Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain served up four goals in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg in France and one expects both teams to score when they resume hostilities in Tuesday’s second leg in England.
Using domestic league statistics the case for backing both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain to score is strong. Manchester City’s attack is the English Premier League’s second best overall and the best of all at home. Manchester City has scored 58 goals in its 32 English Premier League matches, including 41 goals in its 17 home games and only two blanks in those fixtures. Paris Saint-Germain’s attack is French Ligue 1’s best on all counts, with PSG scoring 83 goals in their 33 divisional matches, including 38 in their 17 away games. Paris Saint-Germain has scored in 29 of its 33 French Ligue 1 matches and, if Manchester City scores at least one goal on Tuesday, PSG will need to find the back of the net at least twice in normal time to have any chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Manchester City has made it this far in the UEFA Champions League despite keeping just one clean sheet in its nine games and that was at home to a Dynamo Kyiv side that required a miracle after its quarter-final first-leg disaster. Both teams have scored in seven of Manchester City’s nine UEFA Champions League matches and odds of -189 with Betfair about that statistic going to eight out of 10 strikes one as an attractive offer.
Both sides have rustled the onion bag in only three of Paris Saint-Germain’s nine UEFA Champions League games but – and this is crucial – PSG are batting at 100 per cent in the knockout stage now that the stakes have risen considerably.
Manchester City is not set up to defend – Citizens coach Manuel Pellegrini is considering risking Vincent Kompany because so many of his teammates are injured and/or not playing well – and Paris Saint-Germain knows that it must score in normal time or it will definitely exit the UEFA Champions League. The match promises to be exciting and, rather than pick the team that makes it through to the UEFA Champions League last four, simply back both sides to score.
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg between Benfica and Bayern Munchen in Portugal sets up well for the latter because in the first leg in Germany it kept a clean sheet and its opponent’s top goal scorer collected a yellow card that rules him out of the return fixture.
Home clean sheets in UEFA Champions League ties are worth their weight in gold so Bayern Munchen would have been happy to defeat Benfica 1-0 last week, knowing that if it scores this week then its rival will need to score at least three goals in normal time to progress. Benfica’s capability to puncture Bayern Munchen’s defence took a major knock when its leading marksman, Jonas, received a caution 58 minutes into last week’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg. Jonas is averaging more than a goal per game in the Portuguese Primeira Liga and his suspension is a massive blow to Benfica’s chance of eliminating Bayern Munchen.
Bayern Munchen has scored in 38 of its 42 matches across the German Bundesliga, German DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League and three of its four blanks occurred away to Arsenal, Dortmund and Leverkusen so, when it has failed to convert its chances, it has been against some of the best teams in Europe. One is content to back Bayern Munchen at odds of -143 with BetVictor to beat Benfica, with the UEFA Champions League tie all over bar the shouting if the hot favourite opens the scoring due to the away goals rule.
Finally, a Real Madrid win to nil over Wolfsburg in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg in Spain feels overpriced at odds of +130 with several bookmakers, including Betfred, Coral and Totesport because one thinks that the Wolves may focus on defending their 2-0 lead, particularly if they do not score an early away goal.
Wolfsburg’s German Bundesliga away record is the second worst in the division and it has failed to score in seven of its 14 road games in that competition. The psychology of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match is fascinating and it will be interesting to see what Wolfsburg does if it leads Real Madrid either 2-0 or 2-1 on aggregate at, say, half time. One can see Wolfsburg playing cautiously rather than boldly and, therefore, one is keen on the odds-against bet.
Manchester City v PSG Both Teams to Score
Tuesday 12th April, 19:45 GMT
Bayern Munich to beat Benfica
Wednesday 13th April, 19:45 GMT
Real Madrid to beat Wolfsburg to Nil
Tuesday 12th April, 19:45 GMT