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05th Mar 2019

Odds Against: The JOE Weekly Group Bet – Matchday 11


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Another week, another opportunity

There has been an absolute deluge of matches in recent weeks and this matchday we move our sights towards the Champions League, which returns after a two-week absence.

We’re treated to some tight ties this week, as well as some which look to be over already, and as such we’ve put a lot of thought into our choices for this week’s Weekly Group Bet using the Sky Bet Group Bet feature.

Here are our choices for the first set of Champions League round of 16 second leg ties.

Dark Horse – Reuben: FC Porto to beat AS Roma

The first leg in this tie finished 2-1 to AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, with young gun Nicolo Zaniolo scoring two goals in six second half minutes before Adrian Lopez secured a late and crucial away goal for Porto.

Roma will likely be favourites among fans of European football, but I believe that Lopez’ goal could end up seeing Porto through to the next round. Prior to that game in Rome, Porto had been unbeaten in this season’s Champions League and had won five consecutive group games after their matchday one draw with Schalke.

The Portuguese giants are in mixed form currently, but remain in the hunt for the Portuguese league title, sitting just two points behind rivals Benfica in the table after losing to them over the weekend.

Roma however have been in pretty bad form all season. They’ve won 12 Serie A games this year, but have drawn or lost 14 (8 draws and 6 defeats) and are in a battle to secure Champions League qualification with Inter Milan, Torino and Atalanta.

Porto have won each of their home games in the Champions League this season, and with the reward of a quarter-final berth a genuine possibility, I expect them to have just too much for Roma this week.

Fan Boy – Wayne: Over 2.5 goals in Paris Saint-Germain vs Manchester United

Let me state this now: I do not believe that Manchester United will progress against Paris Saint-Germain. They require two unanswered goals to draw level in the tie, and at least three goals to go through outright, and it’s my belief that PSG are simply too good to allow Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to score that many goals without getting a few themselves.

In the first leg at Old Trafford the Ligue 1 side could have scored four, while United were unusually muted considering the attacking approach which has typified the ethos which has returned to the club since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho on an interim basis.

It’s because of this, and because of the relative freedom that comes with already being two away goals down from the first leg, that I expect Manchester United to go for broke in Paris on Wednesday. They have nothing to lose and I expect their play to reflect that.

Do United have enough quality in attack to trouble PSG? Yes, 100 percent. Do they have enough quality across their midfield and defence to prevent PSG from scoring? Nope. This is why I think there will be a lot of goals in this one.

Captain Obvious – Matt: Real Madrid to beat Ajax

Real Madrid were lucky to emerge from their first leg at the Johan Cruyff Arena with a lead, never mind two away goals. They were outplayed for large portions by a young, hungry and technically gifted Ajax team, but in the end it was some questionable officiating and Madrid’s street wise nature that saw them return to Madrid as massive favourites to progress to the next round.

Now, Madrid aren’t exactly flying high at the moment – they have lost three out of their last four games – but much of that is down to the fact they have faced rivals Barcelona in their most recent two matches.

They have also experienced some shock results in Europe this season in the form of their two embarrassing defeats to CSKA Moscow, but it remains very difficult for me to imagine them relinquishing a lead with two away goals in a home Champions League tie.

I don’t think it will be pretty, but I do think Madrid will beat Ajax to make it through to the quarter-finals.

The Stat Man – Si: BTTS in Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham Hotspur

Neither of these two teams are in good form right now. Tottenham were one missed penalty away from losing their third consecutive league against Arsenal on Saturday, while Dortmund have won just one league game out of five since the beginning of February to hand their rivals Bayern Munich momentum in the title race.

Having lost 3-0 away to Spurs at Wembley, Lucien Favre’s side will be aware that they need a miracle to progress to the next round of this competition, and Mauricio Pochettino’s team will likely just be happy to make it through, given their current form.

Much like the aforementioned Manchester United, I expect Dortmund to go for broke against Spurs, which will likely leave gaps which the away side will look to exploit. Due to this I expect that we could see a number of goals.

Think we know nothing and want to pit your wits against the Football JOE group? Click here to add our selections to your betslip. You can then add your own selection(s), remove our selections (why would you do that?!), and choose your own stake.