Napoli v Barcelona
In their group stage Champions League games Napoli faced Liverpool twice without loss – they won at home and drew at Anfield. Yet the club’s poor showings in Serie A saw Carlo Ancelotti ditched for Gennaro Gattuso.
And since Gattuso turned up in Naples, things have improved a little, the Italian club winning six of their last seven matches – a run that includes a win over Juventus in Turin.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have had problems of their own this season, bringing in new coach Quique Setien for the unpopular Ernesto Valverde in January. Let’s not even mention Martin Braithwaite. But despite the negativity surrounding the club, Barca nonetheless currently top the La Liga table, and warmed up for this outing with a five-nil mauling of Eibar, Messi scoring four of the five goals.
Barca have qualified for the CL quarter-finals for 12 straight seasons, and it seems unlikely that Napoli can prevent a 13th appearance in this campaign. This is Gattuso’s first ever CL game as a manager, and his inexperience may be a factor. Despite some recent encouraging performances from the Italian side, Napoli may struggle to contain the visitors here.
Back Barca to win and over 2.5 goals for a combined 11/5.
Chelsea v Bayern Munich
Chelsea beat an exceptionally unambitious Tottenham at the weekend, but in the Champions League the Blues have lost to Valencia and seen four goals scored against them by Ajax at Stamford Bridge so far this season.
Bayern Munich probably shouldn’t be too wary of this trip to West London, then. The German giants top the Bundesliga (albeit by just one point over RB Leipzig), but they have been outstanding in the Champions League – winning all six of their group games, a sequence that included a memorable 7-2 beating of Spurs in North London.
Given that form, it’s difficult not to fancy the Bavarian team on Tuesday. In their other two away games in the CL in this campaign, Bayern have scored six goals against Red Star Belgrade and three against Olympiakos, so more goals could be in store tonight.
Back Bayern to win and over 3.5 goals at a combined 16/5.
Real Madrid v Man City
The Spanish super club lost to Levante at the weekend, and have been less than impressive in the current Champions League campaign, with a loss to Paris Saint-Germain and a draw to Club Brugge at the Bernabeu. Real also saw Eden Hazard limp off with an ankle injury against Levante – just a couple of games after the Belgian had returned from a similar problem.
But City have had their own issues – obviously in the Prem, but also in the CL, drawing against Atalanta and Shakhtar Donetsk. Still, City have little else to play for – the Premier League is gone, and the club will want to restore some pride, having been hurt by the recent ruling from Uefa banning them from the Champions League for the next two seasons.
The last three games between these sides have been surprisingly cagey, with a 1-1 draw in 2012, and a 0-0 draw and 1-0 win to Real in 2016. This one could be similarly low scoring.
Back under 2.5 goals at 13/10.
Lyon v Juventus
Lyon’s domestic season has been pretty indifferent thus far, the French side currently sitting seventh in Ligue 1. They could only win two of their Champions League group stage matches, and even the likes of Memphis Depay and young Moussa Dembele will likely find Juventus too hot to handle.
Juve are being pushed all the way in Serie A by Lazio, who are just a point behind Maurizio Sarri’s side, but the Bianconeri won five of their six group games (drawing with Atletico Madrid). Even away from home, the Old Lady should have too much for Lyon.
Back Juventus to win at 49/50.
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