It’s been a solid week for English sides in Europe, but how will the final two Premier League sides get on in the Champions League last 16? The first knockout round wraps up this week, with Manchester United and Chelsea facing off against Spanish opposition. While the pair drew their opening games, they’re each in very different situations heading into the decisive clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This week’s European action isn’t just focused on the English sides, with two other significant clashes taking place too. While Bayern Munich’s meeting with Besiktas is basically over, the Germans’ tricky trip to Turkey makes for an interesting warm-up to Chelsea’s meeting with Barca. Ahead of this week’s four Champions League knockout ties, we have betting tips and predictions for each of the big games, which you can see below.
Tuesday 13th March 2018
Man United v Sevilla (19:45) – Man United to win (8/11 with Betfair)
The Red Devils had David De Gea to thank for their 0-0 draw in the away meeting with Sevilla, and now they need bigger displays from their attacking players in order to win this tie. Jose Mourinho had his side produce a typical defensive effort in order to get out of Andalucía with a result, and now they need to up their game if they want to grab a place in the quarter finals. The Champions League is certainly the biggest prize on offer for the Old Trafford side this season, but will they be lining up in the last eight after Tuesday’s second leg?
While United showed their defensive graft in Spain, we don’t see the visitors managing to do the same when they get to Old Trafford. After all, this Sevilla side were much more of a threat last season, and they couldn’t hold a lead away to Leicester. We see Man United claiming a victory in this game, and they should ultimately cruise to a win which would put them through to the quarter finals. We think the hosts are really well priced at 8/11 with Betfair, and they should manage to live up to their favourites’ tag. We’re backing a home win here, with Sevilla set for another last 16 exit.
Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk (19:45) – Roma to win to nil (21/10 with Coral)
Roma suffered a defeat in their trip to Ukraine, which put pressure on boss Eusebio Di Francesco. However, the manager managed to turn things around with a win away to league leaders’ Napoli, which has boosted the Giallorossi’s chances of qualifying for this competition next season. They also have a great opportunity to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, following their away goal in the first meeting between these two. Can the Serie A outfit capitalise and claim a spot in the last eight for the first time in 10 years?
Looking at this game, it’s hard to see Shakhtar making their way through this tie. The visitors have lost six of their last seven matches on the road in this competition, while they’ve already suffered some big losses this term. The Ukrainian side lost in Italy in the group stage, being crushed 3-0 by Napoli. They’ve failed to score in all of those recent European defeats, while Roma didn’t concede in any of their three home matches in the group, keeping clean sheets against Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. With that in mind, we’re backing a home win to nil at 21/10 with Coral.
Wednesday 14th March 2018
Besiktas v Bayern Munich (17:00) – Bayern and BTTS (8/5 with Betfred)
We had hoped that Besiktas would continue their brilliant form in the Champions League by posing a threat to Bayern. The Bavarians would have been in for a really tough week had the first leg not been so straightforward, as they hammered the Turkish champions 5-0 in Munich to all but end this tie. We would have liked to see how Bayern dealt with the atmosphere around the Vodafone Arena had they made this trip in different circumstances. However, that doesn’t mean that the visitors will have an easy time of things this week.
We still expect Bayern to follow up their win in the first leg with another victory, but this time we can’t see the Bavarians keeping a clean sheet. They are facing a side who scored in every group game, winning home and away to RB Leipzig. While there’s a gap between last season’s top two in the Bundesliga, the hots should still be able to have an impact on this game. We think an away win and BTTS is well priced here too, as it can be backed at 8/5 with Betfred.
Barcelona v Chelsea (19:45) – Barcelona and over 2.5 (21/20 with Ladbrokes)
Viewers around the world are collectively hoping to see something different from Chelsea this week, following that disastrous display at the Etihad. The Blues can’t come here and stand off the Spanish champions-elect as they did at the Premier League leaders. While the Blues only lost 1-0 in that trip, they offered nothing in attack and as a result they never looked like winning the game, despite how close the scoreline ultimately was. With the hosts going through this tie with a 0-0 draw, Conte certainly has to try something else in this crucial clash.
We hope that the Blues are as impressive as they were for large parts of the first leg. Chelsea really tested Manchester United early on in their recent trip to Old Trafford, and if they can start with that intensity then this game should be more difficult for Barca. We do expect the visitors to go in search of an away goal, having conceded at the Bridge in the first leg. We still see Barca progressing and we’re backing a home win and over 2.5 goals at 21/20 with Ladbrokes.