Champions League Predictions: Two-Way Parlay Includes Man United and Donetsk Wins
AS Rome vs Shakhtar Donetsk
First Leg Result: Shakhtar Donetsk 2 – 1 AS Roma
This tie is certainly in the balance after an enthralling first leg that saw the Italians score first then concede their advantage as the Ukrainians scored twice in the second half. Shakhtar will travel knowing they only need a draw in this match to progress, although they will be up against a unique statistic – Donetsk have not drawn a UEFA Champions League game in their last fifteen starts. That’s an astonishing piece of information, particularly if you were considering the draw in this one!
History is certainly on the side of Donetsk. The win in the first leg was Shakhtar’s fourth in five attempts against their Italian opponents, and their last venture into the final eight of the tournament came at AS Roma’s expense in 2010-11 – Shakhtar won their Round of 16 clash 6-2 on aggregate with two wins. Marlos will be the key man for the away side in this tie – he has had a hand in four of his side’s last six UCL goals (2 scored, 2 assisted).
The only issue for the Ukrainians is their away form, which has not been overly impressive recently. The side has lost six of their last seven matches outside of Kharkiv, with the win against Feyenoord in this year’s group stage the only road win in this period. The good news for Shakhtar is that their only win away in the knockout stages of the Champions League came in Rome.
Meanwhile AS Roma will boast a more or less full strength squad when they face Shakhtar, giving them their best shot of overcoming a team that is quickly becoming a nemesis in the competition. Edin Dzeko will again be crucial for the home side – he has been directly involved in five of his side’s ten goals in this campaign (3 goals, two assists).
While the side also carry good form into this match, having recently defeated Napoli and Torino in Serie A, they have been eliminated from all four Champions League knockout ties in which they have lost the first leg (both home and away). On a positive note, the Giallorossi have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three UCL home matches, and of course a 1-0 victory would be enough in this one.
This is very tough to call, so it is surprising to see that a win for AS Roma is the favourite by some distance in terms of betting odds. The home side are available for as low as -141, while the draw is at +344 and the away side is +304. While a draw is always a possibility, we can’t see it happening, especially considering Donetsk’s streak. We are going to go against the grain and pick Shakhtar to upset the Italians and make it into the final eight.Go for Shakhtar Donetsk (+304) Sports Interaction
Manchester United vs FC Sevilla
First Leg Result: Sevilla 0 – 0 Manchester United
Say what you want about Manchester United, but Mourinho’s men know how to get a result. Their big 2-1 victory over Liverpool in the English Premier League on Sunday is a testament to that, and the 0-0 draw in Sevilla last month was classic Jose. Sevilla had the better of the ball and more chances, while United managed just one shot on target. Mourinho is the king of suffocating tactics, and they did a number on the Spaniards in the first leg.
You wouldn’t back against a 1-0 victory in the second-leg for the Red Devils. Some will say that United’s tactics are madness, especially as they easily boast a stronger side on paper and could put at least three or four goals away. Playing for a narrow win opens up the possibility of a shock Sevilla goal, and away goals could decide this fixture. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.
Sevilla have performed reasonably well in this season’s competition. They have perhaps only made it this far thanks to the generosity of Liverpool, who squandered leads in the two matches between the clubs (we won’t forget that comeback from 3-0 down in a hurry). We were surprised that they didn’t concede in the first leg given they had shifted 12 goals in the group stage (the most of any remaining team), and would be extremely shocked if they can manage a clean sheet at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have lost just one of their nine Champions League matches against Spanish opponents (Real Madrid, 2012-13), and fans will be pleased to hear that 70% of teams who draw away from home in the first leg of a knockout round tie progress to the next stage. Interestingly though, United have not managed to score more than one goal in their last fifteen Champions League games against Spanish sides. A 1-1 draw here would of course see them eliminated.
But that appears to be extremely unlikely. Sevilla have never won a UCL match in England, and have picked up just one win in their last twelve away matches in the competition. Mourinho’s men have also only conceded three goals in their entire campaign, second only behind Barcelona (2) out of all the competitors in this season’s tournament.
Sevilla are massive outsiders here, paying +481 for a win at Old Trafford. You will get +339 for the draw, which is certainly a much more likely outcome, although the United victory is easily the bet to take here. It is surprisingly good value as well, which is strange considering that any draw after 90 minutes aside from a scoreless one would see Sevilla through, and we just don’t think that is a possibility.Go for Manchester United (-195) Sports Interaction
Champions League Outright Odds
We’re halfway through the second legs of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, which means we already know four of the teams that will compete in the semi-finals. Manchester City and Liverpool cruised into the last eight thanks to dominant first leg performances, Real Madrid overcame PSG in a titanic clash that was perhaps anticlimactic without Neymar in the second leg, while Juventus stunned Tottenham, who took their foot off the throat at the wrong time.
Naturally, these teams feature prominently at the top of the odds list in the UCL outright market. It’s no surprise to see City leading the pack – they’re currently at odds of +307 – and Real Madrid have firmed into +407. Prior to the Round of 16 first leg, the defending champs blew out to in excess of +800, so well done if you had faith in Zidane’s men – they are now a great chance of winning the tournament.
Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also in among the favourites at +482 and +416 respectively. Munich have practically assured progression, while Messi’s men still have to get over the line against Chelsea after a 1-1 draw in England. Perhaps wait on them at this stage. If Chelsea (+3700) can shock the Catalan club, they would surge up the ranks – you could do worse than place a small bet on them at that price!
It’s such a tight race this season – we don’t like City regardless of their form this season simply because they lack the experience of winning the title. PSG are another side that are yet to lift the UCL trophy, and despite being our early pick they crumbled under the pressure of facing Madrid. For us, it has to be between the defending champs, Barcelona and Bayern. The quarter-final draw will certainly make the path to the final more clear. Check back regularly for all the latest odds and UCL news, including our analysis of the quarter-final draw.
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