Author Archives: Timothy Masters

Europa League final preview, 27/5/15

Dnipro v Sevilla, 19:45

The first of the two major European events to occur this week in the world of football takes place on Wednesday, as Dnipro and Sevilla go head-to-head in a Europa League final with a new twist. For the first time ever, the Europa League winners will go into the Champions League next season, which is a massive bonus for sides at this level, and as a result a pair of teams that already want this as much as anyone have arguably the biggest game of their lives coming up. Sevilla are the more experienced at this level, that much cannot be denied, but in Dnipro they face a strong, organised and intelligent team that will be motivated to a level English sides, for example, simply don’t seem to be able to muster in the tournament.

There will still be an English representative in this game, although due to some stupid politics and prejudice against the latter in the refereeing selection group it will be Martin Atkinson, rather than obvious best referee and first choice Mark Clattenberg. With any luck Atkinson’s unique brand of mistake-making won’t be a factor here though, and we can have at least one round of European football that doesn’t expose how useless we English have become at organising and playing the game we love and invented.

Team news isn’t easy to come by for the Ukrainian league, but it looks as though Dnipro come in with all their key parts intact. Likewise Sevilla have no major worries, with Vitolo back for this one and only Nicolas Pereja and Sebastian Cristoforo looking like missing the game.

Sevilla are odds-on favourites with bet365 to win in regular time, priced at 7/10 whilst Dnipro will have to pull off a major coup to win out on the night, priced at 19/4. The popular ‘To Lift The Trophy’ market has seen plenty of backing and Sevilla are 2/7 (1.28) to secure the cup, whilst the unfancied Ukrainians are priced at 11/4 (3.75).

Carlos Bacca is priced at a tempting 3/1 (4.00) to find the net first in this crucial encounter, and as Sevilla’s top goalscorer this season many will be backing him to do just that. Another player fancied to get on the scoresheet for the Sevillistas is Kevin Gameiro, and the compact Frenchman is 5/1 (6.00) to notch the first goal of the game and 7/4 (2.75) to score anytime.

For Dnipro, Nikola Kalinic looks likely to score, priced at 10/1 (11.00) for first goalscorer and 15/4 (4.75) to score anytime. Yehven Seleznyov proved crucial in Dnipro’s semi final against Napoli, scoring both goals over the two matches, but the Ukrainian striker will be absent through injury for the game tonight meaning that Myron Markevych have to look to his other players for some goals against their Spanish opposition. Reported Liverpool target Yehven Konoplyanka could well be amongst the goals and will be eager to impress his suitors ahead of a possible move. The young Ukrainian number 10 is 14/1 (15.00) to score first and 5/1 (6.00) to score anytime.

For even more odds and a fantastic selection of markets, be sure to look for this fixture on bet365.com under Soccer > UEFA Europa League.

Premier League previews, 24/5/15

Arsenal v West Brom, 15:00

The one time when all twenty Premier League clubs get together is on the last day of term, when they majority play the equivalent of a sort of ‘wear what you like’ style and a few of the stricter teachers ease up just a bit. West Brom are floating in a puddle of nothing, somewhere safe just below the middle of the table, while Arsenal need a point to be sure they’ll take third in the table, although even if they lose it would still need a seven goal swing in United’s favour for the Gunners to slip down a spot.

Danny Welbeck has been ruled out with a knee injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy have returned to training but are not be fit enough to play. West Brom head coach Tony Pulis has no new injury issues, with Ben Foster remaining sidelined until October.

Aston Villa v Burnley, 15:00

These two were both involved in a battle for survival a few short weeks ago, but time waits for no club and we’ll be losing one of the claret-and-blue brigade as a result after this match is over and one with. Villa manager Tim Sherwood has completed phase one of what he was brought in to do and kept the club in the division, and now comes the first summer in charge for the saviour manager as he finds out just how much his new bosses are willing to invest on the back of the goodwill generated.

Aston Villa will not rest senior players ahead of the FA Cup final, at least according to gilet Timmy, with Kieran Richardson unlikely to and youngsters Andre Green, Callum Robinson and Lewis Kinsella possibly involved nonetheless. Burnley are only missing long-term absentees Dean Marney and Kevin Long. Steven Reid and Danny Ings will play their last games for the club before leaving in the summer.

Chelsea v Sunderland, 15:00

This game had a hell of a lot of potential, with Chelsea battling for the Premier League title and Sunderland grasping above their heads for a lifeline from relegation, but sadly for the schedulers the two managers turned out to be a bit more competent that was thought and both teams have their business wrapped up already. This has exposed Jose Mourinho to some extent, as is side has fallen apart with no competition left to play for, and as a result this might end up being anomalously close given the quality of players on show.

Chelsea are expected to be without Eden Hazard, Ramires, Oscar and Kurt Zouma through injury, while Petr Cech is doubtful and Cesc Fabregas serves a one-game ban. Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson is fit but Costel Pantilimon, Jordi Gomez, Wes Brown and Liam Bridcutt remain sidelined by injuries, and Danny Graham is doubtful with an ankle problem.

Crystal Palace v Swansea, 15:00

It is a huge credit to the two managers involved today to say that this match really isn’t a big deal in any way, when many people thought these were two dies with relegation prospects to matcn any side in the Premier League. Garry Monk even saw his star striker stripped away by Manchester City mid-campaign and kept going without spending anything on a replacement, while Alan Pardew recognised the green grass at Palace was better than Mike Ashley’s poisonous, Sports Direct brand astroturf and promptly upped sticks halfway through the year to great effect.

Wayne Hennessey will again start in goal for Crystal Palace as Alan Pardew has declared he has a fully-fit squad available. Swansea will be without midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, and Leon Britton, Jay Fulton and Modou Barrow may all feature as Garry Monk assesses his squad with next season in mind.

Everton v Spurs, 15:00

Spurs fans are keen of repeating the line that their club has the 7th biggest budget in the division, but regularly finishes sixth despite the fact, but stereotypes must come from somewhere and be perpetuated somehow too. Today they face an Everton side happy to just move on with their lives after what turned out to be a bit of a terrible season, with a relegation battle drowning out the positives in Europe and questions over their manager, and as a result an away win is well with the realm of possibilities this afternoon.

Everton’s on-loan winger Aaron Lennon is ineligible to face his parent club but Sylvain Distin will be involved for the first time since January if he recovers from illness. Tottenham defender Vlad Chiriches is suspended, while Kyle Walker and Ben Davies remain sidelined.

Hull v Man Utd, 15:00

This is perhaps the biggest game of the day, and definitely the biggest game of the season for a Hull City side knowing that only a win over Manchester United will leave them with any chance of making into the next iteration of the Premier League. Even if they can pull off the seemingly impossible and win the game, Newcastle only need a draw against West Ham to virtually assure themselves of safety due to their superior goal difference, but if a miracle is going to happen today it will be in Hull, so if that is your bent then be sure to tune in.

Steve Bruce could name an unchanged side as Jake Livermore remains suspended because of a failed drug test. United Victor Valdes is on standby to make his first start, but Jonny Evans and Luke Shaw are unlikely to play.

Leicester v QPR, 15:00

If there is one thing that Nigel Pearson does really well it is look pleased with himself, and there is every chance that today will see him as happy as he has ever been this season as he leads his side into battle against an already-relegated Queens Park Rangers. Sure, teams have stayed up on smaller budgets and with harder tasks, but the sheer incredulity we all felt when Pearson came back from a series of gaffes to lead his team to safety means Leicester City will be the bottom-half story of the season for the vast majority of fans.

Leicester have announced that Danny Simpson will not be considered for selection due to an assault case against him, and David Nugent and Matty James are also absent. QPR pair Rob Green and Steven Caulker will not play due to injury as Chris Ramsey looks start testing his options for next term.

Man City v Southampton, 15:00

Southampton are almost a victim of their own success this term, with a lot of people already having got over their shock at how well the club has done despite last summer, and most of us moving on to patronizing the likes of Swansea instead. In reality what Southampton did was recruit intelligently and aim for the best they could reasonably expect, and it is remarkable to note that the lowest possible finish they can achieve at this point is seventh in the Premier League, ahead of Everton, Newcastle and many more big teams.

Manchester City are again without Samir Nasri, with Fernando also ruled out. Southampton remain without the injured pair of Morgan Schneiderlin and Dusan Tadic.

Newcastle v West Ham, 15:00

The other match that might end up changing things dramatically occurs at St James Park, which is a ground with over 50k capacity, hosting a team that regularly turns a profit as a result. Despite this, the ownership have virtually run the team into the ground over the last eighteen month culminating in their manager choosing to leave for the far smaller Crystal Palace, and due to having lost nine of their last ten games the club is still potentially in danger of being relegated, if Hull can only get a win over Manchester United.

Newcastle defender Mike Williamson is available after serving a two-match ban and Siem de Jong could also return but Papiss Cisse is still not fit enough to start. West Ham defender James Collins will miss the trip but Kevin Nolan returns and while James Tomkins is also back in the squad.

Stoke v Liverpool, 15:00

Steven Gerrard’s final week as a Liverpool player has sadly been overshadowed by some verbal cowpats being dropped by Aidy Ward, a man with no sense of timing and even less professionalism, but for all that Sterling and Ward are trying to make it all about sterling, this is only a game for one man really. Seven hundred games, countless vital goals and one of the greatest careers of any Englishmen later, Steven Gerrard can look back on a career and life lived with purpose, and success to some degree, while Stoke will simply want to enjoy the occasion and get to the beach ASAP.

Stoke are expected to recall goalkeeper Asmir Begovic but Stephen Ireland is nursing a back injury, and Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie are fitness concerns. Brendan Rodgers says Raheem Sterling is available to play, but Mario Balotelli is unlikely to be fit.

Arsenal v Sunderland preview, 20/5/15

Arsenal v Sunderland, 19:45

There are many mathematical permutations in the average relegation battle, but things are simpler here. If Sunderland beat Arsenal at the Emirates stadium this evening then the Black Cats will be safe from relegation regardless of what happens on the final day of the season, and although many Arsenal fans may currently be scoffing into their M+s lunch packs over the idea of Sunderland getting a win at one of the most difficult grounds to do so in the country, we’ve seen that anything can happen in this league. Even the famously fastidious Jose Mourinho has lost control of his team, judging by their performance against West Brom, so with the Gunners a bit under-motivated and Sunderland having a lot on the line, this could go either way.

Arsenal will assess defender Laurent Koscielny but Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy are not fit and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck remain out with as well. Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt is unavailable, as are Jordi Gomez and Wes Brown, but Jack Rodwell is back and Billy Jones, who was substituted against Leicester with cramp, is also fit.

Atletico v Barca Preview

From afar, Diego Simeone’s rather successful Atletico side seem like the plucky underdogs everyone outside of Spain should be rooting for, but if they operated in the Premier League things might be a bit different. Combative, defensive and frankly crooked at times off the pitch, Atletico are far from the loveable minnows they can appear from afar, and they are capable of providing the greatest test for Barcelona on what is a massive day for the Catalonians.

That is chiefly because this match, if won by Barca, could be the one that ties up a league title for them and sees Luis Enrique secure a major trophy just a few months after sacking rumours were swirling around his head. That puts Atletico in an awkward position, not wanting to help Barcelona’s rivals Real out, but also not wanting to sacrifice any pride, but like any Simeone team they’ll probably just give all they have on the pitch and let fate do the rest.

There are some key men out for Barcelona, none more than Luis Suarez who picked up a hamstring injury in the midweek win over Bayern, but they’re so close now they can feel that title. With Real Madrid set to win nothing, this looks like it could be the start of a great few weeks for the Catalan club, with even more glory potentially yet to come in the Champions League.

Our Predictions

Soccer: [Atletico Madrid v Barcelona] Over @ 9/10
Soccer: [Atletico Madrid v Barcelona] Barcelona to score in both halves @ 7/4
Soccer: [Atletico Madrid v Barcelona] Junior Neymar @ 5/1
Soccer: [Atletico Madrid v Barcelona] Junior Neymar @ 17/2
Soccer: [Atletico Madrid v Barcelona] Junior Neymar @ 40/1

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Swansea v Man City Preview

The other team engaged in that epic battle for second place is Manchester City, and while we may be guilty of over-egging just how amazing this current fight is you take what you can get at this point of the season. Swansea are flirting with the idea of maybe trying to get a bit higher up the table, but in all honesty the club are very proud of what they’ve done already this year, and City might fancy this a bit as a result.

The reigning champions may only have that title for a few more weeks, but they’re finally starting to show some championship form, sadly too late though with the trophy all-but Chelsea’s at this stage. Four wins from their last four games have seen City regain second in the table, but with Swansea having won their last three there is no reason this shouldn’t be a very interesting contest nonetheless, and maybe even a shock at the end.

Swansea full-back Angel Rangel is doubtful with a groin injury but Bafetimbi Gomis is back from a hamstring injury and could make his first start in just over a month. Samir Nasri will miss the final two games of the season but City have no other fitness concerns, with Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure available for a recall to the first team if need be.

Our Predictions

Soccer: [Swansea v Man City] Away Win @ 3/4
Soccer: [Swansea v Man City] James Milner to score anytime @ 15/4
Soccer: [Swansea v Man City] Man City Over 2.5 Total Goals @ 2/1
Soccer: [Swansea v Man City] Sergio Aguero to score 3 or more @ 14/1
Soccer: [Swansea v Man City] Man City to win from behind @ 7/1
Soccer: [Swansea v Man City] Man City to score in both halves @ 11/8

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Premier League previews, 17-18/5/15

17/5/15
Swansea v Man City, 13:30

Over their last five league games, Man City are the form team in the Premier League, but just as with Arsenal the surge is too little and too late to bother Chelsea, who are already champions in all but name. The race for second is significant not just for the prize money but also the seeding in the Champions League, but Swansea won’t make that easy. A win over City’s rivals Arsenal in their last game was the third in a row for Garry Monk and his men, who are eighth and climbing as they approach the last knocking of the league season, and the home team definitely have what it takes to be a factor against top four sides.

Angel Rangel is doubtful for Swansea but Bafetimbi Gomis is back from a hamstring injury and could make his first start in just over a month. Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri will miss the final two games of the season, and is City’s only injury concern at this stage.

Man Utd v Arsenal, 16:00

This used to be a huge game in the context of the league title, but what was once normally red has now gone blue with new money knocking not just Liverpool, but also United and Arsenal off the top of the table in recent years. The recovery from the loss of Sir Alex is ongoing for United, who don’t seem to have found their way quite yet despite having some excellent players on board, while Arsenal have flattered to deceive in finishing the season well after never really bothering the champions Chelsea at any stage. Today, home advantage could prevail, but United have lost three of their last four and are there for the taking if Arsenal execute properly.

Injury means Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Michael Carrick are absent for United, with Jonny Evans is a doubt, but Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie and Marcos Rojo are fit. Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck is out with a knee injury but Aaron Ramsey is ready to feature again for the Gunners.

18/5/15
West Brom v Chelsea, 20:00

A genteel trundle over the finishing line is all that is required from West Brom and Chelsea now, with the former having made it over the forty-point mark and therefore into complete safety and the latter obviously league champions, so this game might have a casual feel to it. The two managers are not exactly casual characters if truth be told, but neither will want to create any injury problems for the summer and as a result we could see some tired legs rested, and the squad rotated. Chelsea did ok against Liverpool in their last game, which was really all about Steven Gerrard, but they will want to finish the year in the manner they have conducted themselves thus far and give a good show tonight if possible.

West Brom are injury free, aside from Ben Foster, who is not expected to return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury until October. Oscar should return for this game, but Chelsea still have a few out including Diego Costa, Kurt Zouma, Petr Cech and Ramires.

Man Utd v Arsenal Preview

Matches between these two are never uneventful, but both sets of fans today will probably be secretly wishing this game was worth a little bit more than a leg-up in the battle for second in the Premier League. With two games to go United are actually rank outsiders to get into that position, while this represents a game in hand for an Arsenal side looking to catch City once more and get as much TV money as possible.

Neither team is in particularly impressive form, but with Old Trafford the venue and so much focus on who is coming in to the club in the summer there is going to be a lot of pressure on the home team to prove they are up to the standard required. The Gunners will obviously be active this summer too, but Arsene Wenger has already mentioned how incredibly active United are right now, and even Arsenal won’t match the OT levels of spending.

Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw are expected be fit after picking up knocks against Palace, and although Marco Rojo has missed the last four games he, Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria all have a very slim chance of playing. Danny Welbeck won’t face his former club due to a knee injury, but Aaron Ramsey returned to training on Friday and looks like he’ll be fit to play.

Our Predictions

Soccer: [Man Utd v Arsenal] Aaron Ramsey 1st Goalscorer @ 10/1
Soccer: [Man Utd v Arsenal] Alexis Sanchez to score 2 or more @ 12/1
Soccer: [Man Utd v Arsenal] Arsenal to win from behind @ 10/1
Soccer: [Man Utd v Arsenal] Man Utd to win from behind @ 9/1

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Premier League previews, 16/5/15

Southampton v Aston Villa, 12:45

Although they are only five points behind Liverpool in fifth, Southampton are some eleven off the Champions League places at the time of writing, and clearly not quite ready for the level of football some of their fans think they are capable of. Despite that, there can be no doubt that Ronald Koeman has been beyond magnificent this season as manager at St Marys, but today may be tricky. Villa are in fine form, fighting against relegation and with every players desperate to get in the side for the FA Cup final, and could pick up at least a point here today if they play to potential.

James Ward-Prowse will return from suspension for Southampton but Morgan Schneiderlin and Dusan Tadic remain out and Jay Rodriguez is still short of fitness. Aston Villa have no new injury concerns, and have recalled Gary Gardner and Callum Robinson from loan spells.

Burnley v Stoke, 15:00

There have been worse seasons in the Premier League than anything we’ve seen this season, that much is undeniable, but although Burnley took a long time to confirm their relegation from this division it seemed as though they were gone some time ago, and matchday 35 was the one that eventually confirmed their demise. With nothing more than pride on the line for both these sides you shouldn’t expect too much from this match, as Stoke are so firmly entrenched in mid-table at this point that they have nothing to play for in either direction.

Burnley striker Sam Vokes is but Dean Marney and Kevin Long are still months away from a first-team return. Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross is likely to be unavailable because of a knee injury but Asmir Begovic returns after missing out last weekend.

QPR v Newcastle, 15:00

Over the course of the last ten games in the Barclays Premier League, no team has been as bad as QPR or Newcastle, as evidenced by their form guides. Between them they have a 10% win ratio over that period, and only nine points in total, and as a result of the abject failures that have dotted the season Newcastle are now in the conversation about relegation when they really should not be. Rangers are already down, and to be honest never looked like getting out of the bottom three once they’d taken their place there, so if anyone give a toss it should be the away side, who still have something to play for.

QPR midfielder Sandro will again be left out because of visa issue, and neither of Adel Taarabt and Armand Traore are considered fit enough to be involved. Newcastle welcome back Daryl Janmaat from suspension but Mike Williamson completes a two-game ban and Siem de Jong and Adam Armstrong remain out.

Sunderland v Leicester, 15:00

The motivation has been great ever since Sunderland first came into contact with the bottom three, but the way the 2014/15 Premier League season has panned out means the Black Cats are not super-motivated to get out of trouble, as if they can it will put their rivals and near neighbours Newcastle in the deep cacky. Hull would still have to do their job, but a win over Leicester who are already probably safe now has that extra incentive attached, and for that reason this might be one of Sunderland’s best home performances all year.

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat is likely to continue with the same side as John O’Shea is not expected to recover in time. Leicester midfielder Matty James has been ruled out until next year, David Nugent has been is also crocked, but Andy King is available after a hamstring injury.

Spurs v Hull, 15:00

Spurs might have something left in their season, but only if the teams above them allow for it and right now they are in a similar situation that we’ve seen in the past. Given the lack of progress this term, the manager is being frightfully bullish about who might be deemed not good enough when the transfer window opens, but even another sixth place finish doesn’t look like being enough for his name to appear on that list. As for Hull, they have two games to drag themselves above either Newcastle or Sunderland and out of trouble, and recently have looked a tiny bit more likely to get the points they need, but have been rocked to some extent this week by Jake Livermore’s failed drugs test and need to focus.

Tottenham are without Vlad Chiriches, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kyle Walker and Ben Davies for this game, but Danny Rose is fit. Hull manager Steve Bruce is likely to give top scorer Nikica Jelavic his first start for two months but knows Mohamed Diame and Gaston Ramirez will not feature again this season.

West Ham v Everton, 15:00

Taken in the context of a full season in the Premier League, West Ham and Sam Allardyce have been very successful, with the London club sat tenth in the table ahead of sides like Everton, West Brom and Newcastle. However, the recent form and the capricious nature of the Hammers board means he is almost certain to be looking for another job in the summer, which will probably see the Hammers relegated in the next three years, and no longer facing the likes of Everton, who at this point just want to finish as high as possible and move on from what has been a very difficult year.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is likely to give Alex Song a start but Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho have been ruled out until next season. Everton defender Leighton Baines will not feature again this campaign, while Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert, Bryan Oviedo and Steven Pienaar are also absent.

Liverpool v Crystal Palace, 17:30

Just like any Real Madrid game (at least in the mind of Ronaldo), today we will see twenty two players take to the green grass of Anfield, but all of the focus and attention on just one man, namely Steven Gerrard. The hype surrounding his last appearance as a Liverpool player at the ground he has come to lord over these last twenty years has been phenomenal, but for this game to come against Palace is also a bit of a shame as that will sadly dredge up memories of last season, when Gerrard, Suarez and co were not good enough to win the league, with a major turning point being the loss at Selhurst Park.

Liverpool have Mamadou Sakho back in training, but it remains to be seen whether he is risked on Saturday. Crystal Palace could recall Jason Puncheon, but Jerome Thomas may again miss out with an ankle problem.

Real v Juve 2nd leg preview

The second and final semi-final match of the 2014/15 season is between Juventus and Real Madrid, and if there is one thing to say about this iteration of the Champions League it is that most people probably could have predicted at least three of the top four, with Juve the exception. Saying that, they would have been in the group with PSG, Chelsea and Atletico for those guessing who would be the fourth, as this is one of the best sides to come out of Turin in many a year and their league competition is slight enough as to be someone inconsequential.

That perfect storm of simply domestic success and the ability to go a long way in the Champions League, partly as a result of the former, counts for nothing when you’re faced with a team like Real, that might not have to play any more domestic games and have a squad bigger than the cast of the average Olivier epic. Tonight the Italians must try and hold a lead against an attacking force full of pace and power, and the amazing thing is that Juve might just have the defence to do it.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti knows Toni Kroos is expected to be fit for this game, but with Paul Pogba back in the Juventus midfield alongside Arturo Vidal this will be a real test of the German and his levels of fitness. Ancelotti also expects to be able to call upon striker Karim Benzema against Juventus, but once again his main problem will be the absence of this brain of his team, Luka Modric, at a time when he needs intelligence the most.

Our Predictions

Soccer: [Real Madrid v Juventus] Cristiano Ronaldo to score first @ 3/1
Soccer: [Real Madrid v Juventus] Carlos Tevez to score anytime @ 11/5
Soccer: [Real Madrid v Juventus] Cristiano Ronaldo to score 2 or more @ 15/4
Soccer: [Real Madrid v Juventus] Real Madrid to win both halves @ 10/3

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Bayern v Barca 2nd Leg Preview

The majority of the speculation linking Pep Guardiola may be coming from tame Manchester journalists, but it is not unfair to point there has been enough trouble in his time at Bayern Munich for the stories to exist in the first place, and that the former Barcelona man has not delivered all he would want to. Two years, two Champions League semi-finals and so far, two pretty poor performances against Spanish giants is his record so far, and although he can point to the spending gap between the teams that really acts as no excuse for a team as rich as Bayern.

The first leg was close for a while, and then it wasn’t as Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez took control of their part of the pitch and showed that in this game you really do get what you paid for. There is no doubt this current Barcelona team isn’t as fluent or astonishing as their predecessors, but in that front three they have enough to score against any defence on the planet, and a get-out-of-jail-free card in tight matches they cannot dominate.

Pep must make do without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben for the rest of the year, as well as the perennial crock Badstuber and the best left back in the world, David Alaba, great news for them as Barcelona are at full strength. Guardiola rested keeper Manuel Neuer and a few others on the weekend, maybe so the big man can go away and think about not trying to rile Messi pre-game again, while the Spaniards were also able to sit out Andres Iniesta, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets in their last league game.

Our Predictions

Soccer: [Bayern Munich v Barcelona] Away Win @ 17/10
Soccer: [Bayern Munich v Barcelona] Barcelona – Barcelona @ 3/1
Soccer: [Bayern Munich v Barcelona] Barcelona to score first @ 1/1
Soccer: [Bayern Munich v Barcelona] Barcelona Over 1.5 Total Goals @ 11/10
Soccer: [Bayern Munich v Barcelona] Lionel Messi to score 2 or more @ 5/1

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