It’s that time now when the Champions League fixtures start to get more serious as we head into the round of 16 fixtures. From now until the final we’ll look at a few select games per week and predict how the games will finish up. This week we’ll be looking at Turkish giants Galatasaray taking on Chelsea and Schalke taking on Real Madrid. These are two interesting matchups here that should throw up some entertaining football.
Odds from Betfair as at 25/2/14
Galatasaray ($4.4) versus Chelsea ($2.02), Draw ($3.5)
This is a pretty tricky trip here for Chelsea as they head to Turkey to take on Galatasaray. Chelsea had a pretty good group stage topping their group with the 4 wins and 2 losses which came against FC Basel who finished 3rd. Their 4 wins were for the most part pretty comfortable where they had clean sheets and knocked in 11 goals. Their opponents had contrasting results in their group stage fixtures as they finished 2nd behind Real Madrid and only 1 point ahead of 3rd placed Juventus. Their record of 2 wins, 1 draw, and 3 losses doesn’t exactly exude a strong performance thus far but there is no doubt this is a tricky side for Chelsea especially away.
Galatasaray don’t have many injury concerns besides Yilmaz who has broken his leg. He hasn’t been as productive as last season where he scored 32 goals in 39 appearances with only the 12 from 28 this year so far but Chelsea won’t be disappointed that he’s missing. Apart from Yilmaz it should be a full strength side that Mancini puts out with Drogba and Sneijder sure to cause some headaches. For Chelsea the likes of Oscar, Matic, Salah, Luiz, and Mikel could miss either due to being cup tied already or with injury doubts. Regardless though they’ll still have a very strong line-up given their squad depth.
With this being an away game I can see Mourinho going into this with a somewhat defensive mindset to not concede much in the same way as their win over Manchester City away 1-0 and their scoreless draw with Chelsea away. As a result I can see this being an under 2.5 game with the added factor that Chelsea only conceded 3 goals in their 6 group games. Their away record in the league has seen less than a goal conceded per game so overall they are pretty tight defensively. They’ll also need to stop a Galatasaray side that has only failed to score at home once this season.
Predicted result: Draw 1-1
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.78
Best Bet Confidence: 75%
Schalke ($7.8) versus Real Madrid ($1.48), Draw ($4.9)
Schalke face a tough test here with the visiting Real Madrid side that has just hit the top of the table in La Liga. Real Madrid’s group stage run was almost faltless with 5 wins and a draw averaging over 3 goals For per game whilst conceding less than a goal per game. Their draw came against Juventus away which is a tough trip for most sides. Their other two away games resulted in a massive 6-1 thumping of Galatasaray and a modest 2-0 win over FC Copenhagen. Their away record has also been excellent this season in La Liga which puts them in good stead here as their only away loss has come at Barcelona. Ronaldo as usual will be the main threat here as he pushes to add to his 9 goal tally thus far.
Schalke managed to get through thanks to their final group stage game with a win over FC Basel to secure second place. Their one area where they are lacking though in the Champions League has been in scoring goals with only the 6 scored whilst they let 6 in in their two group stage games against top opposition in Chelsea. With some heavy defeats also recorded in the league to Bayern Munich (4-0 at home) and Borussia Dortmund (3-1 at home) it’s not looking overly positive for their chances here. It’s in contrast to their recent form in general though as defensively over their last 7 league games they’ve been solid having only let in 2 goals. The class of side though is the key factor though and it’s clear that Real Madrid’s wealth of attacking options can be too much for any side really.
This one is looking like an away win here for me and although there are injury concerns over Bale and Modric, the ability to bring players such as Jese as cover is excellent depth. Real Madrid for me here in a relatively comfortable away win.
Predicted result: Real Madrid 3-0
Best Bet: Real Madrid to win at $1.48 is pretty good value whilst an Over 2.5 goals at $1.55 looks a good bet option as well
Best Bet Confidence: 85%
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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