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Champions League Tips: 9th & 10th April
by David Lenton
There’s a busy week ahead this week of games in the Champions League, Europa League and then a full weekend of Premier League matches to look forward to.
We have four English teams in action across Tuesday and Wednesday night, starting with three teams in action on Tuesday as Tottenham take on Manchester City and at Anfield Liverpool face FC Porto in a repeat of the Round of 16 clash between the teams from last season.
Then on Wednesday night we have Ajax facing Juventus at the Amsterdam Arena before the biggest game of the quarter-finals at Old Trafford as Manchester United seek to get the better of the mighty Barcelona in what could be an absolutely cracking tie.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 9th April
April 9, 2019
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
April 9, 2019
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham were comfortable 4-0 aggregate winners over Borussia Dortmund in the last round to reach this stage after only just making it through the group stage.
Man City thrashed Schalke 04 on home soil after a 3-2 win in Germany. Their 7-0 win was the second time they had scored six or more goals in this tournament.
The teams have met once in the Premier League in Wembley, where a single goal for City was enough to hand them a victory. They play again in a couple of weeks’ time.
City have won all of the last three matches between the teams. They lead the historic table to with 61 wins to Spurs 60 with 35 drawn matches between the two.
Will the magic of Tottenham’s brand new stadium be enough to halt the Manchester City juggernaut? Or will Pep Guardiola’s team continue their relentless march towards winning all five of the competitions that they could have possibly won at the start of the season?
With the Charity Shield and Carabao Cup in the bag, City are well placed in the Premier League and could, by this time, be confirmed as FA Cup Finalists. This challenge however will be their greatest as they could end up facing Ajax or Juventus in the semis, should they get past Tottenham.
Spurs celebrated the opening of their new stadium with a good win over Palace last week but their form leading up to that game was not the best domestically. However, they were superb in the last round beating Dortmund and they are certainly well enough equipped to give Manchester City a real test.
I cannot see City losing either leg of this tie to be honest and while I was tempted to back them to win, I just think Spurs new home, and a packed stadium could give Spurs an extra yard or two, so I am backing them to earn a draw here and set up an intriguing second leg in a fortnight’s time.
Liverpool have lost more times in the Champions League (3) than in the league this season but they did beat Bayern Munich away 3-1 to reach this stage.
FC Porto came through their Round of 16 tie with Roma, winning 3-1 in the home leg after a 2-1 defeat in Rome, to earn a place in the quarter-finals.
The teams met in the Round of 16 last season, Liverpool winning 5-0 in Oporto, before the teams battled out a 0-0 draw in the second leg at Anfield.
The teams have met six times previously, Liverpool winning three, and three games have finished in draws. Porto have scored just two goals to Liverpool’s 12 in those games.
When these teams met last season, Liverpool’s sole focus was the Champions League and they were flying at the time, thrashing Porto in the first leg in Portugal to make the second leg at Anfield a formality. The Reds would love a similar result at home this time around to make the second leg as easy but that is not likely to happen.
Porto are the weakest team left in the tournament, but they are still a strong outfit and have beaten some decent sides to get this far. However, the confident Liverpool should gain from beating Bayern Munich 3-1 in the Allianz Arena a few weeks back should make them big favourites to progress from this tie.
With either Manchester United or Barcelona awaiting in the semifinals for the winners, the incentive for both teams is huge. Liverpool’s record away from home in the Champions League wasn’t great in the league stage but they put that right in Munich last time out.
I can see the Reds earning a victory here but by nowhere near the same scoreline as they did in Portugal last season. Even so, if they can keep a clean sheet, they should be in a very strong position ahead of the game in Portugal.
Ajax are two points behind PSV in the league. They thumped Real Madrid 4-1 in the Bernebeu (5-3 on aggregate) in the last round to reach the quarters.
Juventus are miles clear in Serie A and they came back from a 2-0 deficit against Atletico Madrid to win 3-0 in Turin thanks to a Ronaldo hattrick to reach this stage.
The teams have met 11 times previously in European competition and Juventus hold the upper hand winning six, with four draws. Ajax have won just the once back in 1973.
The teams have also contested two finals, Ajax winning in 1973 thanks to a single Jonny Rep strike, while Juventus won the 1996 final on penalties in Rome.
After the first legs of both these teams Round of 16 ties, you would have got long odds on this being the quarterfinal to result, but after two superb second leg displays, both Ajax and Juventus fully earned their place in the last eight and this game promises to be a cracker.
We have a real contrast in styles here, Ajax are a young, vibrant attacking team who are enjoying their best Champions League run for many years. Juventus are a vastly more experienced side who know that only winning this tournament will be regarded as a success for the manager Massimo Allegri, especially after losing two finals in recent years.
The home leg being in Amsterdam could be a positive for both sides, Ajax will want to take a lead with them to Turin but if Juventus can score they will feel that even if they trail from the first leg, they should be able to turn things around on home soil.
I can see this being a cagey game and while I can see both teams scoring, I feel that a 1-1 scoreline is the most likely outcome, hence I am backing the draw here.
Draw - £10 returns £34.00
April 10, 2019
April 10, 2019
Man Utd lie sixth in the Premier League ahead of the weekend, with 61 points from 32 games. They defeated PSG on away goals to reach the quarter-finals.
Barca are top of La Liga having lost just two games this season. They have 70 points from their 30 games and are unbeaten in the Champions League this season.
United have won just one of the last eight games between the teams, a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final in April 2008.
Barcelona have won both the last two games between the teams, both in the Champions League Final, winning 2-0 in 2009 and 3-1 in 2011.
What a game this promises to be. Manchester United have been resurgent under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but they have hit a bit of a dip in form of late, losing three of their last four. Barcelona are still imperious in Spain and will be Champions again this season and they will also be looking to land another Champions League title to add to the five they have already won.
However, Barcelona have been looking shaky defensively of late. Villarreal put four past them last week and that will give Manchester United hope of being able to make a mark on a Barcelona defence that does look susceptible when put under pressure.
The same could be said of United’s back line however and when you have the likes of Suarez, Dembele, Coutinho and of course Lionel Messi trying to catch you on the break, you are going to need a massive defensive display to secure the win.
PSG won at Old Trafford but then lost in Paris. I can’t see Barcelona following that pattern here and I think the Spanish team will be very much up for this game. So much so that I am backing them to earn a narrow win here to put them in control of the tie.
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