Guides

Crucial Games for Six of England’s Finest in Europe This Week


The race for the Premier League title and Champions League places for next season may well be hotting up, but it is also a crunch time in European football too with the first leg of the quarterfinals in the Champions League and Europa League taking place this week.

Out of the 16 teams competing, six of those are English, three Spanish, two each from Portugal and Italy and one each from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Germany. English teams therefore have a strong representation in the tournaments and the feeling is that they could put on a very strong showing.

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We’re going to take a look now at the 8 games taking place this week and give you our tips for each of the games and a quick guide to how we see the Premier League sides doing in their respective games. We will start with the action tonight in the Champions League and all games this week in both competitions kick off at the same 8pm kick off time.

Champions League

Tuesday 9th April

Liverpool v FC Porto – Home Win – 2/7

When these two teams met in the competition last season, Liverpool won 5-0 in Oporto in the first leg and followed that with a 0-0 at Anfield in the second leg to progress easily from the Round of 16. The Reds would love a similar outcome in this tie but I have a feeling that FC Porto are going to make it much tougher this time around.

That said, I still expect Liverpool to win this leg and to do so comfortably. The Reds fans love a European night and some of their best performances under Jurgen Klopp have come in these games and as such, I expect Anfield to be rocking as Liverpool secure a solid win to take with them to Portugal for the next leg.

Tottenham v Manchester City – Away Win – 10/11

Man City beat Spurs at Wembley 1-0 earlier in the season and Pep Guardiola’s team are on an incredible run of form at the moment, beating almost every team that they come up against. A fact which will not be lost on Mauricio Pochettino who knows his side face Manchester City three times in the space of a few weeks in games which could well decide the outcome of their season.

Playing their first Champions League game at their new ground will be huge for Spurs but even so I still can’t see it being enough to inspire them to a win or even a draw here. City are just playing too well at the moment and as such, I think that it will be a narrow City win in the first leg that they take back to the Etihad.

Wednesday 10th April

Ajax Amsterdam v Juventus – Draw – 12/5

After beating Real Madrid 4-1 at the Bernebeu, Ajax won’t be afraid of any team left in this competition but they face another massive test against a Juventus side who came back from 2-0 down to Atletico Madrid to earn a 3-0 win at home thanks to a remarkable Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick in the last round.

This is an intriguing clash of football styles, with Ajax youthful attacking flair pitted against Juventus vast experience, defensive stability and the brilliance of Ronaldo in attack. I can see Ajax getting a positive result at home, but that would only be a draw as I can’t see the experienced Juventus losing this opening leg.

Manchester United v Barcelona – Away Win – Evens

This is one of the biggest matches in European football and it always produces excitement and drama. Barcelona have twice beaten United in the final of this competition and United fans will be desperate to get a degree of revenge for those two losses. However they face a tough test with their side not in great form and Barcelona’s much vaunted attack looking very dangerous.

A 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid at the weekend has all but secured the La Liga title for Barcelona and now their main focus will be on this tournament and I do fear for United’s defence here. Barcelona are so dangerous on the counter-attack that I feel if United push too hard, they could pay the price. As such, I am backing Barcelona to earn a narrow win at Old Trafford.

Champions League Accumulator

  • Liverpool to win – 2/7
  • Man City to win – 10/11
  • Ajax v Juventus – Draw – 12/5
  • Barcelona to win – Evens

Place these four bets as a fourfold accumulator on the Champions League with bet365 and you would get odds of 15.69/1 at the odds stated (which were correct at the time of writing). That means a £10 stake would win you £156.90 if your bet is a winner.

Europa League

Thursday 11th April

Arsenal v Napoli – Arsenal to win 29/20

Napoli have met Arsenal twice previously, winning 2-0 at home but losing 2-0 in London and the Italian side won’t be too happy at drawing the Londoners at this stage. Arsenal had been in good form before the Everton game at the weekend, but a poor display and a 1-0 loss ended their unbeaten run and saw them drop out of the top four in the Premier League.

That result may give Napoli hope of an upset here, but I think Arsenal will get a reaction from the players in this game and I feel that on the road in Europe, Napoli do look likely to ship a few goals at times, as Red Bull Salzburg showed in the last round scoring three at home. I fancy Arsenal to get the job done here and take a narrow lead into the second leg.

Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt – Draw – 5/2

For me, this is the most competitive of all the quarterfinal fixtures along with the Arsenal – Napoli match. Benfica are a very strong side at home, but Frankfurt won away in the San Siro to beat Inter last time around and they proved that they are no flukes following an excellent qualifying campaign in the group stages.

Both sides are strong defensively and I can see this game being a very tight one and somewhat similar to the game between Villarreal and Valencia that we have previewed below. I think both sides will go into the second leg in Germany with plenty to play for as I think a 1-1 draw is the most likely outcome in this one.

Slavia Prague v Chelsea – Chelsea to win – 7/10

I have put Chelsea down to win this game but I am not as confident as the bookmakers are that they will do so. Slavia Prague have beaten some very good sides at home in this competition this season and they are a much better side than their odds suggest and I can see this being a very tough game for the Londoners.

That said, with Eden Hazard in blistering form, I think the Belgian ace may just be Chelsea’s crucial player here and with Hudson-Odoi finally being given a start, Chelsea look dangerous on the counter once again and as such, I think this will be a closely fought battle but Chelsea will just about take a slender lead into the home leg.

Villarreal v Valencia – Draw – 23/10

These two Spanish sides have already met twice in La Liga this season, the Villarreal v Valencia game ending 0-0, with the Valencia v Villarreal return leg at the Mestalla ending in a 3-0 win for the home side against their local rivals. Both these sides have lots of European experience and despite being at opposite ends of the La Liga table, I feel they are somewhat well matched. The main difference between the team being that Valencia are much tougher to beat than Villarreal.

As such, I think this first leg being in the El Madrigal will be a closely fought one and neither side will want to go into the second leg with a mountain to climb. As such, I think this will be a cagey tight affair and while I could potentially see one team winning this 1-0, I feel that a draw, most likely 0-0 or 1-1 is going to be the most likely outcome here.

Europa League Accumulator

  • Arsenal to win – 29/20
  • Benfica v Frankfurt – Draw – 5/2
  • Chelsea to win – 7/10
  • Villarreal v Valencia – Draw – 23/10

Back the four results above with bet365 Sport in a fourfold accumulator and your bet would return at odds of 47.1/1, which means a £10 stake would return £471 in winnings if your accumulator bet is a winning one.