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UEFA Champions League: Last 16 Preview

Three players challenging for the ball

Our football pundit previews the UEFA Champions League last 16 matches which take place on Tuesday 13 February and Wednesday 14 February 2018.

The business end of the UEFA Champions League finally gets underway! Just 16 teams remain in Europe’s elite competition, with eight teams advancing into the next round, while the other eight will be out of all European competitions.

There are four matches taking place this week, with holders, Real Madrid, doing battle with French hotshots, Paris Saint-Germain. Before that, Juventus and Tottenham go toe-to-toe on Tuesday night which will be another thrilling encounter to watch out for. Elsewhere, tournament favourites, Manchester City, travel to Basel, while two-time champions, FC Porto, meet with five-time winners, Liverpool.

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Tuesday 13 February

Juventus 9/10
Draw 23/10
Tottenham 33/10 
Despite struggling for most parts of the group stage, Juventus always show big-match temperament, and it’s no shock that they’ve reached two of the last three finals of the competition. The Old Lady now face a huge task when they host Tottenham at the Juventus Stadium. Mauricio Pochettino’s side collected the most points in the group stage, and with Harry Kane in their ranks, they’ll fancy their chances of upsetting the applecart once again.

With Kane up front, former Juve star, Fernando Llorente, will likely watch on from the stands and hope that Spurs can do a job over his former employers. Juventus are unbeaten at home in the Champions League this season, so too are Tottenham on their travels, who collected seven points away to Real Madrid, Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia. This is a tough one to call, but I’ll be backing Juve on the Win/Draw Double Chance & Under 2.5 Goals at 19/20.

FC Basel 13/2
Draw 38/10
Manchester City 7/20
FC Basel and Manchester City meet for the first time when they do battle at St. Jakob Park on Tuesday. The hosts have already beaten one of the Manchester giants this season, but have a torrid record against a Pep Guardiola side. In 2008, Guardiola’s Barcelona smashed Basel 5-0 at home – their worst defeat in front of their own crowd in the competition.

Manchester City still have a shot at the quadruple, and with all due respect to Basel, the Citizens should roll them over. Kevin De Bruyne has been one of the best players in Europe this season and it’s no surprise that City are favourites to lift their first ever Champions League trophy. Back Man City to Score First and Win at 5/10!

Wednesday 14 February

FC Porto 13/2
Draw 38/10
Liverpool 7/20
FC Porto and Liverpool will meet for the fifth time when these sides go head-to-head on Wednesday. Porto have never beaten the Reds, with the Merseyside-based club winning twice. Porto finished runner-up in Group G, and the last time they faced English opposition, they beat Leicester City 5-0.

Liverpool will have a point to prove, especially with so many fans and pundits doubting their capabilities without Philippe Coutinho. They still have a fearsome frontline in Roberto Firmino and African duo, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. The Reds have strengthened defensively, with Virgil Van Dijk hoping to make his Champions League debut as well. I like the look of the draw at 47/20, but I think Both Teams to Score is a much safer bet at 6/10.

Real Madrid 13/10
Draw 26/10
Paris Saint-Germain 7/4
The action on Valentine’s Day concludes with a tie between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Since the Last 16 draw took place, this is the fixture we all had our eyes on. PSG smashed the group stage record, scoring 25 goals in a campaign, while they travel to face the tournament’s top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has nine goals to his name. So defences of both sides should be up for the challenge here.

Despite their sloppy performances domestically, Real Madrid have been brilliant in the Champions League, where they are looking to claim a third successive title. They’re unbeaten in 17 home matches in the tournament, with 14 wins and three draws. As much as I believe Neymar and co will be a threat, it will be hard for me to back against Los Blancos – especially in this competition. Back Real Madrid to Win & Both Teams to Score at 9/4!

QUAD @ 14/1
Juventus Win/Draw & Under 2.5 Goals 19/20
Man City Score First & Win 5/10
Porto vs Liverpool BTTS 6/10
Real Madrid Win & BTTS 9/4

Jesse Nagel

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