing of Liverpool 2-1 at the weekend, they might be better off dreaming of a Wembley final than reaching the Champions League final at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon come May.
Total domination is the best phrase to describe Bayern’s season so far as they appear destined for yet another German league title. At the weekend, the Bavarians’ 4-0 win over Freiburg on Saturday extended their advantage over the second-placed Bayer Leverkusen to an uncatchable 16 points.
Guardiola has lead Bayern to 19 wins out of 21 Bundesliga fixtures, drawing the remaining two, and letting just one goal past Manuel Neuer in their last six competitive matches. Currently scoring goals for fun and tough to break down at the back, Bayern will fancy their chances of ending Arsenal’s great home record of the last 13 games unbeaten at the Emirates.
Arsenal rested a number of first-team regulars on Sunday and yet still managed to knock Liverpool out of the cup, so the Gunners will draw confidence from that, but Bayern should still be too strong for Wenger’s men. The best and safest bet will be Over 3.5 Goals in this game which Betfair are currently offering at 13/8. I can see Bayern winning big but Arsenal have the attacking prowess to notch a goal for themselves, so maybe a 3-1 or 4-1 scoreline might cropped up but Over 3.5 Goals will be safer in case Bayern are having a rare off night.
AC MILAN vs. ATLETICO MADRID
At the San Siro on Wednesday evening, AC Milan takes on Atletico Madrid in what will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides. The Serie A giants may have dreaded this tie when it was pulled out of the hat since Milan have been eliminated in all of their last four Champions League knockout ties against Spanish teams.
In January, rookie manager Clarence Seedorf took over the helm in Milan and since his arrival the Rossoneri have won three, drew once and lost twice, although the performances have not been great. For two of the victories, they beat Verona narrowly by 1-0 by a spot-kick and this past weekend Bologna through a wonder goal from Mario Balotelli. Of course, this has to be excepted as the Dutchman has just been in the job for five weeks and will need time to make his own mark in the squad. This last 16 tie with Diego Simeone’s Atletico however, may have come too soon for Seedorf to cause an upset.
Simeone has saw his side go through a bit of blip over the past few games but normal play resumed this weekend with a 3-0 win over Valladolid. Earlier this month, Los Rojiblancos found themselves level on points with Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of Primera División, but maybe getting a nosebleed due to the altitude, they lost three games in a row between league and Copa del Rey.
The overpowering of Valladolid on Saturday occurred after they quickly disposed their opponents with Diego Costa and Raul Garcia scoring inside the first four minutes. So after five minutes of the match, Simeone, a former midfielder with Milan’s rivals Inter, could tell his players to take their foot off the gas and ease up for this game. With the likes of Costa, Garcia, David Villa, Koke, Gabi all ready to go on Wednesday night, I find it hard on how Milan can cope with them.
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