Fans are gearing up for a fantastic finish in the English Premier League as the clubs head into Week 27 of the 2015-16 campaign.
Everton won 5-0 in the only previous FA Cup meeting, a fifth-round encounter in 1937. The two sides played out an entertaining 3-3 Premier League draw at the Vitality Stadium in November. All three Bournemouth goals that day came after 80 minutes.
Betting action from Pinnacle Sports on Champions League Round of 16, Game 1 between Roma vs Real Madrid from Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
Roma vs Real Madrid
Roma (+.75) 62.7%
Madrid (-.75) 37.3%
Joining Zenit on the dubious honours list, Roma won just one game on their way to equalling the Russian club’s 2013/14 record of qualifying with the lowest points tally in Champions League history.
Perhaps more worringly, the Italians conceded 16 goals in just six group stage matches, six of those coming in 6-1 defeat at last year’s champions Barcelona. It is perhaps unfortunate then, that they find themselves up against another free-scoring Spanish giant in the shape of Real Madrid in the last 16.
Form wise, things have improved since Luciano Spalletti returned for a second managerial stint to replace Rudi Garcia. The Romans are currently on a run of three straight victories, which should give them some confidence in a tie they are largely expected to struggle in, as seen in their odds of 5.390 to qualify.
Unbeaten in this season’s Champions League, Real Madrid romped to top spot with 16 points from a possible 18, finishing things off on matchday six with the 8-0 demolition of Malmo.
European form wasn’t enough to save Rafa Benitez his job however; the Spaniard was given his marching orders at the start of January. Club legend Zinedine Zidane took the reins shortly afterwards and has so far taken to management like a duck to water. The Madrid side have won four out of five so far under his tutelage, scoring 19 in the process.
For a side that conceded 16 in the group stage, this is perhaps worrying for Luciano Spalletti as he is tasked with the unenviable task of keeping Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo quiet for 180 minutes. Real find themselves as 1.185favourites to make the quarter-final stage.
Betting action from Pinnacle Sports on Champions League Round of 16, Game 1 between Gent vs Wolfsburg from Ghelamco Arena.
Gent vs Wolfsburg
A 2-1 win against the previously unbeaten Zenit St Petersburg sealed Gent’s place in the last 16, becoming the first Belgian side to progress to the Champions League knockout stage in the process.
Whilst Wolfsburg are still a tough draw, Gent will be spurred on by the fact they managed to avoid higher ranked top seeds. Whilst still 3.550 underdogs to make the quarter-finals, the Belgians have lost just once at home in all competitions this season.
Despite leaving it late, Wolfsburg sealed qualification with a 3-2 matchday six home win against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United. Four wins out of six, including three home wins, saw the German side take top spot with 12 points, finishing two clear of second-placed PSV.
Starting as 1.337 favourites to qualify, the Wolves have been woefully out of form of late and are without a win since November, losing four and drawing three. Dieter Heckling will be looking at this huge match-up as his chance to re-ignite his team’s season.
The traditional powerful PSV Endhoven, the Dutch champions, are again leading the Eredivisie this season and continue to be a force despite the departures of Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum. The aggressive Dutch squad has never kept a clean sheet in their eight Champions League games against Spanish clubs.
The defensive minded Atletico Madrid have conceded just 11 times in La Liga this season. While Fernando Torres carries some of the clubs weight the primary attacking responsibilities of Atletico fall to Antoine Griezmann, whose 19 goals this season have attracted the attention of European rivals. Diego Simeone’s men would be well served to be less conservative against PSV. Simeone’s crew have failed to find the net in four of their last six Champions League away games.
PSV Eindhoven vs Atlético Madrid
How they got here:
PSV finished 2nd in group B in which Wolfsburg finished first. PSV won 3 and drew 1 while losing 2 in group stage play. Atletico Madrid finished first in group C winning 4 while losing 1 and drawing 1. They scored 11 while allowing only 3.
Their most recent meeting took place back in the 2008/2009 group stage play and Atletico came away victorious in both matches 2-1 on home soil and 3-0 away. Atletico have a record again Dutch opponents of 5 victories and a draw in 10 matches while PSV has a less impressive mark of 4 victories and the other 20 matches being evenly split with 10 losses and 10 draws against Spanish sides.
PSV have played 11 matches since match day 6 with 9 victories 1 draw and 1 loss which came in a club friendly. Atletico Madrid enter this match up with 7 wins 3 losses and 3 draws since match day 6 but since the turn of the year they’ve been a less than spectacular 1 win 2 draws 2 losses from 5.
Odds: To Advance — PSV +381 Atletico Madrid -460
Odds: Leg 1 –– PSV +359 Draw +246 Atletico Madrid -105
Although this corner has been impressed with how PSV has played and their solid record at home it may not be enough to overcome the slight class hike here against the 2014 Champions League runners up. I believe PSV will give Atletico a run for their money at home but unless they can get a strong result in Leg 1 we’ll likely see Atletico finish this off in Leg 2 and advance to the round of 8.
The plays here are Atletico Madrid to Advance -460 and Leg 1 doesn’t offer much value but if you must wager you may want to take a small flyer on PSV to eek out a 1 goal victory at +359. If they lead at halftime you can always hedge.
The Ukrainian champions have been idol since advancing from the group stage by beating Maccabi Tel Aviv, with their league football on winter break. Forward Lukasz Teodorczyk has impressed in Dynamo’s training sessions since returning from injury.
Of the Manchester City’s 34 all-time Champions League games not one has ended in a goalless result. They have only kept four clean sheets in these 34 matches.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City
How they got here:
Dynamo qualified during an exciting match day 6 when they won at home to guarantee a spot into the knock out stage and waited on the result from Stamford Bridge to see if they might go top of the table if Chelsea and Porto drew but will a Chelsea win they finished in second spot and earned a meeting with Manchester City who also used a match day 6 victory couple with a Juventus loss to win Group D.
These two previously met in the 2011 Europa League round of 16 with Kyiv winning on home soil 2-0 before dropping leg 2 by a 1-0 scoreline which was good enough to see them through to the quarterfinals. Both sides have had mixed results in European play but a fact that does have some relevance is that Ukraine has been a difficult place for English squads in the past and Dynamo sport a not to shabby record of 4 wins 2 losses and 6 draws on home soil against English squads. City have yet to reach the quarterfinals of Champions League play but this may be their best chance yet.
Dynamo have not played a match of any importance since match day 6 as their last all 7 of their matches since have been club friendlies (4 wins 2 draws 1 loss) so competitive match fitness has to be considered. Manchester City on the other hand have played 13 matches with 8 wins 2 losses and 3 draws which all matches being either domestic league matches or league cup competition games. Form has been strong of late and with injuried players making their way back into game fitness they’ll have a healthy full 11 to field.
Odds: To Advance — Dynamo Kyiv +305 Manchester City -359
Odds: Leg 1 — Dynamo Kyiv +281 Draw +247 Manchester City +113
Manchester City have been played some in form soccer since the start of the new year and the backline has held bravely. In this corner the thought is that not enough meaningful matches for Kyiv will be a factor in this two legged affair as they’ll be stepping up in class here and in what will be manager Pellegrini’s final season at the helm of the team they’ll get by Dynamo here and move on to the quarter finals.
Manchester City to Advance -359 and in Leg 1 we’ll once again look at the draw at +247
Juventus has ridden their positive form winning 17 of their last 18 matches to storm back into Serie A contention after a slow start to the campaign. Juventus are winless in their last four Champions League games against Bayern Munich with their last victory dating back to November 2005.
Bayern doesn’t face nor are they tested by the likes of Juventus in Bundesliga. Captain Philipp Lahm told the media this week: ‘Anyone who knows Bayern and our history as well as our recent seasons knows we can play for the title in all competitions and win them.”
Juventus at Bayern Munich
How they got here:
Juventus finished second in group D giving up first place and a #1 seeding to Manchester City when losing away to Sevilla on Match Day 6. Bayern Munich took first in Group F with 5 wins and 1 loss scoring 19 goals while only allowing 3.
These two sides have met 8 times previously with Juventus winning 3 while dropping four to Bayern, the last during the 2013 Champions League Quarter-Finals where Bayern came away with identical 2-0 victories.
Since that match day 6 loss to Sevilla this Italian squad have won all 10 of their matches conceding only 4 goals while scoring 28 as the team has begun coming together after some big off season changes. The front four strikers of Dybala, Mandzukic, Morata and lesser used Zaza have started finding the net on a regular basis which has coincided with their recent form uprising. Bayern Munich are once again dominated the Bundesliga but have only played 6 matches since match day 6 with 5 resulting in victories and the one lone loss in a club friendly. They’ll have 4 more matches prior to the first leg of this match up at J Stadium.
Odds: To Advance — Juventus +258 Bayern Munich -300
Odds: Leg 1 — Juventus +270 Draw +236 Bayern Munich +121
Juventus made it to last years Champions League Final losing to Barcelona 3-1 but along the way they were faced with a similar task as that which awaits them now when they were underdogs to advance against Real Madrid. The opinion in this corner may not be what German fans want to hear but a Juventus squad that is coming together with every match played and a healthy full eleven are going to be given the nod to upset the German side in this 2 legged tie. Juventus should come away with a positive result in Leg 1 and will head to Munich as they did in Madrid for Leg 2 looking to stifle the home side and get the needed result.
Juventus to Advance at +258 and Juventus Leg 1 at +270
Arsenal’s form is in question but their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea last month remains their only loss of the calendar year. They have shown up for big matches and international football pundits are upbeat in their chances to get past the last-16 stage for the first time in six years.
Barcelona have won the Champions League in four of the last 10 seasons while no other club has won it more than once in the same period. They could become the first team since AC Milan to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League titles. The Rossoneri did it in 1989 and 1990.
Arsenal vs Barcelona
How they got here:
Arsenal finished 2nd in group F behind Bayern Munich and qualified in with a match day 6 victory on the road in Greece needing a victory of 2 goals or more versus Olympiacos and did so with a 3-0 victory. Barcelona took the easier route in winning group E with 4 wins and 2 draws while scoring 15 while only allowing 4 goals through their 6 matches.
These two have met numerous times in European play and have met twice in the knockout stages of Champions League recently (2014 and 2015) with the Spanish side coming away victorious in both ties. Some interesting facts for the English side here is their record in ties versus Spanish sides is 5 and 3 and they sport a very good record at home with 8 Wins 2 Losses and 3 Draws against Spanish La Liga sides. Barcelona have almost double the amount of ties versus English opponents in European play with a almost even record of 13 victories and 10 losses but will be looking to reach the quarterfinals here for the 9th consecutive year.
Barcelona’s form is excellent at this moment with 11 wins and 2 draws since Match Day 6 allowing only 5 goals in those 13 matches and never more than 1 in a match. Arsenal come in with 6 wins 2 losses and 3 draws since Match day 6 though only 1 victory in their last 5 and that came in FA Cup play.
Odds: To Advance — Arsenal +440 Barcelona -541
Odds: Leg 1 — Arsenal +356 Draw +307 Barcelona -125
Barcelona come in as large favorites to make it to the quarterfinals for the 9th consecutive season but the thoughts in this corner are that Arsenal will put up a decent fight on home ground in Leg 1 similar to their match during group play at home versus a strong Bayern Munich squad. I’d expect the trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez to receive some aggressive defending as Arsenal will defend with some force. If the trio are able to break through for the all important away goal the task becomes all that more difficult for the English side. The opinion here is that Barcelona wins this two legged tie but we’ll expect an Entertaining and physical Leg 1.
Barcelona to Advance at -541 Draw +307 in Leg 1. We’ll add that the first half Under has value at Under 1 1/2 if that line is still readily available.