Manchester City are the new favourites to win the UEFA Champions League after Monday’s draw. They’re pitted against FC Basel of Switzerland in the round of 16, which gets under way in February. The last 16 are guaranteed to produce an outstanding competition, and our Champions League tips will set you in good stead to take on the bookmakers.
Pep Guardiola’s side secured a record 14th consecutive Premier League victory when they beat United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday. They avoided the toughest possible opponents and are strongly fancied to get through to the quarter-finals unscathed.
As the Premier League leaders were handed one of the softest possible draws, the Premier League champions landed one of the toughest. Chelsea was drawn to face Barcelona in the last 16. Defending champions Real Madrid were pulled out alongside Paris St Germain, the previous market leaders.
In another plum tie, Tottenham were paired with last season’s beaten finalists Juventus. The second leg is at Wembley and set to be a momentous occasion. After winning their group ahead of Real Madrid, Spurs have every reason to feel optimistic.
Manchester United and Liverpool avoided the worst of outcomes. United are to face Sevilla and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are paired with Porto. Both will be confident of progression into the quarter-finals, at which stage there will be no restrictions on the draw.
Champions League Tips and Best Odds
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They will travel to Switzerland for the first leg. The game will be played just 10 days after Basel return to action after a seven-week winter break. While City cruised into the knock-out stages by winning their first five group games, Basel’s progression was much less straightforward. It came by virtue of victories over United and Portuguese champions Benfica in their last two games. Our Champions League tips urge you to make this a useful barometer. They were beaten 3-1 on aggregate over their two matches against Jose Mourinho’s side. City are no bigger than 1/12* to go through.
Paris St Germain scored a new Champions League record of 25 goals in the group stage. They finished above Bayern Munich courtesy of a better head-to-head record after both teams won five of their six games. They were shortened considerably in the ante-post betting when they signed Neymar for a world record fee in the summer. They’d been tournament favourites until being drawn to face Real Madrid in the stand-out tie of the last 16.
can’t separate the two clubs, making them each 5/6* to qualify, while make the French league leaders 4/6* favourites to oust the 12-time European champions, who have won this competition in three of the last four seasons. PSG are now 5/1* with in the outright betting, with Real out to 8/1* with and .
Champions League Tips: Barca strong favourites over Chelsea
Chelsea’s Premier League title defence has been unconvincing thus far. They finished second behind Roma in their group. However, they have shown enough since Antonio Conte came to the club to suggest they can give Barca a thorough test. Lionel Messi may still be producing the goods on a regular basis for the Spanish league leaders. But in the absence of Neymar the supporting cast is not as strong as it once was. They won Group D by conceding only one goal, but they scored just nine – 11 fewer than they managed last season.
In an inconsistent season, Chelsea’s best performance to date came in their second group match. They when they beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in Spain. Chelsea are already 14 points adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League and unlikely to mount a successful defence of their title. Our Champions League tips are to consider this their major focus in the New Year. It has echoes of 2011/2012, when they won the Champions League, beating Barcelona along the way, but finished sixth in the Premier League. At 5/2* with to qualify, they are an attractive bet, while at 33/1* also with they are worthy of a small interest in the outright betting.
Champions League Tips: Manchester City favourites above Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain
The Turkish champions qualified unbeaten from a group featuring Porto, RB Leipzig and Monaco, but Bayern should prove too strong. Since sacking Carlo Ancelotti in October, Bayern have reasserted their authority under the guidance of Jupp Heynckes. Heynckes led them to a domestic and European treble before retiring in 2013 and making way for Guardiola. The 3-1 win over PSG in early December was their 11th in 12 games. While they have pulled clear at the top of the Bundesliga after a sluggish start by their very high standards.
Champions League Tips: Liverpool, Manchester United & Tottenham set to win their draws
Liverpool have looked unstoppable at times, plundering 23 goals to qualify from Group E unbeaten. If their attacking unit of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho can have a greater influence on proceedings than their wobbly defence, they should be capable of getting past Porto, who lost twice on their way to finishing second in Group G.
Manchester United will be equally confident about eliminating Sevilla. Sevilla finished in second place in Liverpool’s group with a level goal difference, scoring 12 and conceding 12. They earned two draws against Liverpool that they scarcely deserved. But United don’t suffer from the same defensive problems as their North West rivals. They should be too strong for a team who have a good home record but look vulnerable on their travels.
There are signs this year that Juventus’ long domination of Serie A may be coming to an end and this could be the perfect time for Tottenham to take them on. After winning the league in each of the last six seasons, Juventus are currently third in a five-way scrap for the title. Tottenham outscored Real Madrid by four goals to two over their two group games, beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s side 3-1 at Wembley. They have the attacking talent to pinch a goal in Turin and set up a barnstorming second leg in London. They are 5/4* with to qualify.