Champions League and Europa League Quarterfinals 2nd Leg Previews

This weekend sees the second leg of the eight Champions and Europe League quarterfinals, the first legs of which took place last week and which we were pretty good at tipping the correct outcome of for you lucky punters!

Six English teams are in action and it is possible for five to make it through to the semifinals, which would be an incredible achievement. However, passage into the next round looks easier for some teams much more so than others.

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Let’s begin this week with our previews and tips for the four Champions League quarterfinal second legs taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday night’s before we then look ahead to Thursday evening’s quarterfinal second legs in the Europa League. The scores from the first leg are shown in brackets for each game.

Champions League Quarterfinals 2nd Legs (8pm Kick Off)

Tuesday 16th April

Barcelona (1) v (0) Manchester United

Barcelona weren’t at their very best at Old Trafford but despite this, Luke Shaw’s own goal, a deflected from a Luis Suarez header, was enough to give the Catalan giants the win. On home soil, Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 30 Champions League games and the task facing United could not be more bleak, especially with Shaw, who kept Messi quiet for long periods of the game, out through suspension.

United do have a hope though as they faced a PSG side with a similar home record in the last round and came through that but this Barcelona side is much more savvy than PSG and more experienced and on home soil, on that large Nou Camp pitch, I am expecting them to earn a victory on the night and to progress comfortably into the next phase.

Tip – Barcelona to win – 4/11.

Juventus (1) v (1) Ajax Amsterdam

After a competitive first leg in Amsterdam, Juventus will probably be the happier of the two sides heading into the second leg in Turin. The Italians have a superb record on home soil in general, though they were well beaten at home by Real Madrid last season, but their tormentor in chief that night, Cristiano Ronaldo, is now wearing the Juventus shirt.

Ajax have a young and talented squad and it is going to be interesting to see how they approach this game. After bearing Real in Madrid in the last round, they won’t fear this challenge but I think Juventus extra experience plus their formidable home record makes them a much tougher prospect than an out of sorts Real Madrid. Ajax will push them close and may even score a goal, but I am backing Juventus to land the win here.

Tip – Juventus to win – 8/11.

Wednesday 17th April

FC Porto (0) v (2) Liverpool

FC Porto’s face an uphill task against the team that beat them 5-0 in their home stadium in this competition last season after Liverpool came away from the first leg at Anfield with a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Keita and Firmino. Porto will rue the missed chances at Anfield as this game now looks like being a real struggle for the Portuguese side.

Liverpool come into it on the back of a fantastic win over Chelsea at the weekend that lifted them back to the top of the Premier League table and although their away form in the Champions League Group Stage wasn’t great, the Reds did beat Bayern in Munich in the last round so should be confident of getting the job done here and that is precisely what I am expecting them to do.

Tip – Liverpool to win – 11/10

Manchester City (0) v (1) Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham emerged with the win in the first leg between these teams and deservedly so after an excellent display against City in London. City fans will rue Sergio Aguero’s penalty miss early in the game which could have given this match a very different complexion, but as it is City now need to win 2-0 or better in order to go through.

Of course, a team of City’s calibre can easily achieve that, but the problem will come if Tottenham can manage to score an away goal. I feel that Spurs are capable of doing precisely that and if they do, that leaves City needing to score three. That looks like a big task against a Spurs side that have been in better form of late after their blip of a few weeks back. City will win, but whether that will be enough on the night to take them through, I am not so sure.

Tip – Man City to win – 3/10

Europa League Quarterfinals 2nd Legs (8.05pm Kick Off)

Thursday 18th April

Chelsea (1) v (0) Slavia Prague

The game between these two teams in the Czech Republic was a real battle and Slavia will feel a little hard done to that they don’t go into this second leg at least level. They missed two great chances to take the lead in the game and then Marcos Alonso’s late header was enough to give Chelsea a narrow but decisive lead to take into the second leg.

That I think makes this game so much easier for Chelsea than it could have been. The fact they have an away goal and now a home leg, where they have been so strong this season particularly in European competition, makes this a game where I cannot see any other result other than a Chelsea victory and a comfortable passage for the Londoners into the semifinals of the competition, where either Eintracht Frankfurt or Benfica will lie in wait.

Tip – Chelsea to win – 1/3

Eintracht Frankfurt (2) v (4) Benfica

The first leg of this tie was lit up by a superb hattrick from Benfica youngster Joao Felix, the man who is going to be the most wanted player around European football this summer. His trio of goals was the foundation for a superb 4-2 win for Benfica in the Stadium of Light against an Eintracht Frankfurt side who until that point had not been beaten in this competition all season long.

However, I think in Germany, Frankfurt will be a different prospect and I am expecting a reaction from them to that first leg. They were hampeted by the first half sending off of full back Dicko in that game, so I think with 11 men for 90 minutes, they could well cause Benfica a few problems. Can they get the 2-0 or better result they need to progess, I am not so sure, but I am confident that they can and will win the game on the night.

Tip – Frankfurt to win – 3/4

Napoli (0) v (2) Arsenal

Arsenal will be delighted to take a two-goal lead into this second leg as they face a Napoli side who missed a couple of key chances in that game at the Emirates last Thursday night and those misses could well come back to haunt Carlo Ancelotti’s side as they seek to overturn this deficit at the Sao Paulo.

Napoli have a great record at home and I think their ability to win this game is not in question. However, I feel Arsenal have enough pace, skill and inventiveness on the counter attack to hit Napoli on the break and if they can score one goal, that leaves Napoli needing four and I cannot see the Italians being able to do that here. On the night, I am expecting Napoli to win the game, but I can only see Arsenal progressing from the tie.

Tip – Napoli to win – 4/5

Valencia (3) v (1) Villarreal

Two late goals handed Valencia a 3-1 victory in the first leg between these two local rivals in La Liga and I think those goals also ended this tie as a contest as there is no way I can see Villarreal, particularly with their away form being what it is, getting a better result than that away against a Valencia side that have been one of the toughest teams to beat across Europe for the whole of the season.

I don’t see this being a game where Valencia totally dominate and put four or five past their opponents, Valencia are not a team like that but I feel they will just hold onto possession and then create chances patiently and take them. I expect them to win the game by a 2-0, 2-1 or similar scoreline which will ensure they progress with the minimum of fuss.

Tip – Valencia to win – 8/11

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