CHRIS WADDLE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Our brand ambassador CHRIS WADDLE Lifts The Lid on the Last 16 stage of the Champions League with a series of predictions and recommended BETDAQ bets.
Champions League winner: Real Madrid
It’s very open, a lot of teams are struggling for form, you only have to look at the likes of Liverpool.
Real Madrid, they are a very classy side. People always throw obstacles in front of them and say they’ll get knocked out, but they never do, they always get results. They are one of the favourites.
Bayern Munich are of course in there. I can’t see PSG winning it, they have lost their way, Kylian Mbappe didn’t play at the weekend, Messi didn’t play. I think Bayern will be too strong for them.
Everyone is saying Manchester City, but I think with City this season it’s the first time we’ve seen them and thought, they could have lost that game. They aren’t as convincing this season, whether it’s too many games, the World Cup cutting in, injuries, or all this fair play row and the sanctions that they are going to pick up, I just can’t see them getting through to the final to win it. They definitely have the players, but their rhythm isn’t as good as it has been.
Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Napoli are the three teams I think could lift the trophy.
Furthest English team: Manchester City
I can’t see Tottenham winning it, they are too predictable. Their injuries are building up and they’ve got suspensions, so it’s going to be a tricky few months for them. No way they’ll lift the trophy.
Liverpool are playing worse than Tottenham. They are conceding a lot of goals and not scoring many, their front three look drained in confidence. Maybe it was the World Cup and all the games they have played, or the tempo of their play catching up with them. They have injuries and it hasn’t been a good year for them. They will do well to get Europa League.
Manchester City is the best bet for an English team to win it.
Dark Horse of the tournament: Napoli
Napoli have a very good chance. They are running away with the Italian league, they want to win that of course but are so many points clear, and I can’t see them blowing it. They could have a really good go at the Champions League, and why not.
They have the players, they have the confidence; they are all in good form, they don’t concede a lot and they score a lot of goals. It’s the ideal setup to win the Champions League, they have a winnable tie against Frankfurt, and they are a team you wouldn’t want to play.
Tottenham v AC Milan winner: AC Milan
Spurs have never lost to AC Milan, they have won two and drawn two, psychologically they will take that as an advantage.
Spurs have lots of injuries. If you look at the midfield that Tottenham will take into the game, he [Antonio Conte] might start Oliver Skipp, and Pape Matar Sarr in there and maybe Eric Dier for a bit of experience. Going forward they have nothing to worry about, Harry Kane is Harry Kane, they have Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min, they don’t have problems going forward.
Defensively they are all over the shop at the minute. Antonio Conte always plays three and he has never looked at a back four, whichever three seem to play at the back, Spurs can’t seem to stop the opposition scoring. Cristian Romero will be back soon and if he doesn’t play, they look very weak. Leicester could have scored more at the weekend, they had so much space and time.
I think Spurs will lose in Milan. Milan aren’t playing with great confidence, but I think, playing at home, they will just shade it. Any sort of result for Tottenham would be good, even a 1-0 or a 2-1 defeat. They’re capable of turning it around at home, but it’s going to be very tight.
It will be a close game but with the injuries and suspension they have it is going to be a very hard a game on Tuesday night in Milan.
Dortmund v Chelsea winner: Chelsea
Chelsea will cause Dortmund a lot of problems, but Dortmund are a nice football team, they have some good technicians. There is always a great atmosphere in their stadium, and it will be a great night.
It’s a good time to play Chelsea at the minute because they are a bit unpredictable, one minute they look like a great team but for the next 20, they seem to lose the rhythm and look all over the shop.
Dortmund will enjoy playing them. Over the two games though Chelsea should beat Dortmund, they’ll have too much for them; you have to expect these players that Chelsea have brought in to get used to each other. They were great against West Ham for the first 20 minutes so there is still more to come from Chelsea, while Dortmund at the back are not very good. They are used to teams parking the bus against them and Chelsea won’t do that.
Real Madrid v Liverpool winner: Real Madrid
Madrid have just won the Club World Cup. It’s a lot of games they probably didn’t need, they won a big prize, but the games will have taken their toll. Despite that, I just think they all know each other now, they have some old players still, but they are fit and know each other’s game inside out.
They are second in the league, a long way behind Barcelona but they are capable of winning the tournament and they know Liverpool, they know what to expect. Liverpool are not as good as they were last season and I’m expecting Real Madrid to show them they are still up there with the best, whereas Liverpool have deteriorated.
Mohamed Salah’s form has been nowhere near it, Jordan Henderson and James Milner are great players for Liverpool, but they are getting old now. They haven’t bought anyone in the transfer market to replace the midfield players. Vigil van Dijk hasn’t been the same since he injured his knee. He was the best centre half in Europe at the time, but he hasn’t ever recovered from it, his mobility and his confidence have taken a big hit.
They’ve had their injuries we know that. They have deteriorated over the last six months and haven’t been freshened up. They will do well to finish in the top six or seven this season.
RB Leipzig v Manchester City winner: Manchester City
Leipzig got beaten by Union Berlin recently but they are a team that are organised with a lot of pace on the break, especially with Timo Werner. I think City will have too much for Leipzig over two legs. They carry a threat with the pace they have but technically they aren’t the best and won’t keep the ball away from Manchester City. City can definitely win over the two legs.
Golden Boot winner: Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland is a player that could get three goals in a game, he could end up with four goals over the two legs. It gets tight now that it’s the knockout stages, because you can’t drop points and still get through. If you lose the first game you are probably out, so teams go for it a bit more, and we’ll probably see a lot more goals over the games.
It depends on the draw, Napoli have a good one, but so do City and Haaland could benefit a lot. Unfortunately for Kylian Mbappe he has been injured and he is coming up against Bayern Munich so he is not going to get a lot of chances. Karim Benzema will fancy himself too.
Best Bets of the round of 16: Manchester City and Real Madrid
Manchester City are the definite winners over Leipzig and I can’t see Real Madrid not beating Liverpool.
Bayern will beat PSG looking at the way they are playing. I’d say Chelsea and Napoli to win both games, Milan to win at home and then it depends who turns up on the day in the second leg.
Lay of the round of 16: RB Leipzig
Leipzig over two games have no chance, City are going to win both. And the same with Real Madrid, their organisation and the way they play will be too much for Liverpool in both games. For me Dortmund won’t get a result in either game. The rest of the games will be very tight.