Champions League: Stats points to few surprises in the quarter finals

The business end of the Champions League and the boffins at Infogol have broken down the likely two-legged winners...



Liverpool v Porto, Tuesday, 8pm

Liverpool put the question marks over their away form in Europe to bed, thumping Bayern Munich 3-1 in their own back yard.

The Reds showed real maturity in delivering a very classy away performance and deservedly qualified over the two legs thanks to two strong displays.

These sides met in last year’s competition, with Liverpool running out 5-0 winners on aggregate (after a 5-0 win in Portugal) in which Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino got on the scoresheet.

We make Liverpool strong favourites to qualify again past the Portuguese side as Porto face an uphill battle over the two legs.

Verdict: Liverpool to qualify for the SF @ 1/5.

Tottenham vs Manchester City, Tuesday, 8pm

An all-English tie in the quarter final and a tasty one at that. Spurs and City both knocked out German opposition in comprehensive style in the last round with the Londoners made light work of Dortmund with a 4-0 aggregate win mainly thanks to a fantastic first leg display at Wembley.

They have had a tough run of things in the competition so far this season, facing Barcelona, Inter Milan, PSV, Dortmund and now Manchester City. So if they were to go far, they have beaten plenty of good opponents on the way.

City demolished Schalke 7-0 at the Etihad to register the biggest aggregate win by an English team in the Champions League (10-2).

Pep Guardiola’s side generated plenty of chances in both legs and the Infogol model* still has Manchester City as favourites to win the Champions League outright.

They are strong favourites to advance here, with a 75 per cent probability that they get past Spurs over both legs in this tie.

Verdict: Man City to qualify for the SF @ 1/5.

Ajax v Juventus, Wednesday, 8pm

Ajax ended Real Madrid’s stranglehold on the competition in emphatic style in the last 16, with a 4-1 win at the Bernabéu ensuring their qualification 5-3 on aggregate.

It was nothing less than they deserved, having generated the better of the chances over the two matches but they face another stiff test here. They’ll fancy there chances though if they play to a similar level in these two games, even if Juventus are a different proposition to a mis-firing Real Madrid.

Juventus overturned a 2-0 first leg defeat against a stubborn Atletico Madrid side, with a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick sealing a deserved qualification.

In that second leg, Juve showed everyone the sort of steel that is needed to lift this trophy, and with an extra sprinkle of quality in Ronaldo added to their ranks, they have a great chance of winning the Champions League this season.

Juventus are given a 79 per cent chance of qualifying (equates to around 1/4 probability of doing so) so at 2/7 with Paddy Power there is a little bit of value in the price still.

Verdict: Juventus to qualify @ 2/7 for the SF

Man United v Barcelona, Wednesday, 8pm

After their heroics in Paris in the last round, Ole Gunnar Solskjær will have to go back to the place where his most heroic moment in a United shirt occurred if he is to provide another moment of magic as the newly installed, permanent manager of Man United.

His infamous late winner in the 1999 Champions League final took place at the Nou Camp, and United face a tough test in the quarter finals having been drawn against Barcelona.

United were the only team in the last 16 to qualify having been second-best on expected goals over the two legs, riding their luck throughout and being extremely clinical in attack.

Their first-leg performance at Old Trafford was extremely poor, and they can’t afford a repeat here against Messi and Co. However, they should have some key players back fit for these two games.

Barca were dominant in victory over Lyon, with a 5-1 aggregate score line a fair reflection of the difference in quality between the two sides.

Lionel Messi will take some stopping in this tie, and could take advantage of a vulnerable-looking Manchester United defence. It would be a surprise to see them wilt under pressure the same way PSG did.

Unsurprisingly, the Infogol model has Barcelona as strong favourites to qualify over two legs (72 per cent probability) although this is expected to be the closest tie of the four quarter finals.

Verdict: Barcelona to qualify @ 2/7 for the SF.

Shoot over to now for all the latest football odds

The Infogol model* is a revolutionary new football product, which harnesses Opta data to power a proprietary Expected Goals (xG) model, we take a look to see who can be expected to finish the season strongly, and who might fizzle out.


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