It has been a busy week on the football front so far this week with the Champions League and plenty of domestic action yesterday and the action continues tonight with the final set of Champions League first round knockout stage matches.
Manchester City are straight back in to action after their 5-1 thrashing by Chelsea in the FA Cup on Sunday, but Pelligrini did rest quite a few first choice players for that match with tonight obviously in mind.
Dynamo’s league season has finished now and while they’ve been keeping busy playing friendlies they’ve not played a competitive match since beating Maccabi Tel Aviv in this competition last December. On a positive note they will have the majority of their first team squad fresh and ready while City will be missing the influential Kevin de Bruyne who has been one of their best players this season.
City have not been at their best this season, mainly due to trying to bed in new signings, lengthy injury spells to key players and most recently the announcement that Pelligrini could be replaced by Pep Guardiola at the end of this season. As a result they have slipped further out of the race for the Premier League title, crashed out of the FA Cup at the weekend and their best hope for silverware this season looks to be the League Cup as they’ve already made the final.
Personally this is not a match I’m interested in from a betting perspective and I certainly wouldn’t want to back City on current form. Playing one of the Goals markets e.g. Both Team to Score or Over 2.5 Goals is probably the most likely to bear fruit as both teams aren’t the most solid defensively.
Tonight’s other Champions League fixture is between Erdivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven, who knocked out Manchester United in the group stages and Atletico Madrid, who are currently second in La Liga. They have met once before in the competition back in 2008 when Atletico won both legs at the Group stage, including the away leg 3-0.
This is likely to be a hotly contested tight affair between two in form teams and goals are likely to be at a premium, as for the most part both teams have been defensively solid in their respective home and away games in the competition. PSV won all three of their home group stage matches scoring 6 and conceding only twice, while Atletico finished the Group Stages unbeaten away from home scoring 4 goals and conceding only 3.
Given their form and experience in the competition I expect Atletico not to lose tonight and qualify for the quarter finals over the two legs as there first choice players are used to performing and delivering results at a higher level than the PSV players and also manager Simeone has become such a shrewd operator at this level.