Last night Liverpool put one foot in the Champions League semi-finals thanks to a dominant and assured 2-0 win against Porto at Anfield. Midfielder Kieta, who had come in for criticism recently is starting to deliver on his talent with two important goals in consecutive games and forward Firminho is also contributing significantly again and tonight he assisted Kieta’s goal and scored the second.
The other Champions League quarter final was an all Premier League tie between Spurs and Manchester City at Spurs new super stadium and Spurs eventually narrowly came out on top thanks to man of the moment Korean Son’s second half winner but they were let off the hook as Aguero missed a first half penalty which could have changed the whole complexion of the game.
Last nights EFL Championship action produced plenty of drama and excitement and Leeds leapfrogged Sheffield United who play tonight back up to second and in to the automatic promotion places with an impressive 2-0 win against Preston at Deepdale. Promotion chasing fifth place Bristol City won a classic five goal thriller at Ashton Gate against fourth place promotion chasing West Brom.
Sheffield Wednesday kept in touching distance of the play off places thrashing Forest 3-0 at Hillsborough as did Middlesbrough who broke a six match losing run against relegation threatened Bolton at the University stadium winning 2-0 and Swansea proved far too good for Stoke at the Liberty Stadium winning 3-1 and Stoke ended the match with nine men.
The busy week of European and domestic EFL action continues tonight with the UEFA Champions League first-leg quarter finals and EFL Championship action. Starting with the Champions League surprise package of the tournament this season qualifiers Ajax, who knocked out defending champions Real Madrid in emphatic fashion 4-1 at the Bernabeau in the last round, and tonight they face the Italian giants Juventus at the Johan Cruijff Stadium in Amsterdam. The other game is the blockbuster clash between Manchester United and the mighty Barcelona at Old Trafford.
History is not on Ajax’s side as they’ve never beaten Juventus in there four European encounters since 1996 losing the last three all by one goal. It’s going to be another uphill task for Ajax to knock-out Juventus over two legs and there first task is to do their best to avoid defeat tonight or if they’re defeated the goal margin is at least minimal.
From a betting perspective the goals markets seem like the best approach and I suggest backing Over 2.5 Goals and/or if you’re searching for a higher return you can consider backing Tadic To Provide an Assist as he’s in great form at present and/or midfielder Bentancur To Be Carded for Juventus as he’s amounted the most bookings for the club this season.
Manchester United can take heart from the fact Barcelona have never beaten them at Old Trafford in Europe in three meetings since 1994 but they haven’t faced each other since 2008 when United won 1-0 and were in their glory years. I don’t see this being a free flowing, attacking high scoring game as United will no doubt set up to limit Barcelona’s attacking threat after their 2-0 defeat at home by PSG in the last round. #
From a betting perspective I suggest backing and/or trading the draw and if you’re searching for a better return you can consider Shaw for United To Be Shown a Card if he starts the match and/or a Penalty to be Awarded in the match as Shaw has accumulated the most for his club this season and a lot of Barcelona games feature penalties given the skill of their attacking players in the oppositions area.
In the Championship leaders Norwich will try and extend their lead at the top at home to relegation threatened fourth from bottom Reading at Carrow Road and the best Reading can hope for I think is a draw. UPDATE Sheffield United after Leeds game tonight. Relegation threatened Ipswich and Wigan both face tough away ties against teams with strong home form Brentford and Hull respectively and avoiding defeat will be their main priority.
Bottom six Millwall and QPR face off in a London Derby and I think Millwall may just edge this one in a low scoring game. Finally, third from bottom Rotherham face a tough trip to promotion chasing Aston Villa at Villa Park and avoiding defeat will also be there main priority.