THE ULTRA Tues: Champions League Preview

THE ULTRA Tues: Champions League Quarter Finals

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER FINALS: The Ultra previews Tuesday’s games between BENFICA v LIVERPOOL and MANCHESTER CITY V ATLETICO MADRID both with a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.


BENFICA V LIVERPOOL

8pm We’re down to the final eight in the Champions League now, and we have superb week ahead on BETDAQ Betting Exchange. It’s a massive week for the Premier League clubs with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in action, particularly tonight with Liverpool and Manchester City both playing. I know I’ve said this before but it’s so frustrating that we have two games kicking off at the same time here. I don’t know why they can’t just move one to 5-45pm and let us enjoy both, but I’ve been saying that for years now. We start the Quarter-Finals with Benfica hosting Liverpool, and there’s no doubt that Liverpool fans would have been delighted with the draw. They have been given the easiest Quarter-Finals possible, and although it looks like they’ll have to meet Bayern Munich in the Semi-Final you have to beat the best to win the Champions League. The market is expecting an easy passage for Liverpool here though – they are trading sub 1.1 to qualify and then they are as short as 1.41 to win away from home. That’s the shortest price by a distance of any side in the Champions League, and Bayern Munich got a reasonably easy draw too.

Although everyone will expect a Liverpool win here, let’s not fully write off Benfica. They may have “surprised” a few football fans when they knocked Ajax out in the Last 16 but as I said in my preview of that game, they were pretty good in the Group stage against Barcelona. I felt they would be more confident at home but you have to give them huge credit for their performance away from home in the second leg to win 1-0. They kept Ajax down to an xG of just 0.91 too. You have to feel that if they are to have any chance of getting through that they simply must win this leg, and even that is a massive ask. It was a pretty even game here with Ajax, and they did manage to beat Barcelona 3-0 here but we have to remember that was when Barcelona were at their worst this season. Perhaps a reflect of their true level is the 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich here, and you’d have to class Liverpool in the same breath as Bayern. While I feel Liverpool will get the job done here and outclass Benfica, I can see them making life difficult for Klopp’s men. Benfica should be quite negative here and under 3.5 goals looks a nice value play at 1.6 – I can see Liverpool grinding out 1-0 or 2-0 win in a pretty dull game. They should win, but I think they’ll have to work harder than 1.41 suggests.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 1.6 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://bit.ly/BDQBenLiv

MATCH STATS

● There have been 10 previous European matches between Benfica and Liverpool; the Portuguese club have only faced Bayern Munich (12) and Manchester United (11) more times in Europe, while the English side have only faced Chelsea (11) more often in European competition.
● Liverpool have lost on each of their last three away trips to face Benfica in European competition, with the most recent of those coming in the UEFA Europa League in 2009-10 (1-2), under Rafa Benítez.
● Benfica have only won one of their last six home games against English sides in European competition (D3 L2), with that lone victory coming against Newcastle in the UEFA Europa League in April 2013. In the UEFA Champions League, they’re winless in their last four home games against English sides (D1 L3), since beating Liverpool in February 2006.
● Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight UEFA Champions League matches versus Portuguese opponents (W6 D2), winning each of their last four. All eight of those matches have been against FC Porto, however.
● Benfica have averaged 40% possession in the UEFA Champions League this season; the fourth-lowest in the competition overall this term, and the lowest of the eight remaining sides. Indeed, only Real Madrid (23) have recorded more direct attacks than Benfica (20) among this season’s quarter-finalists.
● Liverpool are looking to win five consecutive away games in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League for only the second time in their history, having last done so between 1983 and 1984 under Joe Fagan.
● In the last 11 games between Portuguese and English teams in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League (since March 2010), the Portuguese sides have only scored three goals in total between them (W1 D2 L8). The English sides, meanwhile, have netted 26 goals across these games, while progressing on every occasion.
● Mohamed Salah has scored eight goals for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League this term, and could become the first player to score 10+ goals in multiple seasons for the club in the competition. The only other player to reach double figures for goals in a European Cup/UEFA Champions League campaign on more than one occasion while playing for an English club is Ruud van Nistelrooy (for Manchester United in 2001-02 and 2002-03).
● Darwin Núñez is Benfica’s top scorer in the UEFA Champions League this season, having netted four times so far. He is just one goal shy of equalling Nuno Gomes as the player with the most goals for Benfica in a single UEFA Champions League campaign (five goals in 1998-99).
● Six of Mohamed Salah’s eight goals for Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League this season have been scored away from home. No player has ever scored more than six times away from home for Liverpool in a single season in European competition.


MANCHESTER CITY V ATLETICO MADRID

8pm Next we have Manchester City hosting Atletico Madrid in what should be a fascinating game. Manchester City are coming into this game as massive favourites and of course this is a massive task for Atletico Madrid, but you’d have to say that this fixture comes at a good time for Atletico. They have got back into the top four in La Liga in recent weeks, and they are finally converting their chances. They knocked in four goals at the weekend against Alaves, and although there’s a huge gulf in class between Manchester City and Alaves – it is nice to see Atletico scoring goals and winning games again. They have put together a decent winning run now and they will give City a difficult game here. The 1.4 definitely feels a little short on City here, and I can see the game being much closer than those odds suggest. I know Atletico have been battling for a top four spot in La Liga this season, but you only have to look at the xG table to see that they have been unlucky. At times the xG table had them sitting top of the table when they were sitting in fifth, and although Barcelona have shot past them on that table it just shows that Atletico should have been challenging for the title again rather than just a top four spot. In the end, I think City’s class will be the difference here but as I said, I do feel that the 1.4 is simply too short.

Atletico usually try to go into these big games in a cagey fashion and that has worked for them in the past. You can see them being really negative here, especially given the away goal rule is gone this year too. They will almost certainly aim for a 0-0 draw at the start of the game, and I’m sure they wouldn’t be too unhappy with a 1-0 loss either given they have the second leg at home. That problem with those tactics is if you’re going to sit back and give City a lot of the ball, you’re going to have a lot of problems. The negative tactics would probably work against other top sides, but it’s hard to see how Atletico stop City from scoring at some stage. Although I feel the 1.4 is too short, I’m going to sit out from laying it and instead look to the goal markets. I feel we’ll see a low scoring game here, especially with the likely tactics of Atletico, and under 2.5 goals looks good value at 2.14. That allows for a 1-0 or 2-0 City win – I don’t see Atletico scoring here given they’ll sit back so much and City will control the game. It’s very hard to see a very open game here to be honest and I’m surprise unders is trading odds against.

The Ultra Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 2.14 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

You can view all markets here -> https://bit.ly/BDQMciAtl

MATCH STATS

● This will be the first ever meeting between Manchester City and Atlético Madrid in European competition, but the fourth between the respective managers of the two clubs – Pep Guardiola (W2) and Diego Simeone (W1).
● Atlético Madrid won 1-0 against Manchester United in March, eliminating the Red Devils from this season’s UEFA Champions League. Should they win this game, it will be the first time they have won on consecutive away trips to face English in European competition.
● Manchester City have won three of their four meetings with Spanish clubs in the UEFA Champions League under Pep Guardiola (L1), with those being the most recent three. Their only meeting with a Spanish side in the knockout stages of the competition under Guardiola came in 2019-20, as they eliminated Real Madrid in the Round of 16 (4-2 on aggregate).
● Atlético Madrid will be the first side to face both Manchester United and Manchester City in the knockout stages of a European competition in a season since Juventus in the 1976-77 UEFA Cup – the Italian side would go on to progress from both of those ties, before winning the competition overall that season.
● Manchester City have only lost one of their last nine UEFA Champions League games beyond the group stage (W7 D1), with that defeat coming against Chelsea in last season’s final. Indeed, since Pep Guardiola’s first season in 2016-17, the Citizens have the highest win percentage of any team in the competition in non-group stage games (64% – 14/22).
● Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid side eliminated Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League (2-2 on aggregate), progressing on away goals. Across the two legs, Atlético averaged just 27% possession and scored their two goals from 18 shots, while Bayern netted the same number of goals from 53 attempts.
● Kevin De Bruyne could make his 50th UEFA Champions League appearance for Manchester City (currently on 49). Since his first season at the club in 2015-16, he has made more assists than any other player for an English club (17) in the competition.
● Antoine Griezmann is Atlético Madrid’s top scorer in the UEFA Champions League, with 25 goals in 55 appearances. The Frenchman has been directly involved in six goals in his last six games in the competition, scoring four times and providing two assists.
● Only Vinícius Júnior (44) has been directly involved in more shots than Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez (42 – 29 shots, 13 chances created) in the UEFA Champions League this season. Indeed, Mahrez has been directly involved in more goals than any other player for Pep Guardiola’s side (7 – six goals, one assist).
● Atlético Madrid’s Jan Oblak has kept 30 clean sheets in 67 appearances in the UEFA Champions League – no goalkeeper has made more since the start of the 2014-15 season; Oblak’s first in the competition. Manchester City, meanwhile, have only failed to score in one of their 28 home games in the UEFA Champions League under Pep Guardiola, averaging 2.8 goals per game at the Etihad Stadium (excluding qualifying phase).


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