Champions League Tips: 23rd – 24th February
Well, the profit has carried on rolling in!
After a somewhat measly £3 profit on the Europa League ties last week, I have followed that up with a return of £99 (£59 profit) at the weekend. That’s much more like it!
Focus now returns to the Champions League action with the remaining four Round of 16 first leg ties being played this week. This includes away games for Chelsea (who face Atletico Madrid) and Manchester City (who travel to Germany to face Borussia Monchengladbach).
I may be a little more cautious with the tips for this set of games (after last weeks results), although the big win at the weekend has kind of encouraged me to be a bit more expansive with my tips, especially when there’s a chance of backing just a straight result at good odds and the form book shows a trend that suggests those odds could be very generous.
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the Champions League tips this week and remember to stay tuned for Thursday morning’s tips for the Europa League games later this week too.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 23rd February
This should be an interesting game. Atletico have been the dominant team in La Liga this season but they come into this game in arguably their worst form of the season and on the back of a rare 2-0 home defeat to Levante at the weekend. In contrast, Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last eight games, winning six of those under new boss Thomas Tuchel.
It is also worth noting that Chelsea have played Atletico at their home three times in the Champions League and they have never been beaten in Spanish soil, drawing two games and winning the other. That 2-1 win was back in the group stages of the 2017 Champions League tournament.
The Londoners will have to be wary of Atletico’s potent strike pairing of Luis Suarez and Joao Felix who have been in great form this season, so much so that Atletico released Diego Costa from his contract at the club.
Defensively, Atletico had an off day at the weekend but I think they may well have had their eye on this fixture. The Spaniards don’t concede many at home and I think they will rely on that and taking a chance on the counter or from a set piece to land a narrow victory here.
Last season, this would have been a Bayern win, easy tip, forget the rest, the Germans will be too strong. Now though, I am not so sure it is going to be so straightforward for the current holders of the Champions League trophy.
After a draw with relegation threatened Arminia Bielefeld in the league, Bayern then went and lost 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt this weekend. That means they have won seven of their last 11, while Lazio actually have a better record than that in their last ten games.
However, I always feel you back against Bayern in this tournament at your peril. Sure, they may be lacking a little defensively at the moment and Lazio are a dangerous team going forward, but this Bayern attack can rack up goals against any team in this competition.
I am expecting this one to be a good game and I would expect to see goals going in at both ends, but I do feel Bayern are the most likely to grab the initiative and take a narrow lead with them back to Germany for the second leg.
Football Tips: Wednesday 24th February
For me, this is probably the trickiest of the four games to predict tonight. Real Madrid can be the team that were humiliated on home soil by Shakhtar Donetsk, or they can be the team that goes to the Nou Camp and beats Barcelona. Their form recently has been more solid, if unspectacular, under Zinedine Zidane.
In contrast, Atalanta are a team you can never really predict. They were well beaten at home by Liverpool but then beat the Reds at Anfield. They smashed Valencia 8-4 on aggregate in this competition last season and they are a team well capable of scoring multiple goals against any team, but just as likely to concede too.
The loss of midfield dynamo Gomez after an altercation with the Atalanta manager Gasperini has impacted the creativity in the team but this remains a very talented Italian side who I think are going to fancy their chances against the more experienced but less energetic Spanish side.
I concede, Real could make this prediction look foolish and win this game easily but something tells me that there is going to be a statement result in the Champions League this week and I think it will come in Bergamo with Atalanta landing a memorable win.
Borussia Monchengladbach will feel that they drew the short straw in the draw for the Round of 16, especially as Manchester City have now racked up 17 wins in a row in all competitions, before their game at the weekend against Arsenal. That is a fearsome record to overcome, even on home soil.
The only victory Borussia have had over Manchester City came in the 1979 UEFA Cup, when they won 3-1 at home and drew 1-1 away to knock City out of that competition and that result is going to have no bearing on how this game pans out.
Hope may come in the fact that City do have some injury concerns over the in-form Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne in the main. However, Pep has such a strong squad available to him that even without these two players, they will still be a formidable outfit.
Borussia can spring a surprise or two at home and I think they will find the net against Manchester City on Wednesday night, but I can’t see anything other than a solid win for the visitors here which would make the second leg in Manchester in three weeks time a relatively straightforward evening.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.