Tipster Will Burns takes a look at the upcoming 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. All Will’s tips are over EVENS so you can get yourself some value in the markets.
TUESDAY 17TH FEBRUARY 2014
BAYER LEVERKUSEN vs. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
After reaching the quarter-finals last year, Paris Saint-Germain look to be among the contenders to go even better this campaign but a blow for the Laurent Blanc’s side is that 20-goal striker Edinson Cavani will be absent for the trip to Leverkusen with a thigh injury.
Les Parisiens travel to the BayArena in fine form, having lost only once in their last ten games in all competitions.
Sami Hyypiä’s Leverkusen have been disappointing heading into this game with just two wins out of their last seven outings. The Germans also have their casualties in the first eleven with midfielder Emre Can suspended, while Stefan Reinartz is doubtful with a foot injury. Definitely out for Sami Hyypia’s side are attackers Robbie Kruse (knee) and Eren Derdiyok (foot).
Leverkusen qualified for the last 16, finishing second behind Manchester United in Group A, with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad in the final round of group fixtures ensuring their place in the knockout stages.
Zlatan Ibrahimović, the tournament’s second top-scorer with eight goals, is having one of the best Champions League campaigns of his career and Blanc will rely heavily on the Swede with Cavani’s absence. Our best bet would be picking the Swedish target man to score anytime at 5/4 with Bet Victor, take advantage of our great deal with them, a £25 free bet by joining at this link.
I do think PSG will win this game but to play it safe you should go for this bet as Ibra has notched 31 times in 33 matches in all competitions so far this season. The Swede is also the designated penalty taker for the French side and will be standing over virtually all of their direct free-kicks.
MANCHESTER CITY vs. BARCELONA
It does not get easy in the knockout-stages of the Champions League as Manchester City approach their first ever Champions League last 16 tie against four-time European champions Barcelona.
Both sides picked up positive domestic results at the weekend, with City beating Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round tie on Saturday, while was Barcelona hitting Rayo Vallecano for six in the Primera División.
After guiding Villarreal to the semi-finals of the competition (2005/06) and Malaga to the quarters of the competition (2012/13), City manager Manuel Pellegrini is no stranger to the Champions League. This week, the Chilean came out and stated his side have ‘nothing to fear’ heading into the game. And he may be right as out of their 20 matches in all competitions, City have failed to win just two this season and have conceded only 18 goals in that impressive run.
Inspirational midfielder Fernandinho is set to return to the City squad after the Brazilian has missed the last three matches with a muscle problem but was back in training on Monday morning. However, striker Sergio Aguero, who has 26 goals in 25 appearances so far this term, is still suffering with a hamstring injury and will miss Barca’s trip to the Etihad.
La Liga champions Barcelona have appeared mortal again under the tutelage of Argentine coach Gerardo Martino, after losing to Valencia at home earlier this month then going behind at Sevilla last weekend. So they arrive to Eastlands in worrying form but with a feel good factor after this past weekend’s result.
As mentioned earlier, they battered Rayo Vallecano 6-0 with Lionel Messi notching his 227th and 228th goals in the Spanish League overtaking Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano in the all-time rankings. Alexis Sanchez got his 15th of the season and young Brazilian starlet Neymar marked his return from injury by also getting on the scoresheet.
Pellegrini has won only on four of his previous 22 matches against Barça. While at Malaga, in five of the eight games, Barça scored four goals. However, with no disrespect to Malaga, Pellegrini now has a much better team and Barça no longer look as good as they were when they overcame his Real Madrid home and away twice in the 2009/10 season.
For our safe bet with the firepower these two teams have in their arsenal, I do not see the cagey first-leg you sometimes see at this stage of the Champions League. City will attack and put the Catalans under great pressure and with the 60,000 fans inside the Etihad roaring the hosts on, I can see this being a high scoring affair. Our best bet is at Betfair and ‘Over 3.5 Goals’ at 13/8, meaning we need at least a total of four goals in this game to win the dough. Click on this link to join Betfair.
Join us tomorrow for two more tips for Wednesday night’s games with Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich and AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid.
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