After a fantastic slate of quarter final matches last week, the UEFA Champions League continues this week as the teams prepare for their return leg fixtures. Three of the four games are separated by one goal or less on aggregate, which will certainly make for an exciting week of games ahead.
We take a look at some of the key matchups and give our betting previews below.
In a 1-0 win, Barcelona controlled the majority of the possession in the first leg of their matchup against Manchester United at Old Trafford last week. They maintained 66% and fired off three shots on target, however, Manchester United’s counter attacking game looked promising at times.
The Red Devils will need to capture an upset away win in Barcelona if they wish to continue on their Champions League quest this season, something that has only been achieved once in the Spanish La Liga this season and is yet to happen in the Champions League.
The stats don’t bode well for the Red Devils. Of the 70 previous occasions a side has lost the first leg of a Champions League knockout fixture at home, they have managed to advance just four times. However, Manchester United were one of those teams just a few months ago when they knocked out PSG in the Round of 16. We can’t see this one going the same way, unfortunately.
Cristiano Ronaldo looked to have Juventus in a commanding position when he scored just before half time in the first leg of their fixture against Ajax. However, the Italians allowed a goal straight after the half time break and failed to find the back of the net again as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
The fixture will head to Italy for the second leg, where Juventus will be hoping to advance to the semi-finals with any win or a 0-0 draw. A 1-1 draw would send the fixture into extra time, a Ajax win or any other scored draw will see the Dutch side advance.
Juventus are unbeatedn in their last 10 meetings with Ajax in all competitions, and can reach the Shampions League semi-finals for the third time in five years with a win here. Personally, Cristiano Ronaldo can reach the semi-finals of the UCL for the 9th consecutive year, the most of any player. Ajax are unbeaten in their last four games against Italian competition, but we think that streak ends this week.
In arguably the most exciting matchup of the week, Manchester City will look to bounce back from a 1-0 deficit against English counterparts, the Tottenham Hotspurs. Manchester City absolutely dominated the first matchup in Tottenham, maintaining 59% possession and firing off 10 shots including a missed Sergio Aguero penalty. Ultimately, the Citiznes couldn’t find the back of the net and the Spurs claimed a 1-0 win.
The fixture will head to Etihad Stadium in Manchester for the second leg, and despite the 1-0 deficit, Manchester City start as strong $1.56 favourites to advance to the next round. One goal to the Spurs would mean that Manchester City need to score at least three to advance, a tough ask against a Spurs side that has allowed just 34 goals through 33 games in the Premier League this season.
Just 10 of 32 sides have progressed to the next round after being in the position that Manchester City are in at the moment. However, the last time Tottenham held a 1-0 lead going into an away fixture, they were knocked out, although that was all the way back in 2000. One goal would be massive for the Spurs here and with Lucas Moura in great form on the back of a hat-trick in the EPL on the weekend, we think the Spurs have a goal in them, which should be enough to see them advance.
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