Manchester United vs Sevilla FC
Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: Danny Makkelie(Holland)
Manchester United look to get the job done today as they host Spanish side Sevilla at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Round of 16 Champions league clash.
Jose Mourinho’s side draw 0-0 at the Sanchez Romon Pizjuan a fortnight ago putting them in pole position for qualification to the quarter finals.
They enter into the game with an outstanding record at home to Spanish opposition as they(United) have lost only one of their past nine games at home to Spanish opposition(W5 D3). However, they have not managed to score more than once against Spanish opposition in any of their last 15 games(Scored a toatal of seven goals).
With 30% of teams that draw 0-0 away from home in the first leg of the Champions league knock out tie ending up eliminated, Sevilla will have all to do against one of the most decorated sides in the competition.
Manchester United may have to do without record signing Paul Pogba as his manager Mourinho claimed that he is not sure if the French international will be fit for tonight’s game. Pogba only returned to training on Monday. However, Anthony Martial is expected to return to the squad after missing the last two games with injury but the Red Devils will still be without defenders Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Phil Jones plus midfielder Ander Herrrera.
For Sevilla, Who have never won a champions league game in England(D1 L3), will be without Jesus Navas and Sebastian Corchia who are both carrying injuries while Porto loanee Miguel Layun is ineligible to play.
Jose Mourinho is a man who knows what to do when it comes to games like these and although most of his victories don’t come comfortably, i see United scrapping through to the next round.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-0 Sevilla.
AS Roma vs Shakhter Donetsk
Stadio Olympico, Rome
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco(Spain)
Roma must overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg in Ukraine if they are to stand a chance of progression to the quarter finals. The Italian giants let a 1-0 lead slip as they conceded two second half goals away to Shakhter.
Their(Roma) defende Gregoire Defrel may be fit after returning to full training following over a month out with Injury but will be without Rick Karsdorp who is still out with a long term injury.
Shakhter are also expected to be without defender Sergiy Kryvtsov who was forced off in the first leg with injury and Ivan Ordets is in line to replace him.
It will not be easy for Roma as their opponents have won four of their five previous meetings in the champions league but the Italians will be boosted by the fact that more tghan half of the teams that lose 2-1 away from home in the first leg of the Champions league knock out stages end up progressing.
Roma come into the game knowing that they have been eliminated from all four Champions league knockout ties in which they have lost the first leg whether home or away.
Shakhter will be aiming to reach the Champions league last eight for the first time since 2011, which they achieved by defeating Roma 6-2 on aggregate. However, if the Romans overturn the first leg deficit and go through, they will have reached the quater finals for only the thierd time in history.
It was that one game that was so hard to call after the draws and it promises to be thrilling to the last minute.
Prediction: Roma 2-2 Shakhter.
Barcelona vs Chelsea
Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Damir Skomina(Slovenia)
Barcelona have been immense this season under Ernesto Valverde and look to reach the last eight once again as they lead the Spanish league with a healthy eight points and already through to the finals of the Copa Del Ray.
They drew 1-1 against Chelsea in the first leg and will be highly confident of going through at the expense of a side that has always caused them problems in the past. Barcelona have not beaten Chelsea in their last seven meetings with six ending in draws and Chelsea winning the other.
Ernesto Valverde will have a selection headache as he is without Philippe Coutinho who is cap tied and perhaps Andres Iniesta who is carrying a groin injury. The Barca captain trained on Monday but is a major doubt along with Nelson Semedo, Denis Suarez and Sergi Samper.
For Chelsea, they will be with out the trio of Tiemoue Bakayoko, David Luiz and Ross Barkley as they all continue their recovery from injury. Antonio Conte will have to choose between Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata on who should lead the line at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona were staring down the barrel of a much more difficult job than the one they have now back in February as they faced off with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. They went into the final 15 minutes 1-0 down, facing the prospect of having to play the second leg a goal down and without an away goal to their name. However, that man Lionel Messi popped up again with an equaliser, and now the ball is firmly in Barcelona’s court. Barcelona are now unbeaten in their last 14 competitive games since a shock loss to Catalan rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey. They bounced back from that first leg loss to progress in that competition, and they have won nine of their 14 games since that loss.
Chelsea, meanwhile, haven’t had such a fruitful year. They beat Crystal Palace on Saturday but have won just four of their 16 competitive games in 2018. Five of these have ended in defeat too, including dreadful performances against Bournemouth and Watford. Away from home it’s even worse for The Blues. They have lost four games in a row on the road and won just two of their last 11 in all competitions. They also lost 3-0 at Roma earlier on in the Champions League, so the signs look pretty ominous for them.
One of Barcelona’s key tactics this season has been to come out of the blocks fast, trying to secure a lead before finishing the game off later on. This has, quite unsurprisingly, often worked, and 14 of their 21 home games have seen them go into the break ahead.
It’s hard to look beyond Lionel Messi too. The Barcelona talisman is the second highest scorer in Champions League history, and he has netted 28 goals in La Liga and the Champions League this season.
Yes Chelsea has produced scintillating results against Barcelona in the past but i just don’t see that happening again on Wednesday.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Chelsea.
Besiktas vs Bayern Munich
Vodafone Stadyumu, Istanbul
Referee: Micheal Oliver(England)
Besiktas will be playing for pride more than anything, and will be desperate to at least register on the scoresheet after a humiliating first leg. Bayern, with little incentive to play their strongest side, may take their foot off the gas.
The first leg finished 5-0 in Bayern’s favour, with Tomas Muller (2), Kingsley Coman and Robert Lewandowski (2) all scoring for the Bavarians. Besiktas finished the match with 10 men following Domagoj Vida’s red card. Bayern scored 10 goals over two legs against Arsenal at the same stage of the competition last season and it would be no surprise to see them repeat that feat.
Jupp Heynckes’ sides have not conceded a goal in the three matches since the first leg and have scored 10 goals in their last two. Bayern are 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga following Saturday’s 6-0 win over Hamburg. A Robert Lewandowski hat-trick, a Franck Ribery brace and another goal from Arjen Robben completed the rout.
Besiktas have won three of their league matches since the first leg, as well as drawing 2-2 with Fenerbahce in their Turkish Cup semi-final first leg. Anderson Talisca scored the only goal of the game in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Genclerbrligi.
Besiktas will be without former Real Madrid defender Pepe has suffered a broken toe since the first leg and is ruled out. With Domagoj Vida suspended, and Atinc Nukan still sidelined, Besiktas could be left short at the back.
For Bayern, Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich are unlikely to be risked with the tie all but over, as they are both a booking away from a suspension. Sebastian Rudy is another who is one booking away from a ban. Corentin Tolisso has a shin injury and is likely to miss out, while Kingsley Coman is sidelined with an ankle problem. James Rodriguez is a minor doubt after returning to training while Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is a long-term absentee.
The same scoreline as in the first leg is highly unexpected but Besiktas stand little hope if any to go through.
Prediction: Besiktas 2-1 Bayern Munich