European football midweek preview1st Apr 2018 |
Juventus vs Real Madrid (Champions League)
Juventus will be desperate to enact revenge on Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with los Blancos emerging victorious when these two teams last met in the final of last year’s competition. A first-leg advantage will probably be crucial if the Bianconeri are to knock the holders out – it is easy enough to imagine a scenario in which both teams win at home – but I personally fancy a score draw at the Allianz Stadium. A 1-1 tie could be worth a punt at 19/4, or 2-2 is offered at 27/2.
Sevilla vs Bayern Munich (Champions League)
Bayern Munich finished second behind Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage, but they were fortunate to be handed a relatively straightforward tie in the first knockout round. The Bavarians have again avoided another of Europe’s traditional heavyweights in the last eight, although Sevilla showed in their two-legged defeat of Manchester United that they should not be underestimated. Nevertheless, Bayern should have too much quality in this one – I’d take up the 7/10 available on an away win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Barcelona vs Roma (Champions League)
Barcelona was far from flawless in their round of 16 triumphs over Chelsea, with the English champions causing problems in both legs. Ultimately, though, the individual brilliance of Lionel Messi made the difference, as the Argentina international stepped up and delivered when his team needed him most. Although Roma finished ahead of Chelsea in the group stage, they are arguably an inferior side and will struggle to leave the Camp Nou with a positive result. Odds of 33/20 on a Barcelona win with a -2 handicap means that could be worth a small wager.
Liverpool vs Manchester City (Champions League)
There will be no more or no less than one English team in the semi-finals of the Champions League after Liverpool and Manchester City were drawn together in the last eight. Although many were disappointed to see two Premier League sides meet in continental competition, these matches promise to be highly entertaining affairs; managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp place an emphasis on attack, so goals will surely on the cards in both legs. With that in mind, both teams to score looks like a no-brainer at 11/10.
Arsenal vs CSKA Moscow (Europa League)
Arsenal have endured a turbulent couple of months domestically, losing the final of the League Cup to Manchester City and falling way off the pace in the battle for the top four in the Premier League. The only realistic way the Gunners can qualify for next term’s Champions League is by triumphing in Europe’s secondary competition, where they have reached the last eight after an impressive aggregate victory over Milan. CSKA Moscow does not represent the toughest of opponents, so I’m backing a home win to nil in Thursday’s first leg at odds of 11/10.
Atletico Madrid vs Sporting CP (Europa League)
Atletico Madrid are the favourites to win the Europa League, which is no surprise given how well they have done in the Champions League in the last few seasons. Sporting CP stand between them and a place in the semi-finals, and manager Diego Simeone will be fully aware of the importance of taking a first-leg lead to Portugal for the return. Atleti do not concede many goals, so under 1.5 being scored in total could be worth a flutter at 12/5.