Champions League 2017/18 – Round of 16

Sevilla v Man Utd

Thursday February 22, 6:45 AEDST

Much like Chelsea, Man Utd head into the knockout stage in questionable form after a 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park last.  There has also bee reports of a rift between Jose Mourinho and Pogba and Jones. As a result, we’re not so sure that the Red Devils should be favourites. They’ve struggled when travelling to the top Premier League teams since Mourinho took over as they’re just W1-D3-L5 at fellow ‘Big Six’ sides, failing to score in seven of these nine matches, with the only victory coming over a lackluster Arsenal side this term.

Sevilla, on the other hand, have both the historic form and current from on their side. They’ve won their last three in all competitions and four of five unbeaten games at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Within those results is a win over Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey and whilst they’re yet to host a top-six side in the league this term, they were excellent in such fixtures last season. They were W2-D1-L1 when hosting top-five sides as Barca were the only team to beat them whilst they managed victories over both the Madrid sides. As a result, we’re siding with them 0 Asian Handicap at 2.13.

Sevilla kept clean sheets against both Villarreal and Atletico last term, whilst they’ve also shut out their opponents in their last two at home in all competitions. Given Utd’s poor scoring record in the big away days we’re also going to back Sevilla to win to nil at 5.0.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Sevilla 0 Asian Handicap at 2.13

Shakhtar v Roma

Thursday February 22, 6:45 AEDST

Shakhtar won all three of their home games in the group stages and whilst the last of these was against a weakened Man City side that had already secured top spot, the first was against Napoli and that represents very strong form given Maurizio Sarri’s side are top of Serie A, 16 points clear of third-placed Roma. Since then they’ve returned from their winter break with a 5-0 win over Chornomorets and so they look one of the best bets from this week’s European action at 2.54. They won this fixture 3-0 back in 2010/11 and since then they’ve managed some impressive results in home Champions League knockout ties as they’ve held Dortmund and Bayern to draws, whilst they were edged out 1-0 by the mighty 2010/11 Barcelona side.

Roma, on the other hand, have won just one of their 10 Champions League away games since 2014/15 and that was at Karabakh. They’ve conceded 25 goals across these games too as they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in that time. They’ve won just two of their last seven on the road in Serie A and one of those was at second from bottom Verona, whilst they netted more than once in just one of these games, which has to be a concern for them given their poor defensive away record in Europe.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Shakhtar Win at 2.54

Chelsea v Barcelona

Wednesday February 21, 6:45 AEDST

When Barca were handed a date with Chelsea at the Last-16 stage it looked like being a tricky tie but since then Chelsea’s form has dipped significantly as they’ve been beaten 3-0 by Bournemouth and 4-1 by Watford in recent weeks. The Catalans, conversely, remain unbeaten and as a result are strong favourites to qualify and we’d struggle to make a case for taking them. They’ve been impressive travelling to their nearest rivals in La Liga as they’ve won at both Real Madrid and Villarreal and drawn at Atletico and Valencia. All teams that are pying significantly better than Chelsea are at the moment. With that in mind, we’re siding with Valverde’s men at 2.18, particularly as they’ve also won three of their four trips to England in this competition since 2013/14.

As well as their poor current form, Chelsea’s recent Champions League knockout record doesn’t bode well as they’ve lost two of three home games going back to the 2013/14 semi-finals. They managed to score in defeat to Atletico (1-3) and PSG (1-2) and we may well see something similar here. For all that Barca, are yet to concede a goal on their travels in Europe this season. The Catalans have shut out their hosts in only three of their 15 away knockout matches since 2011/12. Because of this, we’re backing a Barca win and both teams to score at 4.1.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Barca Win and Both Teams to Score at 4.1

Bayern Munich v Besiktas

Wednesday February 21, 6:45 AEDST

Besiktas were the surprise package in the group stages as they won Group G ahead of Porto, Leipzig and Monaco However, they face a significant step up here as their reward for topping that group is a clash with Bayern. Since their last Champions League game, a win at Leipzig, the Turkish side have struggled on their travels, winning only two of their last eight on the road in all competitions. However, as they managed to net in all of these games and since they won all three of their away matches in the groups, we think they can at least get an away goal here.

Bayern have won 14 of 15 unbeaten home games in all competitions this term but have kept just one clean sheet in their last seven at the Allianz. They’ve won 18 of 20 there in the Champions League since 2014/15, but again they’ve kept just two clean sheets in their eight knockout games in that time. If we go back further, it’s two shut outs in 11 since 2013/14. The likes of PSV and Porto have netted here in that time so we’ll back a home win and both teams to score in this one, which has been a very profitable bet in Bayern home games in recent times.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Bayern Win and Both Teams to Score at 2.88


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