Championship Play-Off Final: Michael Owen’s View
The Champions League returns this week with both Tottenham and Man Utd in action. The Red Devils are facing a two goal deficit which might be too big of a task for the record breaking Solskjaer & Co.
It is eight years since Spurs reached their only Champions League quarter-final, but they take a three-goal lead to Germany on Tuesday and no side in the history of the competition – seven have tried and failed – have ever overturned a 3-0 deficit from the 1st leg.
Neither side have been in a rich vein of form since the 1st leg at Wembley. Dortmund had 72% of the possession but lost 2-1 at Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday and they now lead Bayern Munich by just goal difference at the top-of-the-table having held a comfortable lead for most of the season.
Spurs have scored in their last 17 Champions League games and a goal in Dortmund will mean the hosts have to score five to qualify for the last eight. I expect the Premier League side to grab that vital goal and be in the open draw for the quarter-finals on Friday week.
Tip: Dortmund to win and both teams to score at 23/10
Real Madrid must do without skipper Sergio Ramos against Ajax in the Bernabeu, but they hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg and can add to an already impressive record they have against the Amsterdam outfit – having won the last seven games between the clubs in all competitions.
It has not been a great week for my old club and all at the Bernabeu will be hurting after failing to score in two home defeats to Barcelona, both Copy del Rey and La Liga, in the last seven days.
Los Blancos were, arguably, fortunate to take a lead back to the Spanish capital after the first leg, but Ajax need to score at least twice to qualify for the last eight and I expect the hosts to get back to winning ways and win an open, entertaining game.
Tip: Real Madrid to win and both teams to score at 13/8
Roma have lost their last seven Champions League knockout ties on the road, but I think they will get the draw they need to make it through to the last eight for a second successive season.
Porto have failed to win any of their last six knockout games in the Champions League and I think the Italians will make it thorough to the quarter-finals although it is unlikely to be without one or two alarms along the way.
Tip: game to finish in a draw at 27/10
No side has ever managed to overturn a two-or-more goal deficit from a home first leg in the history of the Champions League and 34 have tried unsuccessfully. That is the magnitude of the task that faces Manchester United in the French capital on Wednesday.
PSG have scored 35 times in their last 10 home Champions League games although they have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five. Both sides will be without key men but United are decimated by injuries and suspensions with French international Paul Pogba unable to play in Paris following his late red-card at Old Trafford.
United again showed their resilience and resolve to beat Southampton at the weekend but they have a mountain to overcome at the Parc des Princes where I expect to see plenty of opportunities at both ends.
History is against United – but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been breaking records since he walked through the door at Old Trafford. If they were to score first?
Tip: Over 2.5 goals at 8/13