Monday, March 05, 2007

The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals takes place in Athens this Friday, where teams will hope to be returning for the final on May 23rd. With the difference of no more than a goal in all eight ties, it is still difficult to predict with any certainty which names will be in the hat, though teams with away goals are at a distinct advantage. Bettors can certainly put themselves in a strong position by taking advantage of 60% better odds at PinnacleSports , now offering three ways on the Champions League.

Gunners Cannot Afford Another Slow Start at Emirates
A lack lustre performance by Arsenal in Holland ended in a 1-0 defeat. That disappointment was compounded by two further domestic cup defeats, the acrimonious 2-1 loss to Chelsea in Cardiff and the exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Blackburn. With the Premiership title beyond them, the Champions League now represents the Gunners' last chance of silverware this season. The Londoners are defending a 13 game unbeaten home run in Europe and have not lost at the Emirates Stadium this season. The latter statistic however, hides the fact that they have come from behind to avoid defeat on 11 occasions. Given the away goals rule and the one goal deficit, a similar scenario would give them a mountain to climb on Wednesday.

PSV will be wary of Premiership opposition having lost 2-0 at Anfield in the Group stages. Coach Ronald Koeman will also have to block out the memory of defeat at the same stage in last season's competition, when the Farmers were emphatically beaten 4-0 in the second leg against Lyon. This will be the sixth meeting of the clubs in the past five seasons, with the Gunners holding a slight upper hand with two victories, but the 1-0 victory Arsenal achieved against their Dutch opponents the last time they met in London would only be good enough to earn extra time. PinnacleSports rate Arsenal 1.855 (-1) and PSV 2.10 (+1).

Divided Catalans Facing Huge Task at Fortress Anfield
Barcelona went into their home leg against Liverpool as favourites to be the first team since AC Milan in 1990 to successfully defend the European Cup, but the Reds upset the odds by grabbing an unlikely victory at the Nou Camp and the Catalans are now odds-on to crash out. Things got worse for Barca on the weekend as they were knocked off the top of La Liga courtesy of defeat at Sevilla, in a game they ended with only nine men. These defeats hint at cracks in a Barcelona side rumoured to be struggling with internal conflict. The dressing room is reportedly split by a rift between Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho, which coach Frank Rijkaard is struggling to mend. The media have also been questioning the physical condition of the Brazilian playmaker, who missed a penalty against Sevilla to take a 2-0 lead.

Despite facing only a one goal deficit, Barcelona have it all to do playing at one of the most fortified venues in European football, needing to score at least two goals (on the away goals rule). Rijkaard will however, be aware that Liverpool were beaten at Anfield 2-0 by Benfica at the same stage last year, ending their defence of the competition. If the Spanish champions can pull together they are certainly capable of clawing back the deficit. PinnacleSports price them favourites 1.826 (0/scratch) with Liverpool 2.13 (0/scratch).

Chelsea & United Fancied to Progress - Celtic Need Brave Hearts in San Siro
Chelsea and Manchester United appear on paper to have straight forward assignments. United bring a 1-0 lead to old Trafford having lost just once in their last 27 home Champions League games, against a Lille side that have proved weak on their travels. The only concerns for Fergie are the injury to Wayne Rooney and fear that the bad blood from the first leg win in France, carries over to Old Trafford and breaks his side's concentration. PinnacleSports give United a split ball Asian Handicap 2.03 (-1 & -1.5), with Lille 1.926 (+1 & +1.5).

Chelsea have the cushion of the away goal earned from the 1-1 draw in Porto. The 2004 winners would need to pull off a real shock and join Barcelona as the only other side to have won at Stamford Bridge in three seasons. price Chelsea 1.813 (-1) and Porto 2.14 (+1).

Hoops fans will be acutely aware that Celtic are still seeking their first Champions League success on the continent - with one draw and 11 defeats from 12 attempts. This is the Bhoys first experience of the knock-out stage, but these sides met three years ago in the group stage when ominously for Celtic they lost 3-1 in Italy. AC were unconvincing during the Group stages and first half of the Serie A season, and though they have climbed the Italian first division since the Winter break, helped by the signing of Ronaldo from Real Madrid, the Brazilian is ineligible for the Champions League, leaving them struggling for a goal threat. Nevertheless PinnacleSports price Milan as favourites 2.09 (-1 & -1.5) with Celtic 1.862 (+1 & +1.5).


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Location: Serbia

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to Google Blogz Web Counter
Web Counter

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]