Champions League Round of 16 Part II

Matchweek 27: 8-4
All-Time Record: 180-158-41

Woahh nelly do I have some things to catch you up on in the footy world these past few days. From the Premier League to last week’s Champions League matches I’ll do my best to recap in a quick (but definitely not quick) fashion.

We’ll start in the Premier League, where Spurs won the North London Derby 1-0 thanks to a Harry Kane header. Spurs looked great, but it was a match that could have gone either way to be honest. This has given Spurs a huge 7 point lead ahead of their rivals Arsenal, who now sit 8 points off of a very distant top 4. #WengerOut is looking STRONG.

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Other notable scores included a 5-1 victory by City over Leicester with Aguero scoring 4 second half goals to put the league leaders on 72 points with 11 matches left. To put that in perspective, the most points by a Premier League champion is 95 by Chelsea in 04/05. City has 33 available points to win, and only need 16 to break the record. BUT, on Monday they slipped in the FA Cup, losing to 3rd division Wigan Athletic 1-0 after City got a costly red card before halftime. It’s a massive upset and has turned into one of the stories of the season.

Then Sunday came around when Manchester United fell to Newcastle in Newcastle by the score of 1-0. Mourinho sat Pogba and the rift between them has grown, showing that there may only be room for 1 on the ego train at United. This was a classic performance from Post-Fergy United, where they lacked convincing play and let a poor side take advantage of their exploitable defense.

I couldn’t get around to a blog for last weekend’s Champions League matches, so that’s my fault, but there were some great moments. PSG traveled to Madrid to take on Los Blancos in a matchup that didn’t deserve to be a Round of 16 matchup and instead a Final matchup. But you get what you get and you don’t get upset (I know having to deal with an early PSG v Madrid is soooo tough). Both teams played like their stereotypical selves, PSG giving in the second something went wrong and lacked solid leadership while Madrid just ripped apart the opponent the second they gain confidence. It didn’t help that PSG’s captain and arguably the best defender in the world Thiago Silva was benched before the game. Yeah, bold strategy Cotton let’s see if it pays off. Two goals in the span of 3 minutes at the end of the match made it 3-1 and now makes it a tough deficit for PSG to come back from when they head back to Paris for the second leg. But definitely don’t count out Neymar and his minions, as if they win 2-0 they advance on away goals.

Champions League Round of 16 First Leg - Real Madrid vs Paris St Germain

Tottenham traveled to Juve in another marquee matchup last week in one of the more wild matches of the Champions League season. Juve went up 2-0 inside 10 minutes with two Higuain goals, and it surely seemed like Spurs were done for. But second half adjustments and a newfound belief after their Derby win (and a little help from my tweet saying they’re gonna come back and draw) helped Spurs to a 2-2 draw. HUGE draw with 2 away goals as they head back to London in a few weeks where they now command a place into the Quarterfinals.

NOW, onto this week’s shenanigans. You may think of the Champions League as a great excuse to lay a few wagers during your lunch at work in the middle of the week, and you couldn’t be more right (in one fashion). It is the premier club competition in the world, and boy does it make Tuesdays and Wednesdays soooo much better. Let’s get this ship sailing…

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Tuesday
2:45 pm

Besiktas @ Bayern Munich (-2) – There are two reasons Besiktas are in the Round of 16; their gritty style makes them tough to break down and they have a terrific home field advantage. Sadly they won’t be playing at home which leaves only one of their wild cards on the table and that may not be able to work this time around. Plain and simple, Bayern are miles away better than this Besiktas side and I don’t see the Turkish side standing a chance here. May not be a 3-goal game but I don’t see it being a 1-goal game either.

Barcelona (-0.5) @ Chelsea It moved folks, it moved. ANOTHER huge matchup in the Round of 16 as Bartthhhelona travel to London to take on the Blues of Chelsea. Fun fact: Messi has never scored against Chelsea in his 8 matches played against them. After two horrible results against Bournemouth and Watford, Chelsea rebounded and have won their last two matches 7-0 combined in all competitions. But their next few matches go as follows after Barca; @ Man U, @ Man City, v Crystal Palace, @ Barcelona, @ Burnley, @ Leicester and v Tottenham. This is all in 5 and a half weeks folks, and although it won’t affect them in this match, you know Conte knows he needs a result or else he may have to go to Barcelona and win in the middle of the hardest part of their schedule. Barcelona have stayed invincible in the league and remain the only undefeated team in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Messi is playing out of his mind this season and I see him breaking his Chelsea curse in this match, leading his squad to a big victory and forcing Chelsea to win a game in Barcelona in a few weeks. (Took every fiber of my being to not pick the home underdog in this one).

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Wednesday
2:45 pm

Roma (Pick -110) @ Shakhtar Donetsk Trap game city right here. With the odds being at a Pickem, Vegas is begging you to pick Roma here. Roma being one of the better teams in Europe travel to Ukraine to play Shakhtar, where nobody in the world will find it easy to get a win. But one cannot simply pick against Roma in this as all they have to do is draw or win to take this one back to Roma with the advantage, and that just so happens to equate to the spread. Exploit the Pick folks!

Manchester United @ Sevilla (+0.5) – Trap game #2 on Wednesday as Man U travel to Sevilla to face off in their first ever meeting. The bottom line is that Man U is the better team here, but Sevilla can’t be overlooked as they have had only 1 loss in their last 10 matches in all competitions. They’re a tough team to break down and are a force to play against at home. I love the home dog here, as this will probably end in a draw before they had back to United.

That’s all for the midweek Champions League matches this time. Follow the Twitter account for funny stuff and solid picks (@Nicodegallo and @CanIKickIt) and be sure to tune into Fox Sports 1 and ESPN to catch the matches.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

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Nico

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