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Champions League Tips: 12th & 13th February
by David Lenton
Well… our insane run of winners came to an end at the weekend but it’s still been a really positive period on the whole.
I’d like to bounce back with my Champions League tips for this week and we’ve got some absolute cracking matches to look forward to.
First up this week we will see Manchester United in action against PSG and Roma facing FC Porto followed by Ajax taking on Real Madrid and Tottenham v Borussia Dortmund.
We’ve had some very positive results with these tips over the last few weeks and I’m keen to right the wrongs of last weekend as soon as possible.
Footie Tips: Tuesday 12th Feb
February 7, 2019
February 7, 2019
Man Utd qualified second from Group H earning 10 points. They take on a PSG side that won Group C with 11 points from their six games played.
United have been in excellent form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at the club, though this will be his first game with United in this competition.
PSG are running away with the French League title, although they will be without Neymar for both legs of this tie due to injury.
This will be the first time that the two teams have met in a competitive fixture.
When this game was drawn out of the hat in early December, few would have given Manchester United any chance of progressing. Under Jose Mourinho, their performances were erratic, generally poor and the squad seemed out of sorts. In contrast, PSG were sweeping all before them with ease and it seemed only a matter of playing the games for the French side to progress.
However, with the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to replace Mourinho, United’s fortunes have changed for the better and they are in a superb run of form under the Norwegian. Furthermore, their key players, most notably Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, are hitting top form at the right time.
Add to that the fact that Paris St Germain won’t be able to call on Neymar for either leg of this tie due to a broken metatarsal and suddenly the contest looks vastly more even and in truth, I have a sneaking feeling that Manchester United could provide us with the upset of the round.
To do that they’ll need an immense performance in Paris in three weeks time, but before that I am backing them to take on a PSG side that still struggle away from home against the top sides and get the better of them at Old Trafford on Tuesday in what should be a high-scoring contest.
Man Utd to win & both teams to score - £10 returns £42.00
Roma finished second in Group G with 9 points behind Real Madrid. They face FC Porto who won Group D with an impressive 16 points total.
Roma currently lie well off the pace in Serie A and their recent form is not great including a 7-1 drubbing away to Fiorentina in the Italian Cup.
FC Porto are leading the Portuguese league. Other than a League Cup Final loss to Sporting Lisbon on penalties, they are unbeaten since early October 2018.
The teams met in the Final Qualifying Round of the 2016-17 Champions League, drawing 1-1 in Porto before FC Porto ran out 3-0 winners (4-1 on aggregate) in Rome.
This is one of those rare games where I actually changed my prediction once I had reviewed all the data. Originally, I had gone for an AS Roma home win, they did reach the semifinals last year and beat Barcelona at home last season, but their recent performances domestically have been poor and in the Champions League they have been somewhat erratic in the group stages.
In contrast, FC Porto have been a model of consistency. They are unbeaten in the Champions League this season, winning five and drawing one of their six group games and they have not been beaten in 90 minutes by any team since losing to Benfica back in early October 2018. They are, unsurprisingly, leading the Portuguese league from the aforementioned Benfica.
In terms of quality of personnel, I think Roma may just have the edge, but I think FC Porto are the stronger team unit, have better form in all competitions and I think they are the better, more consistent side at this present moment in time.
So I scrapped backing Roma for the win here and instead I have gone for FC Porto to continue that long unbeaten record by picking up a draw here which will set up an intriguing second leg in Portugal in a few weeks time.
Football Tips & Predictions: Wednesday 13th February
February 13, 2019
Johan Cruyff Arena
February 13, 2019
Johan Cruyff Arena
Ajax qualified second to Bayern with 12 points from Group E. They also lie second in the Eredivisie behind PSV Eindhoven.
Real Madrid won Group G with 12 points. They lie third in La Liga behind the top two of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Real have already lost six matches in La Liga this season, plus two in the Champions League. Ajax have lost just two matches in the league and none in the Champions League.
The teams have met 12 times in the past with Real winning seven, Ajax four and just one draw. They last met back in 2012 when Real won both Group Stage games 4-1.
These two teams are not unfamiliar foes in European competition over the years, although their last clash did come several years ago now back in 2012. Real certainly hold the advantage over Ajax, especially in recent times, with the Dutch team enjoying the most success against their Spanish opponents in the early 1970s.
As Champions of this competition for three years in a row, it is hard to back against Real against any opponent, but there is no doubt that this team is considerably weaker, less consistent and more susceptible than the team that won it previously. This has been demonstrated both in the Champions League and also domestically.
In contrast, this is a young, talented and emerging Ajax side who gave Bayern Munich a real fight in their two games in the group stage and were unbeaten against the Germans home and away. If Ajax can do that to a strong Bayern side, they can do likewise to Real.
While I’d love to see Ajax win this personally, I can’t see it as Real have so much experience and knowhow to draw upon, but I also feel Real, despite improved form of late, are still not at their total best, hence I am going for a draw in this one.
Tottenham lie in third place in the league. They were runners up behind Barca in Group B with eight points, pipping Inter to the final spot.
Dortmund finished top of Group A with 13 points and they are also currently top of the Bundesliga after an impressive season so far.
Dortmund have lost just two games all season in the League and Champions League, Spurs have lost a total of eight in the same two competitions.
The teams have met in the last two Champions League campaigns, Dortmund winning both games (3-0 and 2-1) in 2016 and then Spurs winning both (3-1 and 2-1) in 2017.
Having never met before in competition, Dortmund and Spurs have now played each other in each of the last three seasons of the Champions League. Dortmund came out on top in 2016, Spurs likewise in 2017 and with rwo wins apiece, this sets up Wednesday’s Round of 16 first leg perfectly.
Dortmund’s season has been a superb one so far with the German side performing well in Europe in a relatively easy group and also topping the Bundesliga. Jadon Sancho, the former Manchester City winger, has been a star for them with the young England star playing a key role in several games either as a starter or from the bench and he will be a player Spurs will need to watch.
Tottenham will be desperate for Harry Kane to be fit ahead of this game and after initially being ruled out, there are rumours that the England man could be back in time to start the game. Without Kane, Spurs chances of progressing look much slimmer, especially with another key player, Dele Alli, already ruled out through injury.
Even if Kane plays, he won’t be 100% and despite having home advantage, I think that will hurt Spurs against a very strong Dortmund side. I can’t quite see Dortmund winning this one though and once again I am going for a draw to set up a fiery second leg in the Westfahlenstadion.
David 'the Cheeky Punter' Lenton is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has also worked for a number of top bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. With such a long time spent dedicated to the gambling industry no one is better placed when it comes to advising punters. Follow on Twitter @thecheekypunter