Liverpool FC: Christmas Crack Me Up Challenge
Manchester United entertain Sevilla for a place in the last eight of the Champions League on Tuesday as they look to build on their 2-1 win over Liverpool in the Premier League at the weekend.
Chelsea also travel to Camp Nou, where they need a win or a high-scoring draw to qualify against a Barcelona side who haven’t lose at home in the competition since 2013.
United have only lost one of their last nine home Champions League games (Real Madrid back in 2013) against Spanish opposition and I feel they will do enough to make it through to the quarterfinals although their lack of an away goal is a concern.
I was surprised to hear that United have only scored seven times in their last 15 UCL games against La Liga sides although it should be noted that Sevilla have never won a UCL game in England, although they did get a fortunate 2-2 draw at Anfield earlier in the campaign.
Only Barcelona (2) have conceded fewer goals than United (3) in the competition so far this season and I do not expect to see many goals at Old Trafford.
Under 2.5 goals at 9/10
This is a very difficult tie to predict as you can see from the fact that in the history of the Champions League knockout stages 52% of teams who lost the away leg 2-1 progressed into the next round.
Roma have kept a clean sheet in their last three Champions League home games and I just feel a fourth will see the Italians make it through to the last eight for the first time since 2008.
Roma to qualify at 9/10
The hosts have lost all three Champions League ties against Bayern by an aggregate score of 9-0 after their 5-0 defeat in the first leg and the Bundesliga outfit already have more than one foot in the last quarterfinals.
Manchester City and Liverpool took big leads into their respective home legs last midweek and failed to win but still coasted into the quarterfinals, but I think Bayern – who had 35 shots in the first leg – will continue their winning run in the competition, which currently stands at five.
Bayern to win to nil at 12/5
Lionel Messi’s late equaliser at Stamford Bridge turned this tie on its head although Chelsea have drawn each of their last four visits to the Camp Nou.
Chelsea came from behind to win against Atletico in Madrid earlier in the season but Barcelona have won 23 Champions League ties against English opposition and I think, unfortunately, they will add to that tally at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona halftime/fulltime at 6/4
My midweek treble:
Bayern, Roma and Barcelona at 3/1