Midweek Football Preview

The Champions League is back!

Champions League Round of 16 Leg 1

Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool

Liverpool’s journey to retain the Champions League continues as they take on Atletico in Madrid for the 1st leg. Since MD 6 Atletico have won 5 games, drawn 2 games, and lost 4 games. Liverpool have since won 14 games and drawn 1 and lost 1, although the draw and loss were when they fielded youth teams in the cup games. Atletico finished 2nd in their group while Liverpool were top in theirs only having lost 1 game. One can expect Atletico to be on the defensive and rely on the counter attack with players like Correa, Carrasco, Vitolo, and Morata causing some threat to the Liverpool defence. Liverpool won’t be worried and a point or more would be a decent return although I do expect them to win this game given their form this season. 

Borussia Dortmund vs. Paris Saint Germain

A highly entertaining game is expected as high flying team Dortmund take on PSG with both teams capable of scoring several goals while also being leaky in defence at times. Dortmund have won 6, drawn 2, and lost 4 of their games since MD 6 while PSG have won 14, and drawn 2. Dortmund have scored 36 goals and conceded 19 in those 12 games while PSG have scored 60 goals and conceded 15 in 16 games. One team has clearly scored more and conceded less although they do play in a slightly inferior league compared to the Bundesliga. Dortmund have made a sleuth of signings in the winter transfer window with Haaland beingt he shining star and continued his scoring run from Salzburg, while players like Sancho, Reus, Gotze, Hazard etc all continue to be a danger. PSG’s threats are already known with Mbappe, Neymar, Icardi, Cavani, Di Maria all being players that PSG can call upon going forward while others like Sarabia have also impressed. This game is too close to call although over two legs with the money spent PSG should go through but I feel Dortmund could cause an upset. 

Atalanta vs. Valencia

Two evenly matched teams go head to head as Atalanta are 4th in Serie A while Valencia are 7th in La Liga. Atalanta have won 6, drawn 2, and lost 3 of their games since MD 6 while have won 5, drawn 3, and lost 4. Similar form for both teams but one clearly in a better position as most of those Valencia wins came in cup games. Atalanta have been dark horses for some time and will feel they can at least reach the quarter finals of the competition given their high scoring form. The Italians are known to get some big wins and Valencia will have to stay strong defensively if they want to stop Atalanta. Valencia have enjoyed a good group stage having topped their group but have since dropped off in form. Ilicic, and Zapata can cause threat by Atalanta while Gosens is also a good left back, Valencia can call upon Guedes, Parejo, Kondogbia, Gomez etc to provide the threat going forward while Gaya has a deft left foot. Evenly matched teams but I give Atalanta a slight edge. 

Tottenham vs. RB Leipzig

Tottenham sit 5th in the Premier League and finished 2nd in their group as they take on Leipzig who topped their group and sit 2nd in the Bundesliga. Tottenham of course have a new manager in Mourinho since MD 6 with whom they  have won 7, drawn 4, and lost 3 games. Leipzig had a blistering 1st half of the season but have dropped off since MD 6, they have won 4, drawn 3, and lost 2. Tottenham have played more games but the two teams are in similar form with one manager extremely experienced in Mourinho while Nagelsmann is still a youthful coach. Tottenham are leaky as well but are beginning to grind out wins in Mourinho fashion having won their last 3 games. Leipzig seem to be learning how to deal with the pressure but are still a massive threat. Tottenham can call upon Son, Alli, Moura, Bergwijn, Lo Celso etc as they look to reach the final once again while Leipzig have Werner, Schick, Olmo, and defenders like Upamecano to rely upon. The teams are defensive and rely on the counter and so this game should be tight with not to many goals but if Leipzig are ruthless with their chances they could win. 

Premier League MW 26

Man City vs. West Ham

The storm called off the game last weekend as City and West Ham finally get the chance to play this week. City have suffered another blow as they were banned by Uefa for two seasons from European competitions and so it will be interesting to see how they react going forward knowing they might not play in Europe for some time. City though should win the game while West Ham and Moyes could take advantage of some Turbulence off the field for Pep. 

Europa League Round of 32 Leg 1

Champions League drop outs Club Brugge take on Manchester United, fellow drop outs Inter travel to Ludogorets, Sevilla travel to Cluj, Frankfurt take on Salzburg, Benfica travel to Shakhtar, Ajax travel to Getafe, Leverkusen entertain Porto, Arsenal travel to Olympiacos, Wolves take on Espanyol and Roma entertain Gent. Some of the interesting 16 fixtures in the Europa League as the teams look to gain a trophy and a place in the Champions League for next season. Holders Chelsea are of course in the Champions League this season and so there will be a new winner this season. 




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