Punters weigh up Champions League impact
It’s fast approaching the business end of the season so punters and online football tipsters are looking ahead at what’s around the corner for Europe’s elite teams before deciding where the value in the market is. What teams are worth backing and what managers may be tempted to rest big name players before the big crunch games in the world’s biggest club competition are just some of the questions being addressed as fans and tipsters all around the world gear up for the return of the Champions League next week. The round for the last sixteen kicks off on Tuesday and punters are assessing what impact the competition will have on the sides still involved in the knockout stages.
Benfica v Zenit; PSG v Chelsea
Tuesday has two games – one featuring Portugal’s Benfica against Russia’s Zenit St Petersburg while in the French capital Chelsea return to the sight of recent shame to take on PSG in their first leg. The last time the Londoners took on the French champions the match was marred by racist abuse from Chelsea fans on the Paris Metro, the fallout from which dominated reporting by the media. Chelsea have been woeful in the EPL and have made the worst defence to their title than any previous Champion team in England. Their domestic form and performances have cost Jose Mourinho his job and the side look highly unlikely to qualify even for next year’s Europa League. However, under interim boss Guus Hiddink the Blues remain unbeaten and who can forget the last time Chelsea were led by an interim-boss in the Champions League? Punters and tipsters certainly don’t and recall Roberto Di Matteo leading the club to their first and only CL title in 2012 with a famous victory over Bayern Munich. Can history repeat itself and can Hiddink’s unbeaten run continue? We’ll find out at least part of the answer on Tuesday.
Gent v Wolfsburg; Roma v Real madrid
On Wednesday all eyes will be fixated on Rome – unless of course you’re Belgian, German or a fan of either KAA Gent and Wolfsburg who face each other at the same time as Roma take on Real Madrid in the Eternal City. It’s the first leg and football’s famously unpredictable but punters and tipsters will be favouring the away teams to leave with the spoils given and the Galactico’s trip to the home of the Gladiators is a glamour tie to tantalize any football fan especially with what follows the next week.
Veritable football feast
Tuesday February 23 sees a veritable feast of football and double header of games in London and Turin that makes the mouth water in anticipation. Arsenal are going for their first Premier League title in 12 years but will pause that ambition to pursue their first Champions League title by taking on the fear inducing Barcelona at the Emirates. At the same time in Italy Serie A title contenders Juventus will take on Pep Guardiola’s Bavarian behemoth Bayern Munich so punters may need to think about multi-screening the games as much as who to back. The first leg of the knockout stages concludes the very next evening with Dynamo Kiev taking on Manchester City, while PSV Eindhoven entertain Atletico Madrid. How far these games will impact on the domestic campaigns of those involved from the possible tinkering to teams by cautious and ambitious managers will be a key feature for most online punters and tipsters.
By: Joe Cahal