We are now reaching the crucial stages of the two big European competitions this season as both the Champions League and Europa League quarterfinals will see the first legs played this week. Eight matches in total, four in each competition, pits the finest talent in European football against each other for a place in the semifinals which will take place at the end of April/beginning of May.

In this article, we are going to take a look at each of the games in both competitions, giving you our tips for each and looking at how we see each game going and whether there will be much to play for in the second leg which takes place in just a week’s time.

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Let’s now preview the big games coming up in the Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday evening before turning our attention to Thursday night’s matches in the Europa League. All kick offs in all games this week in both competitions are 8pm BST.

Champions League Quarterfinals 1st Leg

Tuesday 9th April

Liverpool v FC Porto

This match is a re-run of last year’s Round of 16 tie which saw Liverpool earn a thumping 5-0 win over their opponents in Portugal in the first leg, making the second leg at Anfield something of a formality, which then ended in a dour 0-0 draw.  I don’t expect things to be quite so easy for Liverpool this time around though as both sides are in good form at the moment, having won all of their last five games.

Liverpool’s Champions League record isn’t great away from home with just one win (over Bayern Munich in the last round) on their record this season. They’ll want a big performance here to ensure that they take a healthy lead with them into the second leg and in truth, I think that is what they may well get.

FC Porto have been dogged and determined but they haven’t really faced a really elite side in Europe this season and they came unstuck last year against a rampant Liverpool at home. The Reds may not be quite that attacking force now, but they are much stronger defensively and are a better all round side and as such, I think Porto could face a tricky task to get back into it in the second leg.

  • Tip 1 – Liverpool to win – 3/10
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Liverpool 3-0 FC Porto (13/2)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Sadio Mane (Liverpool – 5/4)

Tottenham v Manchester City

This all-English quarterfinal sees in form Manchester City making their first ever visit to Tottenham’s brand new stadium. City have already beaten Spurs this season, a 1-0 win at Wembley  and they are the side very much in form, whereas Spurs results in recent weeks have seen them fall well off the pace in the Premier League.

However, in the Champions League Manchester City have had a few below par performances at times, especially on the road, while Tottenham have excelled, no more so than with their stunning point in the Nou Camp against Barcelona and then their 4-0 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16.

As such, while the bookies are predicting an easy win for City over the two legs, I still feel Spurs will be in this come the return trip to Manchester next week and as such, I am backing the draw here in what should be a cracking clash.

  • Tip 1 – Tottenham v Man City – Draw – 3/1
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – 1-1 (13/2)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Harry Kane (Tottenham – 5/4)

Wednesday 10th April

Ajax Amsterdam v Juventus

Ajax produced one of the performances of the season to thump holders Real Madrid 4-1 in Spain, a result which sent shockwaves through the world of football and eliminated the winners of this trophy for the past three years. That result alone will be enough to ensure Juventus give this young, fresh Ajax team their full attention.

Juventus came through a tough Round of 16 clash with a 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid on aggregate, a Cristiano Ronaldo hattrick in the second leg in Turin turning over Atletico’s 2-0 lead from the first leg and he will be the player Ajax are most wary of.

While Real had some issues defensively, I feel Juventus don’t in that department and I think that will be crucial here as I am backing the Italians to sneak a narrow win in the first leg to set up a more comfortable second leg in Turin next week.

  • Tip 1 – Juventus To Win – 6/5
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Ajax 1-2 Juventus (8/1)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus – 10/11)

Manchester United v Barcelona

After a stunning comeback to beat Paris St Germain 3-1 in Paris, to go through on away goals, Manchester United have since struggled to find that form, losing three of their next four games, whereas Barcelona have cemented their place at the top of La Liga with a solid run of form and a vital 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid at the weekend.

United have issues with Barcelona after the Catalan giants inflicted two final’s defeats on Sir Alex Ferguson’s team in the past but in truth, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team have done superbly well to reach this far and I think they may well struggle in this one.

With that much vaunted attack, Barcelona can score goals against any opponent and I fancy this game to be a high scoring affair and for Barcelona to take a narrow lead with them back to Spain for the second leg.

  • Tip 1 – Barcelona To Win – 21/20
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Manchester United 2-3 Barcelona (20/1)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Luis Suarez (Barcelona -5/4)

Europa League Quarterfinals 1st Leg

Thursday 11th April

Arsenal v Napoli

This promises to be a tough game and is certainly one of the more attractive Europa League ties on Thursday night. The Gunners come into this game on the back of a rare defeat to Everton at the weekend which will not have been the ideal preparation for the game. Napoli are solid defensively but do look susceptible away from home in Europe and because of that, I am backing the Gunners to take a narrow lead into the second leg of this game.

  • Tip 1 – Arsenal To Win – 5/4
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Arsenal 2-1 Napoli (8/1)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal – 11/4)

Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt

This game is the one I feel is the most even of all the contests in the Europa League this week and in truth I can make a case for any of the three possible outcomes. Luka Jovic could return to haunt his parent club here, but I think Benfica are solid enough defensively to keep the German side out and perhaps grab a single goal which I think will set them up for a tough second leg in Germany in a week’s time.

  • Tip 1 – Benfica To Win – 21/20
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Benfica 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt (15/2)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Haris Seferovic (Benfica – 11/10)

Slavia Prague v Chelsea

I am very surprised at how short Chelsea are to win this game with the bookmakers and I think many have overlooked just how good Slavia Prague have been in this tournament in the past two years. Any teams that beats five-time winners Sevilla 6-5 on aggregate, after extra time is a decent team and I think Chelsea are going to find that out here. Chelsea may be odds on to win, but I fancy this one to be a draw to set up a tasty second leg at Stamford Bridge.

  • Tip 1 – Slavia Prague v Chelsea – Draw – 13/5
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Slavia Prague 2-2 Chelsea (14/1)
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – Eden Hazard (Chelsea – 11/10)

Villarreal v Valencia

These two teams are local rivals, just 60km apart and they have played twice in La Liga this season, drawing 0-0 in Villarreal and then Valencia won 3-0 in their home game. Both teams are somewhat draw specialists and in truth, I can see this game finishing in a draw given the outlook both teams will likely adopt. I think 0-0 is the most likely outcome here and I think that will have Valencia a slight advantage for the second leg.

  • Tip 1 – Villarreal v Valencia – Draw – 11/5
  • Tip 2 – Correct Score – Villarreal 0-0 Valencia – 15/2
  • Tip 3 – Anytime Goalscorer – No Goalscorer – 15/2