Home I Featured I Champions League Round of 16 Preview
The last 16 of the Champions League continues this week and the stand-out game is undoubtedly Chelsea v Barcelona, 19:45 Tuesday.
All four games are live on BT Sport, with Bayern seemingly a certainty at home to Besiktas at the same time as the Chelsea game, with Sevilla hosting Man United on Wednesday night as Roma travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk. Both of those are 19:45 kick-offs as well.
First things first, let’s preview Chelsea v Barca. Chelsea’s next 3 fixtures are Barcelona, Man United, and Man City. It’s fair to say it’s a season-defining couple of weeks coming up for the Blues. Barcelona are flying at the top of La Liga and have won six and drawn two in their last eight matches.
Chelsea are inconsistent, having put away Hull and West Brom easily enough in their last two, but were thrashed 4-1 by Watford and 3-0 by Bournemouth in the league before that. If they aren’t on their game on Tuesday night, they are going to get another hiding.
Pinnacle and Coral are both 6/5 on a Barcelona win, and that looks plenty big enough. 888Sport are sticking their neck out with 31/10 that Barca wins by 2 or more goals, and if Chelsea has another off night, that price is going to look silly.
Messi has scored three in the Champions League this season- which is something of a meager return for him when you consider Cristiano Ronaldo already has eleven. Paddy Power make him 15/4 to find the net first and that has to be worth an investment.
Messi is on top of the La Liga charts with 20 goals already this season and can’t be ignored at such a price. Barcelona were happy to settle for 0-0 draws against Juve and Olympiakos in the group stages but they won’t be leaving anything to chance in the knockout phase so expect them to come out firing.
Staying on the topic of first goalscorer bets, Paddy Power are also best price Robert Lewandowski at 85/40 at home to Besiktas. Like Messi, he’s already scored 20 goals in the league this season- seven more than anyone else and fourteen more than any other Bayern player. He’s as close to a first goalscorer banker as you’re ever going to get and is definitely worth consideration at anything bigger than 2/1.
Edin Džeko has already notched three Champions League goals this term and looks like value at 5/1 or bigger to find the net first in the Ukraine. He’ll be far more accustomed to conditions there than most of his teammates and we hope he comes through in freezing temperatures on Wednesday night.
The pick of Wednesday’s games is Sevilla v Man United, undoubtedly. If you’re having a scorer bet there, William Hill is the place to bet as they are best price on almost everyone. Romelu Lukaku is 11/2 and with four already in the Champions League and fresh from two in the FA Cup the other night, you could have worse bets.
Wissam Ben Yedder looks the value, though, at 13/2 to find the net first and we’ll certainly be on that- he’s got twice as many Champions League goals this season as Lionel Messi (six) and the price is too big to be ignored.
The Roman Sanchez Pizjuan stadium is a tough place to go in Europe and Sevilla are not to be taken lightly- they won three Europa Leagues on the spin before United won it last time and United look too skinny at 6/4 to take a first leg advantage back to Old Trafford.
The draw is currently 3.5 (5/2) on Betfair Exchange and that may well be a bit big- neither side would go home unhappy with a draw and it’s quite possible José Mourinho goes back to Spain with a stalemate on his mind, particularly as United are at home to Chelsea on Sunday. For fans of bus-parking, no goalscorer is 8-1 with William Hill and looks certain to go off shorter.
Whatever you’re backing, it’s a mouth-watering midweek of Champions League in prospect and all the best with your bets.
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