Seven English teams started this season in the Champions League and Europa League and as we reach the quarterfinal stages of both competitions, only Burnley have been eliminated from contention thus far. Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United are all still very much part of the party in the Champions League while Arsenal and Chelsea have their eyes on the prize in the Europa League.
Of all Europe’s nations, England by far have the most teams represented in the last eight of both Europe’s premier competitions. The next best representation comes from Spain who have three teams left in both competitions, then Portugal and Italy both with two each. There is just one team from each of Germany, Holland and the Czech Republic which means that countries like France, Belgium and Russia have no teams remaining in either competition this season.
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So how should you bet if you fancy a flutter on the English teams? Well we are going to preview each of the six games they are involved in this week and give you our tips for each starting with the games on Tuesday night in the Champions League.
All games in both Europa and Champions League competitions kick off at 8pm BST this week.
Champions League Quarterfinals 1st Leg
Tuesday 9th April
Liverpool v FC Porto
These two teams met a round earlier in the tournament last season in the Champions League, with Liverpool roaring to a 5-0 win in Portugal and then the second leg at Anfield ended in a rather uninspiring 0-0 draw. Porto will have been the side most teams wanted to draw in this competition but they are in good form, winning all of their last five and proving to be a tough team to beat in the competition this year.
However, I think it is true to say that Porto have not met a team of the quality of Liverpool as yet in the tournament thus far and I think this step up in class is going to be a big gulf for them. Porto have never won in six games against Liverpool and I can’t see that occurring tonight. I am backing Liverpool to win the game at 3/10 with bet365.
Tottenham v Manchester City
This all-Premier League encounter promises to be one of the most intriguing ties of the round as in form Manchester City, who have been on an incredible winning run of games, face Tottenham Hotspurs, who are in somewhat indifferent form, but who will be bolstered by playing this game at their brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The teams met in the Premier League a while ago and City won that game 1-0. They are due to play again shortly in the league, so this will be the first of three games between the teams in three weeks. Spurs form of late has been erratic over the last few weeks, but I think in the Champions League they have performed very well and I can see them doing enough here to earn a draw to take with them back to Manchester for the second leg. A draw is a 3/1 shot with bet365.
Wednesday 10th April
Manchester United v Barcelona
Barcelona have been Manchester United’s nemesis in this tournament over the years, beating the Red Devils twice in the final when Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager. United now have a chance to gain revenge as they take on a Barcelona side who shipped four goals in their last away game in La Liga to lowly Villarreal, needing two injury time goals to salvage a draw from that game.
However, since their win over Paris St Germain in Paris, United’s form has been a little off losing three of their last four games and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will know that this game is crucial to their chances of progressing. The Nou Camp in the second leg is a very difficult place to go and turn around a defeat, but I think United can surprise a few here. Barcelona’s defence is not that great, so I am backing United to still be in this tie come the second leg as I feel this has a chance of being a draw (13/5 with bet365).
Europa League Quarterfinals 1st Leg
Thursday 11th April
Arsenal v Napoli
Napoli have beaten Liverpool in the Champions League this season before dropping into the Europa League after Christmas and they now face another Premier League opponent in Arsenal. The Gunners were poor in losing 1-0 to Everton on Sunday and they will need a much better display at home to Serie A’s second place team in order to stand a chance of progressing. The good news for Arsenal fans is that their home form is generally very good and as such, I can see them picking up a narrow win here to take into the second leg.
Napoli’s defence hasn’t been that great of late and they conceded three last time in this competition away to Red Bull Salzburg, but their away goal on the night was key to them progressing. I can see Napoli scoring here, but I still fancy Arsenal to win and they are 5/4 to do precisely that at bet365.
Slavia Prague v Chelsea
Don’t fall into the trap that many bookmakers have and expect this to be a walk in the park for Chelsea. The odds on a Chelsea win of 13/20 are ridiculously short for me and I will tell you why. Slavia Prague are a very good side, especially at home and they have performed well against some top sides in this competition this season, notably beating 5-times winner Sevilla in the last round. Chelsea’s form in Europe is good, but their league form is not great and the issues with Sarri and the fans remain very much in the forefront at the club.
Chelsea’s away record of late is also not the bet and Slavia Prague are a class above the teams Chelsea have already faced in this competition this season. As such. I am not backing Chelsea to land the win here, but I do feel they will do enough to get a draw, which is still a very enticing 13/5 at bet365 Sport.