European football midweek preview22nd Apr 2018 |
Everton vs Newcastle (Premier League)
These two teams have little to play for in the remaining weeks, a fact which will disappoint Everton fans and delight those who follow Newcastle. The Magpies have hit form at the right time, winning four games on the spin to pull clear of the relegation zone and into mid-table; the Toffees are a point and a place above their upcoming opponents, but the campaign has brought little joy in comparison. Sam Allardyce and Rafael Benitez are cautious managers and this game will therefore be tight, with a draw at 9/4 looking like the best option.
Liverpool vs Roma (Champions League)
Liverpool and Roma were both underdogs in their Champions League quarter-final ties, but the former upset the odds to overcome Manchester City and the latter pulled off a major shock in knocking out Barcelona – particularly after losing the Camp Nou first leg 4-1. This will be a different task for Liverpool, who will enjoy the lion’s share of possession on Tuesday night and may have to remain patient in their bid to break down their Italian opponents. In the end, though, I think they will have too much firepower for Roma – consider backing the hosts with a -1 handicap at 5/4.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid (Champions League)
These two giants of the European game go head-to-head in the semi-finals of the Champions League for a second year running. Despite finishing second in their group behind Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich have enjoyed a favourable draw in the knockout stage so far, eliminating Besiktas and Sevilla to set up a tie with the reigning champions. Real Madrid almost threw away a three-goal advantage against Juventus last time out, but I fancy them to avoid defeat at the Allianz Arena – a draw with both teams to score is my tip here.
Marseille vs Red Bull Salzburg (Europa League)
These two sides met each other in the group stage of the Europa League, with both matches low-scoring and cagey affairs: Red Bull Salzburg triumphed 1-0 in their home game, while the return fixture in France finished goalless. After notching just four goals in their six European encounters before Christmas, Marseille have found the net 13 times in six continental outings since. I expect this one to follow in a similar vein, with over 3.5 goals a tempting proposition at 3/2.
Arsenal vs Atletico Madrid (Europa League)
Arsene Wenger’s announcement that he will depart the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season has seen football unite in a collective wish to see the Frenchman receive the send-off he deserves. Diego Simeone will relish the opportunity to spoil the party this Thursday, though, and all the Wenger-related emotion does not change the fact that Atletico Madrid are a stronger side than Arsenal. It is hard to see the hosts keeping a clean sheet here – CSKA Moscow, Southampton and West Ham have all scored in north London in recent weeks – so the 4/5 available on both teams to find the net looks generous.
Hoffenheim vs Hannover (Bundesliga)
Hoffenheim were responsible for the result of the weekend in the Bundesliga last time out, thrashing Champions League rivals RB Leipzig 5-2 to move to within two points of the top four. Julian Nagelsmann has done a superb job again this season despite losing several of his key players last summer and in January, and victory here could potentially see them climb above Bayer Leverkusen. Hannover have little to play for and will struggle to halt the hosts, so 7/4 on a Hoffenheim win to nil could prove good value.