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Champions League Tips: 18th & 19th February
by David Lenton
This week sees the return of the Champions League after the Christmas and New Year break and now that the group stage is completed, we have 16 teams battling it out to claim a place in the quarter-finals.
At this stage of the season, the Round of 16 is split into two separate weeks of games for the first and second legs.
This week sees four first leg ties on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the remaining four first leg games next week.
We are going to have a busy period over the next few weeks with a number of different tips to enjoy across midweek, so remember to check back regularly for the latest tips for the Champions League and also Thursday night’s Europa League action.
So, let’s get things under way with my tips for the four Champions League games this week.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 18th February
February 18, 2020
February 18, 2020
Atletico finished second behind Juventus in Group D collecting 10 points in total.
Liverpool topped Group E with 13 points ahead of Napoli and are top of the EPL.
The teams have played four times, with one win apiece plus two draws.
Felix, Costa, Trippier, Morata, Giminez, Arias and Herrera are injury doubts for Atletico.
Injury worries aside, Atletico Madrid will have happy memories of the last time they played Liverpool where despite a 2-1 extra time defeat at Anfield, Diego Forlan’s goal took them into the Europa League final ahead of the Reds, who had lost the first leg in Madrid by a 1-0 scoreline.
This season, Liverpool have romped away with the Premier League while Atletico sit in a disappointing fourth in the table, despite Barcelona and Real Madrid not really being at their very best. Add to that the raft of injuries Atletico have for this game and that doesn’t bode well for the home side.
Liverpool;s sole defeat, with their first team playing, this season came away at Napoli in this competition and if the Reds are not at their best they could come unstuck here, but after a good rest leading into this game, the Reds should be refreshed and almost at full strength.
I can’t see there being too many goals here between two very well marshalled defences, but I can see Liverpool perhaps grabbing the decisive one to win this game either 1-0 or perhaps by a 2-1 scoreline.
The teams met twice in the Europa League in 2010, both games ending in a draw.
Dortmund finished 2nd behind Barcelona but ahead of Inter in Group F.
Paris St Germain topped Group A with 16 points out of 18 available.
PSG have the best defensive record in the Group phase, conceding just 2 goals.
Both of these teams have been scoring, and conceding, plenty of goals in recent times and it is fair to say that of the two, Dortmund are the team that have the somewhat ropier form heading into this game after defeats to Leverkusen and Bremen in recent weeks.
Paris, in contrast, have been on a long run of games without a defeat and they are, as always, running away with the Ligue 1 title in France. However, they have struggled at times when the quality of the opposition has improved in the Champions League and this is certainly going to be a test for them.
Paris’ attacking threat is going to be a cause of concern for anyone and I can see them netting at least once, if not twice here. However, Dortmund are also very dangerous going forward and though PSG have the best defensive record in the Group Stages of the tournament, I do think Dortmund will do enough to secure a draw in this first leg. Which will then set up a very interesting second leg in Paris in three weeks time.
Atalanta came second to Man City in Group C picking up 7 points.
All Atalanta’s points came in their final three games in the group.
Valencia topped Group H on head to head record over Chelsea, eliminating Ajax.
Valencia were unbeaten on the road in the Group Stage, beating both Chelsea and Ajax.
How Atalanta made it through to the knockout phase of the competition is a wonder. After having lost all of their first three games in the Group Stage, they were bottom of the table and seemed certain to finish there. However, a battling draw at home to group winners Manchester City was then followed by wins over Dynamo Zagreb and Shakhtar Donetsk and with other results going their way, Atalanta somehow claimed second spot in the Group.
Valencia also worked hard to gain a place in the knockout phase with wins away from home against Ajax and Valencia proving to be crucial,especially the former which was the result which took them through and eliminated Ajax from the competition. This Valencia team is dogged and determined, but not really spectacular and they tend to be harder to break down than a genuine attacking threat.
That said, Atalanta have some attacking talents themselves and they have been amongst the goals lately in Italian soccer. As such, I don’t see Valencia having things all their own way here and while I can see both teams finding the net, I think this one is most likely to end up as a 1-1 draw, which will set up the second leg at the Mestalla in a few weeks’ time very nicely indeed.
Spurs came 2nd in Group B with 10 points behind Bayern Munich.
Red Bull Leipzig topped Group G with 11 points ahead of Lyon.
The two teams have never met previously.
Leipzig won two and drew one of their three away games in the Group Stages.
Are Tottenham playing Red Bull Leipzig at the right time? Before Christmas, the German side were flying in the Bundesliga and were top of the table, as well as taking top spot in their Champions League group. However since then, their form has nosedived and they have suffered a number of defeats in quick succession.
Tottenham’s form though has been heading in the other direction under Jose Mourinho. After qualifying behind Bayern and having a few poor results, Mourinho’s team have been impressive at home in recent weeks, winning all three of their home games, including a notable win over Manchester City.
While I think defensively, both sides are questionable at times, I do feel that Spurs, even with Harry Kane injured, do have a little extra guile and strength in attack and as such, I think that could be the difference here. Son in particular has been a real strength for Tottenham in this competition over the last few years and his experience against Bundesliga teams could be beneficial.
I can see Spurs winning this by a 2-1 scoreline which would make for a very interesting second leg in Leipzig in a couple of weeks time and one that I think both managers would be probably take if you offered them this scoreline before the game kicked off.
Tottenham to win & both teams to score - £10 returns £40.00
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