European Football returns this week, with four first leg matches from the Round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League. Three of these games involve English sides, with Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool in action. Check out my preview and tips on these three matches below.
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TUESDAY (7:45pm Kick-off)
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur
In a huge test for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, Tottenham travel to Turin, as they take on Italian champions Juventus.
Juventus are in imperious form at the moment, unbeaten in sixteen games, have won their last eleven and even more impressive is their defensive record, conceding just one solitary goal in that time and keeping fifteen clean sheet, including the last seven matches,
Tottenham are by no means in bad form themselves, having extended their unbeaten run to twelve matches, with the 1-0 over Arsenal, a game that Spurs dominated.
Tottenham’s belief in their abilities came to the fore in the group stage, topping the group and picking up impressive wins over Real Madrid and Dortmund on the way. Juventus however will prove a tough nut to crack, with any side that is able to stop Barcelona scoring in a game, a side to be respected. They finished second in their group, behind the Spanish side, but were head and shoulders above the rest.
Expect a tight game, with the home side dominating the ball, however Tottenham’s new found strength in Europe should mean that the return game at Wembley will have everything to play for.
Juventus to win and under 2.5 goals scored @11/4
FC Basel v Manchester City
Pep Guardiola takes his all conquering Man City side to Switzerland, for what should be an interesting but ultimately fruitful encounter with Basel in this first leg.
FC Basel have done well to reach the second round, coming from a tough group featuring Man United, CSKA and Benfica. Domestically they have been the dominant force, but this season they find themselves chasing, with the side in second at the moment and picking up a win and loss on their return from the Winter break.
Man City are in fine form, unbeaten in six and normal service resumed in the 5-1 over Leicester as Sergio Aguero struck four times. City have lost just twice all season and it would be unsurprising to see that be the case for the rest of the season
Basel beat Man United at their St.Jakob home in the group stages, but City are a different proposition, with some much firepower and attacking ability at their disposal. Basel will want to at least avoid defeat to have a realistic chance of going further but City look too strong here.
Man City To Win And Both To Score @15/8
WEDNESDAY (7:45pm Kick-off)
FC Porto v Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp takes his Liverpool side to Portugal, as they face a difficult first leg test against Porto on Wednesday at the Estadio Dragao
Porto sit top of the Portuguese league and have won their last three games. They qualified from what was expected to be a tough group involving RB Leipzig and Monaco but came through relatively unscathed.
Liverpool’s attacking displays have been both breathtaking and frustrating at times, with the gung-ho approach sometimes undoing their good work, however there seems to be a good balance now, as Klopp’s side resume European aspirations.
This will be a real test of character for the Reds, with Porto looking to pick up a vital win in this first match. This however can open them up for the counter, something Liverpool are so strong in. Expect Jurgen Klopp’s men to come through this first leg, but with a draw looking a strong option here.
Draw Result 16/5