The Champions League is where Europe’s very best clubs clash, and now we’re in the knockouts, only the 16 best sides remain. But with the likes of Inter and Arsenal in action, two of the continent’s hottest sides, there is a strong possibility of some one-sided scorelines. Which could, of course, earn you an early payout.
Champions League 2up and win predictions: our picks
Inter Milan vs Atletico Madrid
Building on their unexpected run to the Champions League final last season, Inter have been superb this season.
Only Bayern Munich have scored more goals than Simone Inzaghi’s side this campaign, and they have lost only once at home all season, to a stunning goal from Domenico Berardi. They have only drawn once at the San Siro, and are currently on a five game winning run at their famous home, scoring 14 and conceding just once.
By contrast, Atletico Madrid, despite their immense home record, have won only once in their last six away games in all competitions.
All things point towards an Inter win. With the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram in red-hot form, and an iron-clad defence that conceded just one goal at home in the group stage, Inter could well help you to an early payout.
FC Porto vs Arsenal
Arsenal are looking to win a first Champions League knockout tie in an astonishing 14 years. Fortunately for Gunners fans, there are several factors in their favour going into this tie.
Firstly, the last side Arsenal knocked out of the Champions League was… Porto, in 2010. The Gunners thrashed the Portuguese club 6-2 on aggregate, with Nicklas Bendtner netting a hat-trick at the Emirates.
Secondly, Porto have suffered two big injury blows in recent days. Flying left-back and near-everpresent Zaidu Sanusi has been ruled out for the season, and Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi is a major doubt with a knee injury. The 31-year-old forward has scored 10 goals and recorded six assists in his 25 Champions League appearances, so will be a big miss for the hosts.
Finally, the two sides are in contrasting form. Arsenal are in red-hot form, having scored 21 goals and conceded just twice in their last five matches. Arteta’s men have also scored 11 in their last two away games. Porto, on the other hand, have failed to win in two of their last three.
Both sides qualified from their group with real ease, but we’re backing Arsenal to mark their return to the Champions League knockout stage with a statement of intent. Despite Porto’s best efforts, the 2004 Champions League winners may fall behind by two goals in this one.
PSV Eindhoven vs Borussia Dortmund
Our final pick, and a slightly controversial one, is PSV vs Borussia Dortmund.
Many casual watchers, unfamiliar with Dutch football may understandably presume that Borussia Dortmund will cruise through this one, but Peter Bosz’s side have been one of Europe’s form sides this season, particularly at the Philips Stadion.
1988’s Champions League winners have won twelve at home this campaign, only drawing twice, even holding Arsenal to a draw in the group stage. They have scored 36 goals at home, and only conceded eight.
Despite the departures of the likes of Cody Gakpo, Noni Madueke, Xavi Simons and Ibrahim Sangare, PSV’s new young core consisting of players such as Johan Bakayoko, Noa Lang, Armel Bella-Kotchap and Ismael Saibari are outperforming their predecessors.
Dortmund, on the other hand, are going through a rough patch. Die Schwarzgelben have won just four of their last 12 competitive matches, and there is significant pressure on manager Edin Terzic.
The return fixture at Signal Iduna Park will have a very different complexion, but in this one, PSV could spring a surprise and build a healthy leg going into the second leg.
For more Champions League last 16 tips, check out our correct score predictions for this week's fixtures.