Three British Teams in Action In A Busy Week of Champions League Soccer
After a brief hiatus over the Christmas period and following the draw in Nyon in December, the 16 teams in the Champions League Round of 16 have been drawn against each other, with the first leg of four of the eight games taking place this week.
The full draw for the Round of 16 is as follows:
- FC Basel v Manchester City
- Juventus v Tottenham
- FC Porto v Liverpool
- Real Madrid v Paris St Germain
- Bayern Munich v Besiktas
- Chelsea v Barcelona
- Sevilla v Manchester United
- Shakhtar Donetsk v AS Roma
And as is customary, each round of the tournament from now on will be played over two legs, home and away, with the team that wins on aggregate progressing through. In the event of a tie, the team that scores the most away goals in the tie progresses. If both teams have scored the same amount of away goals at the end of both games, then extra time and then penalties are used to decide the winner.
In order to progress through two rounds of Europa League football in the same period of time, the Champions League Round of 16 is spread out over five weeks of the season with the first legs of the matches taking place on the 13th, 14th, 20th and 21st of February and the second leg of the games taking place on the 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th of March. Each team has approximately three weeks between its first leg and second leg in the Round of 16.
The full fixture list with dates is as follow:
- February 13th – FC Basel v Manchester City & Juventus v Tottenham
- February 14th – FC Porto v Liverpool & Real Madrid v Paris St Germain
- February 20th – Bayern Munich v Besiktas & Chelsea v Barcelona
- February 21st – Sevilla v Man Utd & Shakhtar Donetsk v AS Roma
- March 6th – Paris St Germain v Real Madrid & Liverpool v FC Porto
- March 7th – Manchester City v FC Basel & Tottenham v Juventus
- March 13th – Manchester United v Sevilla & AS Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk
- March 14th – Besiktas v Bayern Munich & Barcelona v Chelsea
Outlined below is our preview and tips for the games taking place this week, three of which include teams competing in the Premier League. For all odds stated we have used Coral Sport.
FC Basel v Manchester City
Venue: St. Jakub-Park, Basel
Manchester City come into this game on the back of a superb 5-1 win over Leicester City at the weekend and with a 16 point lead in the Premier League secured. Their away form of late domestically hasn’t been great and one of the two games they have lost this season came away in Europe (to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Group Stage, albeit it was the final game and City did field a weakened team).
FC Basel have already claimed a 1-0 win over Manchester United on home soil in the Group Stage and a victory here would create an unusual double, but it is fair to say City are the better team of the two and I cannot see anything other than a solid win for City on the road here, which will make the second leg in Manchester in three week’s time something of a formality.
1st Leg Score Prediction – FC Basel 0-2 Manchester City (11/2 with Coral)
Price Boost – Coral are offering a special Price Boost offer on this match with Sergio Aguero to score two or more goals in the game boosted from 3-1 to 4/1.
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin
The task facing Tottenham on this trip to Italy should not be underestimated. In their last 16 matches in all competitions, Juventus have won 15 of those games, drawn one and in that entire run of games they have conceded just one goal (away to Verona). That is an astonishing run of form and one for which the Juventus back line should be lauded. However, they won’t have faced many attacks as potent as Spurs attack led by the in-form Harry Kane and ably assisted by the likes of Son, Erikssen and Alli.
First leg games are generally cagey affairs and as such, I don’t think Spurs will go all out for the win here. Instead, I expect them to try and soak up Juventus pressure and hit the Italian team on the counter attack. The only problem with that is that I think that is precisely how the Juventus defence is set up to operate and as such, I cannot see many goals here. I think this game has either a 0-0 or 1-0 home win all over it. It’s just a question of which one to plump for.
1st Leg Score Prediction – Juventus 1-0 Tottenham (11/2 with Coral)
Price Boost – If you think we’ve got this wrong then Coral are offering enhanced odds of 9/2 on Harry Kane scoring and Tottenham winning the match.
Real Madrid v Paris St Germain
Venue: Bernebeu, Madrid
A game that would have graced the final, an out-of-sorts Real Madrid face Paris St Germain, the side that most wants to emulate the current Champions League holders success in this tournament. It’s much more than a battle of Cristiano Ronaldo v Neymar as there are so many subplots to this game. Real have not enjoyed a great season but Champions League success would mitigate that and for Zinedine Zidane, progress from this round is a must.
They face a PSG side that packs the world’s most expensively assembled strike force in Neymar and Mbappe, although Cavani is likely to miss the game with a hip injury. His absence will be a blow and could see Mbappe playing a more central role, allowing Di Maria or Draxler to come into the team. PSG would be very happy with a draw here and while Real won’t accept that as a result, it would still give them a realistic chance of progress in the second leg.
1st Leg Score Prediction – Real Madrid 1-1 Paris St Germain (7/1 with Coral)
FC Porto v Liverpool
Venue: Estadio do Dragao, Oporto
These teams have met twice before in the knockout phase of European competition and on both occasions the first leg has been held in Portugal and has finished in a score draw, before the teams have headed back to Anfield where Liverpool have finished the job off to claim the win to progress. Oddly enough, that is how I see this game going, although I do feel there will be some twists and turns along the way.
FC Porto have an excellent domestic record, but they don’t face teams with the calibre of attacking players of Liverpool that often and they have at times been found wanting in Europe this season. Liverpool for their part can be brilliant away from home, or completely collapse and it will be interesting to see which Reds turn up on Wednesday night. I am backing this one to have plenty of goals and I can’t split both teams on the night.
1st Leg Score Prediction – FC Porto 2-2 Liverpool (11/1 with Coral)