The last 16 stage of the Champions League continues this week, with the remaining four first leg matches taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Tuesday 24th February will see Juventus take on Dortmund, while Manchester City entertain Spanish giants Barcelona. One Wednesday February 25th, Arsenal will be hosting French opposition in the form of Monaco, with Bayer Leverkusen taking on last year’s beaten finalists Atletico Madrid.
Juventus vs Borussia Dortmund – Tuesday 24th February
Having been the dominant force in Italian football over recent seasons, Juventus fans will be hoping that this is the year that their club returns to the glories of old in the Champions League. Having won Europe’s elite competition in 1984 and 1996, Juventus have suffered a variety of ups and downs in subsequent seasons, but they now appear ready to stake a serious claim for the Champions League once again.
The Old Lady achieved a record points total when winning Serie A last season, and look a real force to be reckoned with under the guidance of Massimiliano Allegri. Juve qualified in second place in Group A, with a return of ten points from their six games played, and were just three points behind table toppers Atletico Madrid.
Although Borussia Dortmund have a wealth of Champions League experience in recent years, including reaching the final during the 2012/13 campaign, they are struggling badly in the Bundesliga this season. Considered on the the very best managers in the world, Jurgen Klopp has been unable to get his side going domestically in recent months, and Dortmund currently sit in the bottom four of the Bundesliga table.
With home advantage, this looks a great opportunity for Juventus to get a result over a below par Dortmund, and take a lead into the second leg.
Champions League Betting; Back Juventus at 11/10
Arsenal vs Monaco – Wednesday 25th February
Arsene Wenger will no doubt be delighted with the draw his side received at this last sixteen phase of the competition, following some dreadful luck in recent years as far as opponents are concerned.
Having managed the French club for seven years, any matches between the Gunners and Monaco will always have that special added ingredient for Wenger, but this should be Arsenal’s best opportunity of progressing to the quarter final stage for quite some time.
The Gunners were level on points with Group D winner Borussia Dortmund during the opening stage of this season’s Champions League, and their form on the domestic front has also been solid, particularly in recent months. xNx have put Arsenal in at odds of 8/15 to come out of this first leg clash at the Emirates victorious, and it will be a surprise if they are unable to go into the second leg in a healthy position.
Monaco are rated as 11/2 chances to pull off an upset in North London, and while they come into this game as the underdogs, they aren’t complete no-hopers. Leonardo Jardim’s men are particularly strong defensively and have kept a number of clean sheets in Ligue 1 thus far this season.
I’d imagine that this outfit will be difficult to break down, and it may be that Monaco can limit the Gunners to just a single goal. Take the Arsenal to win 1-0 at odds of 9/2.
Champions League Betting; Back Arsenal to win 1-0 at 9/2