Semifinal is coming and we'd like to introduce our guideline to all possible outcomes of the upcoming UCL games. Ready, steady, go!
Barcelona vs Manchester United
Last Wednesday Barcelona travelled to Old Trafford and put in a rather lethargic performance in their first leg tie against Manchester United, but despite the lack of free flowing football, they still managed to claim a vital 1-0 lead in the tie thanks to an unfortunate and unavoidable own goal from Luke Shaw.
The Catalan giants, holding a healthy nine point lead at the top of La Liga, were afforded the chance to rest some key figures at the weekend when they played out a drab goalless draw against Huesca. This leaves the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Nelson Semedo, and Clement Lenglet well rested for this tie, while Jordi Alba, Phillipe Coutinho, and Arthur were all played from the bench at the weekend.
Manchester United were afforded no such liberty as their war for a Premier League top four spot continued. Their full contingent of stars played some part in a 2-1 win against West Ham, increasing their chances of Champions League qualification but further decreasing their hopes of Champions League progression.
Wednesday will be tough for the visitors. Even after their incredible comeback in Paris, there is no denying that the odds are stacked against them here. Barcelona haven’t lost a Champions League game at the Camp Nou since a 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in 2013, and since then they have won 27 of their 30 matches in the competition.
This season they have shown some of their weaknesses when playing away from home, but it’s been business as usual back in Catalonia. They thrashed Lyon 5-1 after a goalless draw in France in the last 16, so even with Manchester United’s numerous Champions League heroics away from home this season, they are unlikely to pull off another miracle here.
What we can expect from this tie is a few goals. 16 of Barcelona’s last 20 home games in the Champions League have seen at least three goals scored, as have each of Manchester United’s last four away games in the competition. Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge, Man Utd have seen three or more goals in seven of their 12 competitive games.
All things considered, we can’t ignore Barcelona’s fantastic home record either, so we’re backing a Barcelona Win and Over 2.5 Goals along with a 3-1 correct score prediction.
Juventus vs Ajax
Ajax put in another stellar performance in the Champions League last week as their talented group of youngsters claimed a 1-1 draw against Serie A giants Juventus, and after their incredible comeback at the Bernabeu last month, this tie is far from over.
Juventus followed that clash with a shock 2-1 loss away to SPAL, although with a monstrous lead in the Serie A title race the Turin club could afford to rest some key players in that match.
Nevertheless, that was Juventus’ first defeat in almost a month, and on Tuesday they will be praying that they don’t fall to their first home defeat since Manchester United beat them back in the group stages in November. Since then they have won 12 of their 13 competitive games though, so Ajax are definitely up against it here.
The Amsterdam club were up against it in Madrid though, but when they went on the attack against a side who have claimed the last three Champions League titles, they showed that not many defences in world football can withstand the determination and talent of this group of youngsters. It’s just a shame that the group are likely to be scattered around Europe before long.
In fact, Ajax have only failed to score in four competitive matches this season, and the last time they failed to hit the back of the net in the Champions League was back in August in their playoff qualifier against Dynamo Kiev. Since then they have scored 17 goals in nine matches, including eight goals in three matches against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Juventus’ defence is far from leaky, but they have conceded in three of their last six home games in all competitions and face an Ajax side with an incredibly prolific attacking force.
The visitors have only kept one clean sheet away from home in the Champions League since the group stages began though, so we think backing Both Teams to Score is a good option here. We’re going for that along with a tight 2-1 win for the hosts.
Porto vs Liverpool
A first half double from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino handed Liverpool a controlling lead in this Champions League quarter final tie at Anfield last week, and while they are rightly huge favourites to progress to the semi finals it wasn’t all plain sailing for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Porto troubled them on a number of occasions, and Liverpool’s record on the road in the Champions League this season is far from a good one. Can the Portuguese giants do the unthinkable and overturn this deficit on Wednesday?
Porto did follow that defeat at Anfield with an assured 3-0 win over Portimonense, and they have only lost one of their last eight competitive games. That being said, they rarely come up against a team as good as their visitors on Wednesday.
This season Porto have lost twice in the Champions League, both teams away from home and both in the knockout stages. The first was against Roma back in February, but they overturned that 2-1 deficit on home soil in extra time. Prior to that they had drawn one and won five of their group stage games.
Liverpool, although they might be the bigger team, have a less desirable record in the competition this season. They lost all three of their group stage games away from home and only managed to stop the rot away to a beleaguered looking Bayern Munich side in the first knockout round.
Now, coming into this game with a two goal advantage and in the midst of a gruelling Premier League title challenge, you would forgive the Anfield outfit if they settled for a draw in Portugal.
This result certainly isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. In fact, Liverpool have only won four of their last nine away matches in all competitions, drawing three times in the process. Porto, meanwhile, have only lost one of their last 22 competitive matches at home.
Given the balance of the tie and Liverpool’s congested looking fixture list, we think backing a Porto Win or Draw Double Chance is a great option here along with a 1-1 correct score prediction.
Manchester City vs Tottenham
Last Tuesday saw Tottenham Hotspur lay a marker down in their new stadium as they sealed an unforeseen 1-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie against Manchester City, but even with this slender lead and The Citizens’ lack of away goals, Mauricio Pocchettino’s men remain underdogs in the tie.
That’s because, on Wednesday, they have to make the trip up north to the Etihad. Manchester City’s home has been the setting of many a mauling this season, both domestically and on a continental scale. Spurs will have to be at their best to make use of their first leg advantage, and even that might not be enough against the Man City juggernaut.
The hosts remained favourites to lift the Premier League trophy at the weekend with a 3-1 win away against Crystal Palace, meaning that they have now won 14 of their last 16 competitive games in normal time. The only exceptions are last week’s defeat at Spurs and the Carabao Cup Final penalty win against Chelsea.
At the Etihad the signs get even more ominous for the visiting Londoners. There, Manchester City have won their last 11 competitive games on the bounce, and they’ve only failed to win twice all season. Add to that the fact that Spurs will be without key striker Harry Kane and you can see why they’re still the underdogs.
Spurs might have kept their winning start to life at their new stadium alive at the weekend, but their form on the road has been anything but promising in the lead up to this match. They have lost six of their last seven competitive trips away, with their only solace being a 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last 16.
We’re expecting another comprehensive win for the hosts here. They have won by at least a two goal margin in nine of their last 11 home matches and their last home Champions League match was a 7-0 demolition of Schalke.
We’re backing Manchester City -1.5 Asian Handicap here, along with a 3-1 correct score prediction.
Guys, your thoughts on upcoming games are much appreciated!